Scientifically proven: Underrepresented children particularly benefit from personalized children’s books

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Last December we wrote for the first time about the proven, positive benefits of our books, showing evidence from a scientific study. The world’s largest study of personalized children’s books to date showed that reading a personalized book leads to increased memory accuracy and behavioral involvement in children

Now we can present to you the second part of the scientific study, which was also carried out with our book “Welcome to School”. Based on a study conducted by Librio’s own team member – Patricia Brüniger, Celeste Fellmann – a student at the University of Bern – conducted a new investigation about the positive effects of personalized children’s books.


Children’s books are something wonderful: they encourage children to immerse themselves in a new world, to make connections between their own world and the one they read about, and with personalized books to find themselves in the story itself. However, the latter is not always possible for all children, since in most children’s books the protagonist is a fair-skinned boy from a western country. Some children are therefore sadly underrepresented in children’s books. Here, personalized children’s books, in which the name and appearance of the main character can be adapted accordingly, can offer an exciting opportunity. They allow each child to become the main character of their own story and thus giving them the opportunity to experience the magic of reading as much as other children.

What was investigated?

The fact that personalized children’s books have a positive effect on memory and behavioural involvement for all children has already been proven in the last study we wrote about. 


With regard to the underrepresentation of dark-skinned children in children’s books, Celeste Fellmann has now investigated whether children with dark skin color in children’s books benefit particularly strongly from personalized children’s books.

How was the study conducted?

This study was also carried out in collaboration with the University of Bern. A total of 80 children between the ages of five and seven participated in the study. Their parents configured the protagonist by selecting their name, gender and skin color. After that, all the children were read the book “Welcome to School”, with one half read a version personalized for them and the other half a non-personalized version. 


As with the previous study, the children were filmed while reading to check their reactions. At the end of the reading, the children were asked questions about the book. In order to find out whether dark-skinned children benefit even more from personalized children’s books, the results of the light-skinned and dark-skinned children were compared in the respective conditions (personalized and non-personalized).

Dark-skinned children benefit especially strongly from personalization

As in the last study, it was very noticeable again that all children are more attentive when a personalized children’s book is read to them. It is now exciting that children of color are even more attentive than children with light skin. Therefore, they benefit even more strongly from personalization. It’s also to be noted that dark-skinned children interacted much more verbally with the story. They often commented on the book content or asked questions about it. Thus, they show a higher verbal involvement than the fair-skinned children and also more so than the children in the non-personalized versions.

Average number of spontaneous comments (in terms of the story) during reading aloud.


The new study clearly shows how reading personalized children’s books can have several positive effects on children. The fact that dark-skinned children in particular benefit greatly from this underlines the importance of personalized children’s books as regards increasing efforts to include more diversity in children’s books.


In June of 2023, Celeste Fellmann was able to present her findings to selected experts at a developmental psychology conference in Madrid. A publication in a scientific journal will follow. This is an important contribution to research on diversity in children’s books. We’re curious to see what other exciting studies with personalized children’s books will be published in the coming years.


Source: Fellmann, C. (2023) Personalization Effects on Involvement During Shared Book Reading: Do Children Of Colour Benefit Most?(supervised by Dr Regula Neuenschwander). University of Bern.