This course is a survey of the history, sociological import, and various forms of children’s literature within the larger canon of English literature. We will look at the underlying tensions between meaning and method, the historical background, and the rhetorical techniques unique to the genre. Along the way we will touch on larger topics such as critical approaches to children’s stories, the history of childhood as a concept, and perspectives on child rearing and education.
What is Children's Literature?
The History of Children's Literature
An introductory lecture tracing the roots of children's literature from the oral tradition through the "Golden Age."
The Songs of Infancy: Nursery Rhymes
The Stories of Childhood: Picture Books
The Velveteen Rabbit
"Winnie the Pooh and Piglet Nearly Catch a Woozle"
Video: Disney "Tortoise and Hare" (1934)
Video: "Peter Rabbit" Trailer
Video: "The Secret Life of Pets" Snowball Highlights
Origins: Folk and Fairy Tales
The "Golden Age" of Children's Literature
"Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carrol
Popular Genres of Adolescent Fiction
Coming of Age Stories: "A White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett
Adventure Stories: Coming Soon
Fantasy and Science Fiction: Coming Soon
Historical Fiction: Coming Soon
Current Trends in Children's Literature
Archetype and Stereotype: "Zootopia"
New Directions in Children's Literature
Final Exam Instructions
The texts for the class will be distributed by the instructor. There is no need to purchase these expensive books. I merely display them here for your information.
Zipes, Jack, et al. The Norton Anthology of Children's Literature: The Traditions in English. New York: Norton, 2005.
Horning, Kathleen T. From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children's Books. New York: Harper-Collins, 1997.
Lukens, Rebecca J. et al. A Critical Handbook of Children's Literature. Ninth Edition. London: Little, Brown, 2012.