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Abstract

This article presents a content analysis of nine transitional chapter books featuring African American females. Transitional chapter books are geared toward transitional readers—children in grades 2 through 4 who have outgrown predictable books and other types of easy readers but are not ready for more complex novels. The purpose of this study is to determine what the African American female protagonists depicted in these transitional chapter books value and care about. The study is informed by scholarship and research related to transitional chapter books and representations of African American girlhood. Upon conducting close readings repeatedly of the nine transitional chapter books over a period of several months, it was determined that the following four areas were of importance to the protagonists: solidifying friendships, developing morality, fitting in, and valuing learning. The article concludes with a discussion of the benefits of transitional chapter books written by and about African Americans.