Krista Maywalt Aronson



Aronson, Krista M.

Professor of Psychology

Psychology 207-786-6088Pettengill Hall, Room 378

Lane Hall, Room 121

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
    • Current Project: The Diverse BookFinder


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

Research Interests

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.

Diverse BookFinder in the News

Bates Magazine: Bates Debuts One-of-a-Kind Search Engine for Diverse Children’s Books

Huffington Post: Looking For Multicultural Children’s Books? Here Are 8 Helpful Resources.

Huffington Post: This Database Is Filled With 1,300 Diverse Books For Kids

Romper: This Database Helps Parents Find Diverse Children’s Books, Because Representation Is So Important

Quartz: A new database catalogues 1,300 children’s books about people of color

Newsone: True Diversity In Children’s Books Requires Non-Stereotypical Characters

Sun Journal: Krista Aronson, finder of diverse picture books

First Book Back To School Webinar: How to Use Children’s Books to Teach Diversity & Inclusion – available on or on YouTube.

Courses Taught

  • PSYC 211 Personality Psychology
  • PSYC 320 Adolescence
  • FYS 319 Emerging Adulthood (the psychology of 18-25-year-olds)
  • 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)

Selected Publications

* 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. (2016). Telling tales in school: Extended contact interventions in the classroom. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 46(4), 229-241. doi:10.1111/jasp.12358

Aronson, K. M., Sibley O’Brien, A. (2014). How cross-racial scenes in picture books build acceptance. School Library Journal.

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