Krista M. Aronson

Associate Professor of Psychology



Pettengill Hall, Room 378


Multicultural Children’s literature: My work focuses on illuminating how people come to understand complex social constructs like race and ethnicity, including how children process and understand race as well as appropriate, effective and productive ways to discuss this topic with them; specifically, the effective use of picture books to enhance intercultural relationships and self-understanding during childhood.

This work draws heavily on the Diverse Book Collection. Founded by myself in collaboration with Anne Sibley O’Brien, children’s book creator, and Brenna Callahan (’15), this circulating collection is comprised of fiction and narrative non-fiction picture books (grades K-3) depicting characters of color published in the United States between 2002-and the present. This is the only circulating collection of its kind.

Using the collection my collaborators and students and I contribute to the national dialogue about diverse children’s books, capturing and communicating their dominant messages and exploring their impact on inclusion and bias, including how teachers and parents can utilize them in everyday life. The Diverse BookFinder is a free, online searchable database of the collection. Supported by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, this resource is designed to facilitate the identification of multicultural titles, so that all our children can find themselves reflected and celebrated in libraries, schools and homes across the nation.

Summary of Interests

  • Multicultural Children’s literature:
    • Representations of People of Color and Indigenous Populations
    • How Picture Books can be used to Facilitate Attitude Development/Change and Identity Development


  • Ph.D. University of Michigan, 2003
  • M.A. University of Michigan, 2000
  • B.A. Ithaca College, 1996

Courses Taught

  • PSYC 372 Racial and Ethnic Identity Development
  • PSYC 261 Research Methods
  • ED/PY 262 Community-based Research Methods
  • The Power of Picture Books (Upcoming W’18)

Back to School Webinar

Keep an eye out for an upcoming back to school webinar that will explore how children’s books can be used to foster inclusion and discussions around diversity in the classroom. Webinar sponsored by First Books in partnership with Lee & Low publishers.

Selected Publications (including those under Scottham)

* indicates Bates student

Aronson, K.M., *Callahan, B.D., & O’Brien, A.S. (2018). Messages Matter: Investigating the thematic content of picture books portraying underrepresented racial and cultural groups. Sociological Forum, 33(1), upcoming accepted publication.

Aronson, K. M., Stefanile, C., Matera, C., Nerini, A., Grisolaghi, J., Romani, G., & …Brown, R. (2015). Telling tales in school: Extended contact interventions in the classroom. Journal Of Applied Social Psychology, doi:10.1111/jasp.12358

Aronson, K. M., & Brown, R. (2013). Acculturation and social attitudes among majority children. International Journal Of Intercultural Relations, 37(3), 313-322. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2013.02.004

*Kahn, N. F., & Aronson, K. M. (2012). Jewish American identity: Patterns of centrality and regard. Identity: An International Journal Of Theory And Research, 12(2), 185-190. doi:10.1080/15283488.2012.668729

Scottham, K., & *Dias, R. (2010). Acculturative strategies and the psychological adaptation of Brazilian migrants to Japan. Identity: An International Journal Of Theory And Research,10(4), 284-303. doi:10.1080/15283488.2010.523587

Scottham, K., Cooke, D., Sellers, R., & Ford, K. (2010). Integrating process with content in understanding African American racial identity development. Self and Identity9(1), 19-40. doi:10.1080/15298860802505384

Scottham, K., & Smalls, C. (2009). Unpacking racial socialization: Considering female African American primary caregivers’ racial identity. Journal of Marriage & the Family71(4), 807-818. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00636.x

Scottham, K., Sellers, R., & Nguyên, H. (2008). A measure of racial identity in African American adolescents: The development of the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity–Teen. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology14(4), 297-306. doi:10.1037/1099-9809.14.4.297

Seaton, E., Scottham, K., & Sellers, R. (2006). The Status Model of Racial Identity Development in African American Adolescents: Evidence of Structure, Trajectories, and Well-Being. Child Development77(5), 1416-1426. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2006.00944.x