L390 5207 CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
1:10p-2:25p D (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.
What better way to spend 6 weeks in the summer than reading and enjoying about a dozen specially selected books written for and about children? This is not a course on teaching children’s literature or teaching children how to read. Instead, we will read some of the most wonderful books ever written for children and look at the ways in which “childhood” is both imagined and constructed. Is childhood “innocent”? Is childhood “magical”? How have notions of childhood changed over the centuries? We will explore distinctions between “adult” and “child” worlds as represented in the works. We will also look at the way in which non- human animals or mythical creatures are represented, and their relationships to the human children protagonists.
We will focus on close textual readings of the books assigned. This requires that students come to class well-prepared, having read carefully and interactively. Please note that children’s books are not necessarily “easier” than books written for adults, and class members are advised to take careful reading notes.
The class will be primarily discussion-based, so in addition to careful preparation, participation will be essential to the success of our conversations. Assignments will include some or all of the following: short quizzes, response papers, a longer paper, and one or two essay exams.