Department of English Department of English College of Arts and Sciences
Course Descriptions
Tammy Jones

Scholars of children’s literature have not been able to agree on what, exactly, children’s literature is.  Lynch-Brown and Tomlinson have put forth one of the most useful and comprehensive definitions, and they argue that “children’s literature is good-quality trade books for children from birth to adolescence, covering topics of relevance and interest to children of those ages, through prose and poetry, fiction and non-fiction” (2005, p. 3).  Their criteria, however, exclude many texts.  Indeed, many iconic characters of children’s literature such as Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, Spiderman, and the poky little puppy fail to qualify in one respect or another.  This introductory survey of children’s literature, therefore, will focus on genres that have typically been marginalized in the canon of children’s texts.  Specifically, students will read examples of series mysteries, graphic novels, westerns/frontier stories, dog stories, and science fiction.

Course Requirements: In addition to the texts assigned from various genres of children’s literature, students will also read relevant scholarship pertaining to some of the texts/genres under study.    Students will prepare daily, critical writing assignments, an annotated bibliography, and one critical essay.  There will be a comprehensive final exam at the end of the term.

Tentative Reading List:

Alexie, Sherman.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.  New York:  Little Brown, 2008.  ISBN:  0316013684

Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2008. ISBN: 0439023483.

Keats, Ezra Jack.  Whistle for Wille.  New York:  Puffin, 1977.  ISBN:  0140502025

Keene, Carolyn.  The Sign of the Twisted Candle.  New York:  Gossett & Dunlap, 1996.  ISBN:  0448095114

Krauss, Ruth.  I Can Fly.  New York:  Golden Books, 1951.  ISBN:  0307001466

Mordecai, Martin.  Blue Mountain Trouble.  New York:  Arthur A. Levine, 2009.  ISBN:  0545041562

Sala, Richard.  Cat Burglar Black.  New York:  First Second, 2009.  ISBN:  9781596431447

Yang, Gene Luen.  American Born Chinese.  New York:  First Second, 2006.  ISBN:  1596431520

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Last Updated: 3/6/12