Classics in Children’s Literature
A student-centered seminar, during which we will analyze some of the classics in children’s literature as well as discuss the cultural, academic, and personal implications of such writings
A. To celebrate a part of our common heritage--we were all children once (and on good days still are!)--by reading some of the best-of-the-best in children’s literature. Many of the books that we will read are old friends; you probably grew up with them. But some will be new friends, who in the busyness of our childhoods we missed. Or perhaps, when we were children, they were not yet books.
B. To discuss/analyze what of the cognitive/developmental/cultural/social aspects of childhood are represented/stimulated/captured by children’s literature.
III. Objectives to have been reached by every student by the end of the course*
A. Exhibit critical thinking through the analysis and interpretation of language and
– By reading selections from various genres of children’s literature
B. Differentiate and employ macro and micro revision processes and techniques
– By writing personal narratives which trace personal histories of reading specific
selections of children’s literature in relationship to the cognitive/developmental/
cultural/social contexts within which they were read
– By writing and distributing two, public, informative documents
C. Exhibit effective oral communication skills
– By sharing information with the entire class in required presentations
D. Employ research tools for writing and other modes of understanding
– By studying in-depth one piece of children’s literature as well as the author’s
life and culture
E. Work collaboratively to analyze and interpret texts and to improve writing skills
– By participating in peer reviews of drafts
– By becoming a part of community of readers
*Taken from UIS’s English Program’s 2004 Student Objectives
Please note: You may obtain these books by buying them from UIS’s bookstore; by checking them out of a friend’s library, a public library, UIS’s library, or your personal library; or by ordering them from the web (bookfinder.com or Buy.com, etc.). While it is NOT necessary to purchase these books new, PLEASE have read (or re-read) them and bring copies to class the day we discuss them.
1. Bang, Molly. Common Ground.
3. Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, .
4. Ende, Michael. The Neverending Story.
5. Fleischman, Paul. Seedfolks.
6. George, Jean Craighead. Julie of the Wolves.
7. Konigsburg, E. L. Throwing Shadows.
8. L’Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time.
9. Lewis, C. S. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
10. Lowry, Lois. Number the Stars.
11. Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. Snowflake Bentley.
12. Paterson, Katherine. Bridge to Terabithia.
13. Paulsen, Gary. Brian’s Winter.
14. Peck, Richard. A Long Way from
Dial Books for Young Readers, 1998.
15. Sachar, Louis. Holes.
16. Wick, Walter. A Drop of Water.
Note: You are neither required to purchase nor to read these books prior to class.
However, selections from many of these will be read during class to enrich the scope of your exposure to outstanding literature, and you will be responsible for the material presented in class during your midterm and final exams. Plus, I thought you might like to have a partial listing for your future reference!
Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women.
—. Little Men.
—. Old Fashioned Girl.
—. Eight Cousins.
Andersen, Hans Christian. Fairy Tales.
Brett, Jan. The Hat.
Carroll, Lewis. Through the Looking-Glass.
Giono, Jean. The Man Who Planted Trees.
Greenaway, Kate. Mother Goose or Old Nursery Rhymes.
Jackson, Jacqueline Dougan. Stories from the Round Barn.
Northwestern UP, 1997.
Jacobs, Joseph (Collected by . . .). Celtic Fairy Tales.
(From 1892 edition by David Nutt.)
Johnson, Crockett. Harold and the Purple Crayon.
Johnson, A. E., trans. Perrault’s Fairy Tales.
Krauss, Ruth. The Carrot Seed.
L’Engle, Madeleine. Many Waters (1998).
—. A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1981).
—. A Wind in the Door (1974).
Lewis, C. S. The Chronicles of Narnia –listed in the order C. S. Lewis thought
they should be read:
—. The Magician’s Nephew (1955).
—. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950).
—. The Horse and His Boy (1954).
—. Prince Caspian (1951).
—. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952).
—. The Silver Chair (1953).
—. The Last
Lowry, Lois. The Giver (2002).
—. Gooney Bird Greene (2004).
—. The Silent Boy (2003).
Milne, A. A. Winnie the Pooh (1926).
—. The House at Pooh Corner (1928).
Morrison, Toni. The Big Box.
Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet.
Peck, Richard. Fair Weather (2002).
—. A Year Down Yonder (2001; a sequel to A Long Way to Chicago).
Pfeffer, Wendy. A Log’s Life.
Piper, Watty (Retold by . . .). The Little Engine that Could.
Potter, Beatrix. The Tailor of
—. The Tale of Peter Rabbit .
Rowling, J. K. (Grades 4-6). Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. 1998.
—. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1999).
—. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999).
—. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000).
—. Harry Potter and the
Sendak, Maurice. In the Night Kitchen (1970).
—. Where the Wild Things Are.
Seuss, Dr. Cat in the Hat (1957).
—. Green Eggs and Ham.
—. Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
—. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.
Silverstein, Shel. Falling Up (1996).
—. The Giving Tree (1963).
—. A Light in the Attic (1981).
—. The Missing Piece (1976).
—. The Missing Piece Meets the Big O.
—. Where the Sidewalk Ends: the Poems and Drawings . . .(1973).
Twain, Mark. The Prince and the Pauper.
—. Tom Sawyer.
Williams, M. The Velveteen Rabbit (1987).
V. Evaluation and Grades
A. Undergraduate, student performance will be evaluated on an A-U scale using the following criteria:
1. 33.333% = Two tests: Midterm (100 pts.) and Final (100 pts.)
2. 50.000% = *Two papers: Reflective, personal essay (100 pts.) and Research
paper (200 pts.)
3. 16.666% = *Short papers and in-class work (100 pts.):
i. *Provide one handout for entire class on fairy tale (20 pts.)
ii. Read and discuss one fairy tale (10 pts.)
iii. *Provide student handout on one of the required texts (30 pts.)
iv. Give reading and activity on one of the required texts (20 pts.)
v. *Have a TYPED draft of Paper # 1/Peer review (5 pts.)
vi. *Have a TYPED draft of Paper # 2/Peer review (5 pts.)
vii. *Have a bibliographic entry over favorite book (5 pts.)
viii. Coordinate an activity for the whole class that reminds us all
how to play! (And the importance of play!) (5 pts.)
B. Graduate, student performance will be evaluated on an A-U scale using the
following criteria (Please see me after the first class meeting):
1-3. Same as undergraduate students (600 points)
Plus two additional assignments:
4. *A 10-12 page research paper on an award given for children’s literature or an
alternative topic agreed upon in advance, such as a children’s book illustrator
5. Presentation of your findings from the above research paper to the class with
examples from the course’s readings (30-60 minutes) with a *one-page,
summary handout for the class (20 pts.).
Therefore, your points will be divided by 720 points to determine you grade.
*All papers are due at the start of class on the day they are required and must be
submitted to the professor in person at that time (or prior to that time); papers will
not be accepted submitted on-line or by FAX or by any other method. Late
papers will lose 10% per day late. Papers are also required to be typed.
C. Basically, I would happier if we could have a mentorship arrangement and I didn’t
have to assign grades, but until that happens, I will try to demystify how I
determine grades. If you attend all but two classes and do all of your work in a
timely fashion, you will probably not have to be too concerned about grades: A=
outstanding; B = strong; C = acceptable; D = just barely met standards; U = not
acceptable (see numerical grades listed within this syllabus). There will be no
substitution of assignments unless required by UIS administrative office(s). A
number of safety nets have been built-in to the course to reinforce basic concepts.
This course is designed to give you a solidly paced experience in children’s
literature. Caveat: Try not to get behind in your work; my previous students have
said this is the only grade-danger in my classes.
A = 94-100%
A- = 90-93%
B = 84-87%
B- = 80-83%
C = 74-77%
C- = 70-73%
D = 64-67%
D- = 60-63%
U = lower than 60%
Something-I-shouldn’t-have-to-say: Plagiarism has no place in any institution of
learning; therefore, any plagiarism in this class will result in an U (failing) grade for the
course and will be submitted to the appropriate university disciplinary individual(s)
and/or committees for institutional disciplinary action.
Because this class meets only once a week and is a student-centered, seminar class,
attendance and participation are vital to getting/giving the most from/to this learning/
teaching experience. Therefore, after two absences, each absence will lower the over-all
course grade by one letter grade per absence. Being more than thirty minutes late to a
class will count as an absence. No student may invite and/or bring any guest(s) to any
VIII. Accommodation of Students with Documented Disabilities
“Reasonable accommodations are available for students who have a documented
disability. Please notify the instructor during the first week of any class of any
accommodations needed for the course. Late notification may cause the requested
accommodations to be unavailable. All accommodations must be approved through the
Office of Disability Services (SLB 11, 6-6666.)”