Fair-y Tales: An analysis of children’s books about sun safety

Lindsay McCormack, Fiatsogbe S. Dzuali, Anna Tappel, Jennifer T. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Skin cancer prevention should ideally begin with healthy sun protection habits during childhood. Children's books can be effective tools to introduce healthy habits early in life and should be targeted toward all children regardless of skin tone. This study examined sun protection guidelines and the representation of skin tones in commercial children's books. Methods: We performed internet searches for children's books about sun protection. We compared content from these books to current sun protection guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). We assessed books for reading level, author profession, and skin tone representation. Results: Seventeen books met study criteria. Of 19 factors surrounding sun protection provided by the AAD, the median number of factors mentioned within children's books was nine (range 3-13). Of the 13 books with color illustrations of people, one (7.6%) book depicted people with dark skin tones on the cover, and three (23.1%) books depicted people with dark skin tones within the story. Conclusion: Commercial children's books about sun protection incorporate some, but not all, of the AAD guidelines, and there is an inadequate representation of darker skin tones within and on the cover of these books.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-71
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • children's books
  • melanoma
  • skin cancer
  • sun protection
  • sun safety


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