Chloe Hull

Date of Award


First Advisor

Brian Conolly

Second Advisor

Anne O'Dwyer

Third Advisor

Jamie Hutchinson


Though children’s books have long been praised for their whimsy, it was only relatively recently that they began to receive broader scholarly attention for their social, technical, and creative nuance. My thesis explores two sides of children’s literature, darkness and joy, which are often seen as polarities but tend to converge with one another in children’s literature to create a story that has deep social and emotional complexity but still remains approachable and enjoyable. Specific topics considered in the thesis include references to mental illness and mentally ill characters in children’s stories, children’s books that address social and emotional issues, and characteristics of the creative process for authors and illustrators. Stories directed towards young and middle childhood readers are the primary focus of the thesis.

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