ENG 221 : Introduction to Children's Literature

Transcript title

Intro to Children's Literature



Grade mode

Standard letter grades

Contact hours total


Lecture hours


Recommended preparation

WR 121.


Surveys children’s literature for all ages in genres that may include picture books, myths and folklore, poetry, nonfiction, historical fiction, and fantasy, making connections to the historical, cultural, institutional, and psychological contexts related to production and reception. Examines how texts represent childhood and reflect assumptions about the social and educational function of children’s and young adult literature.

Learning outcomes

1. Define and explicate major literary genres of children’s literature including picture books, myths and folklore, poetry, nonfiction, historical fiction, realistic fiction, and fantasy.
2. Explore historical and contemporary assumptions about the social and educational function of children’s literature as well as standards of evaluation of texts over time.
3. Analyze and interpret children’s texts through the use of close reading, contextual background information (e.g., authorial intent, literary historical periods and influences, cultural and biographical background information, critical reception, etc.), literary concepts and approaches, and a variety of critical perspectives.
4. Identify and analyze complex practices, values, and beliefs and the historically, culturally, institutionally, and psychologically defined meanings of childhood and “the child” reflected within texts.
5. Synthesize multiple viewpoints and perspectives—including one’s own—in order to critically analyze values, ethics, and other relevant topics within a range of human experience and expression.

Content outline

I. Reading picture books (visual and literary elements, history of illustration)
II. Introduction to and reading of genres within children's literature (myths/folklore, poetry, nonfiction, historical fiction, realistic fiction and/or fantasy)
III. Historical, social, institutional, and psychological contextualization of texts
IV. Critical approaches (e.g. psychological [Freudian, Jungian, etc.], economic [Marxist], gender [feminist and queer studies], and reception
V. Production and evaluation of children's texts, including major publishers, printing techniques, critical and practical evaluation, institutional uses
VI. Definitions of "the child" and "childhood" historically and culturally

Required materials

Required materials may include a textbook and/or copies of children's books, writing instrument, method for saving digital work, and/or a notebook.

Grading methods

Grades may be determined by short writing assignments, classroom participation (e.g. in-class discussions, peer review, in-class activities), journals (e.g. reflections), and research projects (e.g. presentations, author reports, annotated bibliographies).

General education/Related instruction lists

  • Arts and Letters
  • Cultural Literacy

Outside of

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