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Spring 2013 Course Descriptions

English 3405  Children's Literature (2 Sections)

Section 001      CRN 31613 
Jamila Smith
Children’s Literature    1200-1250 MWF

This course will introduce you to the exciting world of literature for children (focus will center on infants through sixth grade students) as well as provide you with a variety of critical tools for reading, discussing, and writing about the literature. Through readings, film, lecture, and discussions (both in small and large groups) we will develop our multicultural and social justice awareness, our ability to write and perform thoughtful, insightful prose, and our ability to read texts for both their literary merit and aesthetic value. (Group 5)

Section 002       CRN 31614
Children’s Literature    1530-1645 TR

The editors of Classics of Children's Literature, John Griffith and Charles Frey, note that "The great children's stories and poems. . . . Perhaps more than any other writers . . . constitute our real mythology." In this course we will be looking closely at this "mythology," a mythology that embodies many of our culture's ambiguous attitudes about children and childhood. The course will consider the love and hatred of childhood, the manipulation, the idealization, the mystification of childhood, as reflected in a literature which is, finally, created mainly by adults. Students will examine this literature in terms of its history and the history of childhood itself. We will explore the rich complexity and archetypal significance that makes children's literature an important cultural inheritance and links it to the literature that we customarily reserve for adults.

Finally, this survey course stresses the development of more astute evaluation of the literature. Students will be encouraged to think more cogently and purposefully about what goes into a serious judgment of literature for children and to think carefully about the validity of various critical methods of analysis and evaluation.

Two major papers, an oral presentation, brief written responses, midterm and final exam. (Group 5)