This course provides an introduction to the scholarly study of literature written for children.
The precursors of and influences on what we now consider children’s literature are numerous and date back centuries, ranging from scholastic dialogues, to hymnals and primers, to transcriptions from oral traditions of folklore, myth, legend and romance. From John Newbery’s 18th century publishing revolution through to the Harry Potter phenomenon and beyond, children’s literature has been the focus of both fascination and controversy, and in recent decades it has increasingly earned academic attention. In this course, we will study a broad selection of texts produced over the last 150 years. We will approach them as cultural and literary productions, exploring their (sometimes) evolving generic features and audience assumptions, in terms of age, gender, content, and perceived boundaries. Students will be introduced to relevant theoretical material and encouraged to develop independent critical responses to the texts. Participation in online discussions as well as group activities is an integral component of this course.
Student or audience description:
- English 468 is relevant to students enrolled in the English major and honours programmes, as well as prospective students of librarianship and education
- English 468 is also relevant as an elective for senior students in other programmes and faculties
- Students must have completed 6 units of second year English courses or the equivalent, and have achieved third-year standing to enroll in this course
- Students are not required to have any previous experience with the study of children’s literature
- Although the course material is relevant to potential (or current) teachers, librarians and parents, the focus will be on the literary study of texts
- Folk & Fairy Tales (Broadview 4th ed.)
- Little Women OR Anne of Green Gables
- Treasure Island OR The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
- ONE OR TWO of the following: Alice in Wonderland; The Hobbit; Peter Pan; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; A Wrinkle in Time; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; The Dark is Rising
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban OR The Golden Compass
- To Kill a Mockingbird OR The Outsiders OR The Maestro
- Two Weeks with the Queen OR Boy Meets Boy OR Annie on my Mind
- Underground to Canada OR Number the Stars