Overview | Calendar | Assignments | Texts | Research
Instructor: Betsy Hearne
Meeting Time: Tuesday, 4:30pm - 6:30pm
On-campus Session: Wednesday, September 27, 9am - 5pm
Office Hours: TBA
Please note that during the week I check my email twice a day and will generally respond within 24 hours. On weekends, I check my email once a day and will respond as soon as possible.
Evaluation, selection and use of books and other resources for children (ages 0-14) in public libraries and school media centers; explores standard selection criteria for print and nonprint materials in all formats and develops the ability to evaluate and promote materials according to their various uses (personal and curricular) and according to children's various needs (intellectual, emotional, social and physical). [4 or 2 credits].
1. To gain a critical understanding of the range and quality of literature for children: picture books, fiction, and nonfiction—both current and historical.
2. To understand the developmental needs, socio-cultural variations, and individual differences in the ways children relate to books from birth to age 13, including language acquisition, physical/emotional aspects of books, rituals of reading, privacy and peer culture.
3. To become proficient in selecting, evaluating, researching, and reviewing childrens books in public and school library media settings.
4. To explore, discuss, and deal with issues and controversies related to race, gender, moral values, and other potentially problematic areas of childrens literature.
5. To learn how to introduce/present books and other media to children, and to gain experience in the practical uses of childrens books for literacy and curriculum use.
6. To extend, adapt, and apply evaluative criteria for literature and art to electronic formats used by children.
7. To collaborate with other professionals on the discussion, evaluation, and use of library materials for children, including presentations to teachers and community leaders on the importance and relevance of childrens literature.
Weekly readings, class attendance, postings, and general participation; genre group presentation; three book critiques, one each for picture books, fiction, and nonfiction; and the final project (team research report, enactment, or paper). Everyone will be assigned to a genre book team responsible for presenting background information on one of the genres covered in class. Book critiques should be two double-space pages per book, with an emphasis on analysis, not plot description. For critiques and class discussions, keep in mind the following questions: What narrative and artistic elements characterize, emphasize, and drive the book? What different perceptions might children and adults have of the book? What does this book say about our society? This is not a survey course; many important books have been omitted, and many of the required books have been chosen for aspects that provoke thought and discussion. Attendance and class participation are crucial; any cuts for any reason should be discussed with the instructor. Please note the heavy reading assignments (double-starred assignments), and plan to read ahead accordingly.
Grades are based on participation and completion of assignments. This is a highly participatory class. You will be required to attend and "talk" in the live sessions and contribute weekly to our bulletin board discussions.
Your grade on your participation in the bulletin board discussions depends on your critical engagement with the class material as shown through your comments on what you have read and your comments on what other students are saying. This includes ideas raised for consideration outside the boundaries of the syllabus, for example, outside reading suggestions and other reading advisory activities, your experiences with children, best practices for librarianship, questions about work situations, etc. Written assignments should be posted to the corresponding bulletin board. Grades are based on: class participation and bulletin board posts (40%); genre book team presentation (10%); picture book critique (10%); fiction book critique (10%); nonfiction critique (10%); and the final project and presentation (30%).
Students taking the course for 2 credits (rather than the full 4) will be required to do all the weekly readings, postings, attend class, and participate in class (60%); genre group project (10%); and two of the three book critiques (30%). No final project is required for those taking the course for 2 credits.
Attendance and class participation are mandatory.
If absence is unavoidable, please email me, if you can, before the absence.
Class participation includes 'talking' during live sessions—sharing your thoughts and experiences about children's literature and children's services—and monitoring and posting to the bulletin boards each week. The whole class will take a short break about half way through each live session, time permitting. Sometimes I forget, so if you need a break, do remind me. Remember to have the books we are discussing with you during the live session. Try marking pages of interest and referring to your observations in detail during our discussions—I have found miniature post-it notes work particularly well. If you have any questions about class, look at the Housekeeping bulletin board, post to the Questions About Class bulletin board, or send me an email.
Postings to the general webboards are readable by the entire class and instructor, postings to the team webboards are readable by the book team and faculty, and all the postings will be read by the instructor.
Welcome! I look forward to learning with you all.
Week 1: August 29
Introduction to course: orientation and recollections of early
The mythical child: developmental values, emotional needs, & how books address them
*Heavy reading warning*
**Assign. for next class (9/5): Read Hearne's Choosing Books for Children (3rd ed, UI Press, 1999) and Bang's Picture This. Make a web board post describing the earliest reading experience you remember, and one (or a few) of your favorite childhood books. If you don't want to post your own experience, interview someone and post his or her experience.
Week 2: September 5
Like Jake and Me: The elements of narrative
The Easter Bunny That Overslept: The elements of art
*Assign. for next class (9/12): Browse Sutherland's Children and Books ch.1-5; read the Nodelman piece (online reserves); examine and prepare to discuss the picture books (see bibliography)
Week 3: September 12
The art of the picture book: group discussions
History, printing, publishing, and popularization
*Assign. for next class (9/19): Read the poetry collections by Florian, Greenfield & Silverstein; Sutherland, ch. 9
Week 4: September 19
Poetry for all ages
*Heavy reading warning*
**Assign. for next class (9/27 On-campus): Read Hamilton; Sutherland, ch. 6-7.
Week 5: September 26-27 (Picture Book critique due)
No class on Tuesday, September 26 — prepare for on-campus meeting on Wednesday
Wednesday, September 27 — On-campus session, 9am - 5pm
Folklore, myth, and oral literature
*Assign. for next class (10/3): Read the fantasies (Dahl, Babbitt, Rowling) and be prepared to compare them in discussion groups; Sutherland, ch. 8
Week 6: October 3
*Assign. for next class (10/10): Read the realistic novels (Cleary, Curtis, Fitzhugh, Yumoto); Sutherland, ch. 10
Week 7: October 10
*Assign. for next class (10/17): Read the adventure novels (Cole, Creech, Paulsen, Sachar)
Week 8: October 17
*Assign. for next class (10/24): Read the historical fiction (Forbes, Collier, Avi); Sutherland, ch.11
Week 9: October 24
*Assign. for next class (10/31): Read any two Goosebumps, Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, Nancy Drew, or other series formula fiction mystery or romance titles; plus, the pro/con SLJ articles by Genco/MacDonald on junk reading
Week 10: October 31 (Fiction Critique due)
Formula Fiction, popular series, and junk reading
Trends, fads, series, escapes, censorship, controversies, & isms
*Assign. for next class (11/7): Read the factual books by Freedman, Murphy, and Harris; Sutherland ch.12-13; and the Raymo article; post a one-paragraph evaluation of an online database & a CD-ROM
Week 11: November 7 (Final Project Proposals due)
Nonfiction: sciences, social sciences, humanities
Critical evaluation of reference books, nonprint media, and electronic resources
*Assign. for next class 11/14: Sutherland, Parts 3-4; read the Butler article & Wolfe/Heath section
Week 12: November 14 (Nonfiction Critique due)
Exercising literature: bringing children and books together (small group work)
Booktalking; multiculturalism; children with special needs
*Assign. for next class (11/28): Check Web sites for review journals; final project
Week 13: November 21
No class — Thanksgiving Break
Week 14: November 28
Keeping current: reviews, resources, professional networks, and awards
*Assign. for last class (12/5): Final project
Week 15: December 5 (Final Projects due)
Balancing Acts: real vs. ideal in collection development, public
placation, & daily dynamics
Weekly readings, class attendance, postings, and general and participation; genre group presentation; three book critiques, one each for picture books, fiction, and nonfiction; and the final project (team research report, enactment, or paper). Everyone will be assigned to a genre book team responsible for presenting background information on one of the genres covered in class. Book critiques should be two double-space pages per book, with an emphasis on analysis, not plot description. For critiques and class discussions, keep in mind the following questions: What narrative and artistic elements characterize, emphasize, and drive the book? What different perceptions might children and adults have of the book? What does this book say about our society? This is not a survey course; many important books have been omitted, and many of the required books have been chosen for aspects that provoke thought and discussion. Attendance and class participation are crucial; any cuts for any reason should be discussed with the instructor. Please note the heavy reading assignments (double-starred assignments), and plan to read ahead accordingly.
Grades are based on participation and completion of assignments. This is a highly participatory class. You will be required to attend and "talk" in the live sessions and contribute weekly to our bulletin board discussions. Your grade on your participation in the bulletin board discussions depends on your critical engagement with the class material as shown through your comments on what you have read and your comments on what other students are saying. This includes ideas raised for consideration outside the boundaries of the syllabus, for example, outside reading suggestions and other reading advisory activities, your experiences with children, best practices for librarianship, questions about work situations, etc. Written assignments should be posted as web pages to the corresponding bulletin board. Grades are based on, in order of importance: class participation, the three critiques, and the final project and presentation. Students taking the course for 2 credits (rather than the full 4) will be required to do all the weekly readings, attend class, and participate in class; genre group project; and two of the three book critiques. No final project is required for those taking the course for 2 credits.
1) Weekly Readings, Attendance, and Class Participation
Keeping up with reading, weekly live session class attendance and participation, and weekly electronic bulletin board participation is required. If a live class must be missed, email me before the session in question, and we will work something out.
2) Mock Caldecott Group Discussions (in-class) and Group Discussion Response
3.) Genre Group Project
**Due throughout semester
Students will be assigned to a group responsible for
providing the class with an overview for each of the
genres we will be reading in class: (1) fantasy, (2)
realism, (3) adventure, (4) historical fiction, (5)
formula fiction, and (6) nonfiction books. (The
instructor will lead the on-campus discussion of
folklore and poetry. Each genre team will do
background research on the genre and the books and
authors we are reading in the genre. Presentations
should describe and define the specific genre and its
characteristics and the ways in which the books we are
reading fit with or break from those criteria. Teams
will also present on the specific books and authors
including such information as reviews and awards. Each
team will also be expected to consider the ways in
which their books might be considered noteworthy.
Two days prior to class discussion your team will post the url to an html document outlining your presentation research along with questions for the class pertaining to the genre and the books. In addition to leading the class live discussion, each team is responsible for responding to bulletin board questions and comments on their specific genre and books.
*Fantasy due: October 3rd
*Realism due: October 10th
*Adventure due: October 17th
*Historical fiction due: October 24th
*Formula fiction due: October 31st
*Nonfiction due: November 7th
4) Picture Book Critique (2 pages)
**Due September 27
Go to your local library or bookstore and select
any picture book not assigned in this class. It
should be a book that you would enjoy spending some
time analyzing. Read the book, analyze the
narrative and visual structures and elements that make
this book work for a young audience, and write a brief
description of the most important elements you
found. Only minimal plot description should be
presented; instead, focus on what makes this book work
as a picture book.
Keep in mind the following questions: What narrative and artistic elements characterize, emphasize, and drive the book? What different perceptions might children and adults have of the book? What does this book say about our society? For more analytical starting points, see Considerations in Evaluating Children's Books and review Molly Bang's "Principles of How Pictures Work."
5) Fiction Book Critique (2 pages)
**Due October 31
Go to your local library or bookstore and
select any fiction book not assigned in this
class. It should be a book that you would enjoy
spending some time analyzing. Read the book,
analyze the narrative structures and elements that
make this book work for a young audience, and write a
brief description of the most important elements you
found. Only minimal plot description should be
presented; instead, focus on what makes this book
Keep in mind the following questions: What narrative elements characterize, emphasize, and drive the book? What different perceptions might children and adults have of the book? What does this book say about our society? For more analytical starting points, see Considerations in Evaluating Children's Books
6) Nonfiction or Electronic Database Critique (2 pages)
**Due November 14Go to your local library and select any nonfiction book or factual CD- Rom, database, or website. It should be on a topic that you are interested in and would enjoy spending some time analyzing. Examine the resource, analyze the narrative structures and elements that make this resource work for a young audience, and write a brief description of the most important elements you found. Only minimal content description should be presented; instead, focus on what makes this database work for children.
7) Final Project (10-15 pages)
Required only for students taking course for 1.0 unit
**Project proposal due November 7
**Class project reports: November 28 and December 5
**Final projects due December 5
There are 30 picture books in all, representing a variety of illustrators and a range of ages. We have chosen titles that you can find in most school and public libraries, and in the Center for Children's Books and Education Library at UIUC. You will not need to buy these, but do take the time to look at them carefully in the library or bookstore.
Fools and Tricksters
Dr. Seuss. The Cat in the Hat. Random House, 1957.
Hyman, Trina Schart. Little Red Riding Hood. Holiday House, 1986.
Marshall, James. The Three Little Pigs. Dial, 1989.
McKissack, Patricia. Flossie and the Fox. Dial, 1986.
Moser, Barry. The Three Little Pigs. Little, Brown, 2001.
Rathman, Peggy. Good Night, Gorilla. Putnam's, 1994.
Scieszka, Jon. The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs. Viking, 1989.
Steig, William. Doctor De Soto. Farrar, 1982.
Trivizas, Eugene. The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig. McElderry, 1993.
Young, Ed. Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China. Philomel, 1989.
Heroes and Helpers
Cooney, Barbara. Miss Rumphius. Viking, 1968.
Gerstein, Mordicai. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. Roaring Brook, 2003.
Hearne, Betsy. Seven Brave Women. Greenwillow, 1997.
Henkes, Kevin. Kitten's First Full Moon. Greenwillow, 2005.
Isadora, Rachel. Ben's Trumpet. Greenwillow, 1979.
McCully, Emily Arnold. Mirette on the High Wire. Putnam, 1992.
Maruki, Toshi. Hiroshima No Pika. Lothrop, 1982.
Say, Allen. Grandfather's Journey. Houghton, 1993.
Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are. Harper, 1963.
Williams, Vera. A Chair for My Mother. Greenwillow, 1982.
Concepts and Characters
Bang, Molly. Ten, Nine, Eight. Greenwillow, 1983.
Carle, Eric. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Philomel, 1969.
Keats, Ezra Jack. The Snowy Day. Viking, 1962.
Lester, Julius. Sam and the Tigers: A New Telling of Little Black Sambo. Dial, 1996.
Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad Are Friends. Harper, 1970.
Myers, Christopher. Black Cat. Scholastic, 1999
Simont, Marc. The Stray Dog. HarperCollins, 2001.
Van Allsburg, Chris. Jumanji. Houghton, 1981.
Wiesner, David. Tuesday. Clarion, 1991.
Wood, Audrey. The Napping House. Harcourt, 1984.
Books to buy or borrow
For the books below, you will need more time, and you may need to mark important passages for discussion of literary patterns, etc., so it is recommended that you have access to them for the entire length of the course.
Florian, Douglas. Bow Wow Meow Meow. Harcourt, 2003.
Greenfield, Eloise. Honey I Love and Other Poems. Harper, 1978.
Silverstein, Shel. Where the Sidewalk Ends. Harper, 1974.
Hamilton, Virginia. Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, & True Tales. Scholastic, 1995.
Babbitt, Natalie. Tuck Everlasting. Farrar, 1975.
Dahl, Roald. The BFG. Farrar, 1982.
Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Scholastic, 1998.
Cleary, Beverly. Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Morrow, 1981.
Curtis, Christoopher. The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963. Delacorte, 1995.
Fitzhugh, Louise. Harriet the Spy. Harper, 1964.
Yumoto, Kazumi. The Friends. Farrar, 1996.
Cole, Brock. The Goats. Farrar, 1987.
Creech, Sharon. Walk Two Moons. Harper, 1994.
Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet. Bradbury, 1987.
Sachar, Louis. Holes. Farrar Straus Giroux, 1998.
Avi. The Fighting Ground. Harper, 1987.
Collier, James and Christopher. My Brother Sam Is Dead. Scholastic, 1974.
Forbes, Esther. Johnny Tremain. Houghton, 1943.
Freedman, Russell. Lincoln: A Photobiography.
Murphy, Jim. An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793. Clarion, 2003.
Harris, Robie. It's Perfectly Normal: A Book about Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health. Candlewick press, 1994
Harris, Robie. It's So Amazing: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, & Families. Candlewick 1999.
Required secondary texts
You will refer to these texts throughout the semester.
Bang, Molly. Picture This: How Pictures Work.
Hearne, Betsy. Choosing Books for Children: A Commonsense Guide. 3rd ed. University of Illinois Press, 1999.
Sutherland, Zena. Children and Books. 9th ed. Longmans, 1997.
Along with the Bang, Hearne, and Sutherland books, a few articles or chapters are assigned (see syllabus for dates of discussion) and are available via online reserves.
Butler, Dorothy. "Cushla and Her Books." Signal, Vol.
22, January, 1977, pp. 32-33.
Genco, Barbara and Eleanor MacDonald. "Juggling Popularity and Quality." School Library Journal 37:3 (March 1991), pp.115-119.
MacLeod, Anne Scott. "Writing Backward: Modern Models in Historical Fiction." The Horn Book Magazine January/February (1998). Available at http://www.hbook.com/exhibit/article_macleod.html
Nodelman, Perry. Words About Pictures: The Narrative Art of Children's Picture Books, pp.22-39.
Raymo, Chet. "Dr. Seuss and Dr. Einstein: Children's Books and Scientific Imagination." In Egoff, Sheila. Only Connect (3rd ed.), pp. 184- 193.
Sutherland, Zena. Chapter 2, "Understanding Children," pp. 20-40 in 7th ed. of Children & Books.
Wolf, Shelby Anne and Shirley Brice Heath. "Living in a World of Words." In The Braid of Literature: Children's Worlds of Reading, pp. 15-52 (Harvard U., 1992).
This is a list of resources about children's literature and librarianship that will grow throughout the semester.
Database of Award-winning Children's Literature
Children's Literature Journals and Associations
Journal of International Children's Literature
A refereed quarterly journal Published through IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People). "Articles in Bookbird are regularly clustered around themes and issues of international interest. News of IBBY projects and events are highlighted in the Focus IBBY column. Other regular columns include author and illustrator profiles, book reviews and reviews of secondary literature. Bookbird also pays special attention to reading promotion projects worldwide."
"For more than 90 years, Booklist magazine has been the librarian's leading choice for reviews of the latest books and (more recently) electronic media. Every year we review nearly 4,000 books for adults, more than 2,500 titles for children, more than 500 reference books and electronic reference tools, and 1,000 other audiovisual materials. We also publish a wide variety of feature articles including author interviews, bibliographies, book-related essays by well-known writers, and a selection of columns."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"The Bulletin, founded in 1945, is devoted entirely to the review of current books for children. It provides concise summaries and critical evaluations to help you find the books you need. Each review gives you information on book's content, reading level, strengths and weaknesses, and quality of format, as well as suggestions for curricular use." Student dicsount subscription rates available."
"Críticas is the first of its kind--a comprehensive review of the latest in Spanish-language publishing--written in English. Created by the editors of Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and School Library Journal, Críticas has everything you need to serve the Latino market as effectively as you serve the rest of your patrons. An authoritative one-stop source for English-language reviews of new adult and children's titles from the international Spanish-language publishing world, Críticas also covers Spanish-language publishing news as it pertains to U.S. readers, librarians, and booksellers."
The Horn Book, Inc.
Founded in 1924, The Horn Book is a standard.
The Lion and the Unicorn
"The Lion and the Unicorn is a theme- and genre-centered journal of international scope committed to a serious, ongoing discussion of literature for children. The journal's coverage includes the state of the publishing industry, regional authors, comparative studies of significant books and genres, new developments in theory, the art of illustration, the mass media, and popular culture. It has become noted for its interviews with authors, editors, and other important contributors to the field, such as Mildred Wirt Benson, Robert Cormier, Chris Crutcher, Lensey Namioka, Philip Pullman, and Aranka Siegal. Special issues have included "Violence and Children's Literature," "Folklore In/And Children's Literature," and "Children's Studies" (April 2001) which was featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Now published three times a year, the journal has expanded its book review section and includes a general issue and two theme issues in each volume." Available free through Project Muse.
The New York Times Book Review
In the Sunday Book Review section of the New York Times (free online with registration), The NYT Book Review provides weekly reviews of often unexpected choices. Best seller lists also provided.
Riverbank Review of Books for Young Readers
Now unfortunately out of print (2003), the twenty-one Riverbank Review back issues are still useful for lively reviews.
School Library Journal
"VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) is a bimonthly journal addressing librarians, educators, and other professionals who work with young adults. The only magazine devoted exclusively to the informational needs of teenagers, it was founded in 1978 by librarians and renowned intellectual freedom advocates Dorothy M. Broderick and Mary K. Chelton "to identify the social myths that keep us from serving young people and replace them with knowledge." Broderick retired in early 1997, when Cathi Dunn MacRae became editor after twenty years as a young adult librarian in public libraries."
Children's Literature and Library Services Listservs
"Child_Lit is an unmoderated discussion group convened for the express purpose of examining the theory and criticism of literature for children and young adults. The list exists for anyone interested in discussing aspects of these broad fields, including authorship, illustration, publication, promotion, readership, reception, criticism and literature's changing social functions and implications. child_lit is specifically conceived to foster the sharing of ideas by researchers engaged in original scholarship. The 'purpose' per se is to be occasionally revisited and possibly revised to meet the evolving needs of the discussion group, but discussants are instructed to keep the prevailing version of the purpose in mind when posting discussion topics. Topics off the point are discouraged." Hosted through Rutgers University.
"PUBYAC is an Internet discussion list concerned with the practical aspects of Children and Young Adult Services in Public Libraries, focusing on programming ideas, outreach and literacy programs for children and caregivers, censorship and policy issues, collection development, administrative considerations, puppetry, job openings, professional development and other pertinent services and issues. The name PUBYAC amalgamates the most important aspects of the discussion: PUBlic libraries, Young Adults, and Children." Begun at the Univeristy of Pittsburgh, it is now hosted through Prairienet, a non-profit organization supported by the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Champaign.
UIUC Library Services
Education and Social Science Library
Guide to Research in Children's and Young Adult Literature
Library and Information Science Library
Literature and Resources for Children, Fall 2006
GSLIS - UIUC