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Course Description

This course serves as an introduction to the critical study of children's literature and culture. Focusing on selected genres of, issues in, or theoretical approaches to literature for children, this variable-content course explores shifting (and often conflicting) conceptions of childhood, in general, and of children as readers and cultural consumers. Reading-intensive course.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  • outline major issues in literature and related media for children
  • identify the historical, generic, and cultural contexts of specific texts for children
  • identify the repertoire of skills and cultural knowledge implied by specific texts for children;
  • develop arguments about how texts make meaning, in terms of both visual and verbal details
  • explain in your own words selected key concepts relevant to the study of children's literature
  • apply key concepts to specific examples, explaining how they operate
  • recognize the dynamic relationship between reading, analysis, and creativity -- and practice all three

Course Topics

  • The cultural uses of children's literature
  • Children as readers and story-makers
  • Words and pictures: analyzing verbal and visual details
  • Parody and intertextuality in picture books
  • Classic fairy tales -- de-familiarizing the "classics"; politics and ideology; satire and social critique
  • Repertoire in action -- fairy tales in fantasy; fairy tales in realist fiction; unexpected intertexts
  • Children’s literature, past and present

Additional Requirements

Pre-requisite(s): 2.0 credits


Assessment Item Weight
Quizzes 20%
Book project (video and written reflection) 20%
Close Reading Exercise  20%
Analytical Essay  20%
Take-Home Final Exam 20%
Total 100%


Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.


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