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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 Learning Outcomes
Miniature book project (physical book, video, write-up) 15% 3, 5, 7
2 short essays (one on a picture book, one on a novel) 30% 4, 5, 6
Fairy tale versions: compare and contrast exercise 10% 2, 4
Quizzes: a series of 6 (one every two weeks) 30% 1, 2, 4, 6
Final reflection 15% 1, 3, 5, 6, 7
Total 100%  



Additional Technical Requirements

Video Assignments is a tool that facilitates the creation and use of student-created videos in course activities and assessments. You are responsible for ensuring that your computer system meets the necessary system requirements. You will need to have a microphone and a webcam to record audio and video.

Virtual Classroom is a video conferencing tool used to facilitate synchronous virtual meetings. You are responsible for ensuring that your computer system meets the necessary system requirements. You will need to have a microphone, headset or speakers, and a webcam to participate fully in Virtual Classroom sessions.

Technical Requirements

You are responsible for ensuring that your computer system meets the necessary system requirements. Use the browser check tool to ensure your browser settings are compatible and up to date (results will be displayed in a new browser window).

*Course details are subject to change.


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Section Title
Children's Literature
January 11, 2021 to April 12, 2021
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Domestic Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $683.39 Click here to get more information
International Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $2,748.00 Click here to get more information
Available for Credit
0.5 units
Reading List / Textbook

L.Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, selections from Keywords for Children’s Literature, and 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 9780062104182. Paperback edition 9780545946025
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Abel’s Island by William Steig © 2007 Square Fish ISBN 978-0312371432. / 0312371438
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Shrek! by William Steig © 2008 Square Fish ISBN 978-0312384494. / 0312384491
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) This is Sadie by Sara O'Leary & Julie Morstad © 2018 Tundra ISBN 978-0735263246. / 0735263248
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love © 2018 Candlewick Press ISBN 978-0763690458. / 0763690457
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Estrada Kelly © 2017 Greenwillow ISBN 978-0062238658 / 0062238655
  • Textbook (Confirmed) (Mandatory) Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson © 2015 Putnam ISBN 978-0399257742. May substitute with paperback
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