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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.

Enrol Now - Select a section to enrol in
Section Title
Children's Literature
January 09, 2023 to April 10, 2023
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Domestic Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $683.39 Click here to get more information
Domestic Tuition Fee - Non-Ontario (0.5 units) $713.81 Click here to get more information
International Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $3,106.72 Click here to get more information
Available for Credit
0.5 units
Reading List / Textbook

Additional required readings are available through electronic reserve and as free online resources.

Section Notes
Note:  If you are in a degree program at the University of Guelph, please DO NOT register using the link above.  You must register through WebAdvisor.
Section Materials
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Classic Fairy Tales by Iona Opie and Peter Opie, eds. © 1980 Oxford University Press ISBN 9780195202199
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems © 2012 Balzer & Bray [distributed by Harper Collins] ISBN Paperback edition 9780545946025
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Abel’s Island by William Steig © 2007 Square Fish ISBN 978-0312371432
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Shrek! by William Steig © 2008 Square Fish ISBN 978-0312384494
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love © 2018 Candlewick Press ISBN 978-0763690458
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Estrada Kelly © 2017 Greenwillow ISBN 978-0062238658
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña & Christian Robinson © 2015 Putnam ISBN 978-0399257742
  • e-book (Confirmed) (Mandatory) When We Were Alone by David A. Robertson and Julie Flett © 2017 Highwater Press ISBN Print: 9781553796732 eBook/ePub: 9781553797012
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