Exploring Children’s Literature
Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.
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Children’s literature is a vastly popular subject – both generally and at an academic level. This module seeks to discuss and critically consider a range of texts from different historical periods. The focus will be on gender, sexuality and ideology. The function of children’s literature, its narrative/s, overarching themes, debates and issues will also be considered.
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland (1865)
- Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (1868)
- Robert L. Stevenson, Treasure Island (1883)
- Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (1908)
- E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web (1952)
- Anne Fine, Madame Doubtfire (1987)
- J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)
Students will be expected to purchase their own copies of the set texts. However, we recommend that you refrain from purchasing all the books on the list until it is established that the course is running.
Week 1. Introduction: What is Children’s Literature?
Week 2. Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland (1865)
Week 3. Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (1868)
Week 4. Alcott, Little Women
Week 5. Robert L. Stevenson, Treasure Island (1883)
Week 6. Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (1908)
Week 7. E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web (1952)
Week 8. Anne Fine, Madame Doubtfire (1987)
Week 9. J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)
Week 10. Conclusion and Q+A
Who is this course for?
Anyone with an interest in children’s literature. On completion of the course students should be able to demonstrate an informed knowledge of cultural and historical perspectives to children’s literature, demonstrate an awareness of critical approaches to children’s literature, and critically consider the constructions of literature for children and literature for adults.
Learning and Teaching
Learning and teaching are undertaken by means of small group work. This is a 10-credit course, so there will be two-hour meetings once a week (20 contact hours in all) which will include:
(a) lectures and seminars: these introduce the basic information to the students. Hence there will be basic seminar-style sessions with tutor leading with talk and PowerPoint presentations as basis for group discussion and questions and answers. Students will be invited to read up on relevant topics for homework including specific passages from the selected novels; and
(b) discussion and group work: where appropriate, students will work in small groups to reflect critically on set questions and to contribute their own ideas.
Coursework and Assessment
To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.
There will be no formal examinations. There are two assessment choices for this course: (a) 3 x 500-word writing assignments (equally weighted), and (b) one essay of 1500 words at the end of the module (100%).
Your work will be assessed by your tutor, who will offer you written reports which we hope you will find constructive. The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are flexible and are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.
This is not a comprehensive list. The sections below work as guidelines to direct your further reading. You should also use the library databases and catalogues to build your own bibliographies.
- M. O. Grenby and Andrea Immel (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Children’s Literature, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009)
- Peter Hunt, An Introduction to Children’s Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994)
- Peter Hunt, Criticism, Theory & Children’s Literature (Wiley Blackwell, 1991)
- Karín Lesnik-Oberstein (ed.), Children’s Literature: New Approaches (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2004)
- Janet Maybin and Nicola. J. Watson (eds), Children’s Literature: Approaches and Territories (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)
- Heather Montgomery and Nicola J. Watson (eds), Children’s Literature: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)
Library and Computing Facilities
As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on
(029) 2087 0000.
Accessibility of Courses
Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.