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ENGL 3190: Studies in Children's Literature
Spring 2006

Dr. Paula R. Backscheider
9082 Haley Center
(334) 844-9091

Class meets: TR 2-3:15

This discussion course begins with the origins of children’s literature and considers its purposes and forms as they have evolved.  Among the major topics for study are commercial concepts of market segments, such as African-Americans, pre-teen girls, yuppie parents, and sports fans.  Throughout the course, we will consider book illustrations and the ways American cultural change, including the feminist and Civil Rights movements, influence the subjects and content of children’s books. 

Readings: Examples of children’s literature, history, and theory.

Requirements: Short reports, major group project, 10-12 page paper, final exam and possible mid-term exam.

Required Texts

  • The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd. (HarperTrophy, 1977) 1st ed. ISBN: 0064430189. Paper.
  • The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. (Houghton Mifflin, 1978) 1st ed. ISBN: 039525938X. Paper.
  • The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen, ed. Diana Crone Frank and Jeffrey Frank. 1st ed. Durham: Duke UP, 2005. ISBN: 0-8223-3693-6. Paper.
  • Essentials of Children’s Literature, ed. Carol Lynch-Brown and Carl M. Tomlinson. (Allyn and Bacon, 2004) 5th ed. ISBN: 0-205-495486. Hardcover.
  • Brown Gold: Milestones of African American Children’s Picture Books by Michelle Martin. (Routledge, 2004) 1st ed. ISBN: 0415938570. Hardcover.
  • Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say. 1st ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993. ISBN: 0395570352. Paper if available.
  • Rotten Teeth by Laura Simms, illustrated by David Catrow. (Houghton Mifflin, 2002) 1st ed. ISBN: 0618250786. Paper.
  • Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women by Catherine Thimmesh, illustrated by Melissa Sweet. (Houghton Mifflin, 2000) 1st ed. ISBN: 0395937442. Hardcover.
  • The Governess by Sarah Fielding. Ed. Candace Ward. 1st ed. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2005. ISBN: 1551114127. Paper.


There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry--
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll--
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human soul.
Emily Dickinson, 1894
"Books swept me away, one after the other, this way and that; I made endless
vows according to their lights, for I believed them."
Annie Dillard, An American Childhood, 1987
"The real lives of boys are yet to be written. The lives of pious and good boys,
which enrich the publishing societies, resemble a real boy's life about as much
as a chicken on a spit resembles a free fowl in the fields."
Henry Ward Beecher, said in 1862

Finding the Readings:
+ Indicates on WebCT
* Denotes book that is located in the Treasure Room (ground floor) of the library. Go into the Special Collections Room and say you are from Dr. Backscheider’s children’s lit class, and let them know what books you need. You are not allowed to leave the room with the books; you must read them there.


10. Introduction to Children's Literature

12: Continued; Jan Yolen, Owl Moon*
Karen Klugman, “A Bad Hair Day for G. I. Joe” from Girls, Boys, Books, Toys +
Discussion of toys.

17: Garth Williams, The Rabbit’s Wedding *
William Miller, Night Golf *
Essentials of Children's Literature, pp. 1-31, 38
Excerpt from M. Daphne Kutzer, Empire’s Children +
Hunt’s Criticism from Theory and Children’s Literature +


19: Selections from John Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education +
James Janeway, Token for Children (1671-72) +
Elizabeth Singer Rowe, from Friendship in Death, Letter 3 (1728) +
Isaac Watts, Divine Songs, Attempted in Easie Language (1715) +

24: Charles Perrault, Tale 1: "Little Red Riding Hood" in Histories, or Tales of Past Times. Told by Mother Goose (1729; 1772 first time without French) +
The Brothers Grimm, “Little Red Cap” in The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm+
Elizabeth Marshall, "Stripping for the Wolf" in Reading Research Quarterly 39 (2004): 262-70. +
Jack Zipes, "A Second Gaze at Little Red Riding Hood's Trials and Tribulations" in Jack Zipes, ed., Don't Bet on the Prince +

26: John Newbery, A Little Pretty Pocket Book (1744) +
Sarah Fielding, The Governess (1749)
John Aiken and Anna Laetitia Barbauld, "Difference and Agreement" (1847) +

31: Continued: Maria Edgeworth, “The Purple Jar” (1808) +


2: Reading Day

7: Goody Two-Shoes (1772) Instructions for accessing this reading are on WebCT

9: Student Reports

14: Student Reports

16: Charlotte Smith, Conversations introducing Poetry (1804, 1819) Instructions for accessing this reading are on WebCT

21: Essentials of Children's Literature, pp. 43-56, 99-107

23: Hans Christian Andersen, Introduction; "Thumbelisa"; "The Little Mermaid"; "The Red Shoes"; "The Little Match Girl"; "The Gardener and the Aristocrat"

28: Continued; Mid-term Due


2: Jim Bradshaw, Suddenly Alligator: An Adverbial Tale *
Marc Simont, A Tree is Nice *
Marjorie Pellegrino, I Don’t Have an Uncle Phil Anymore *
Margaret Holmes, A Terrible Thing Happened *
Judith Viorst, The Tenth Good Thing About Barney *
Molly Bang, When Sophie Gets Angry– Really, Really Angry *
Allen Say, Grandfather’s Journey *


7: Essentials of Children's Literature, pp. 31-37, 75-85
John Berger, Ways of Seeing
"Art" books: Paul Zelinsky, Rapunzel *
Richard Lewis, All of You Was Singing *

9: Lois Grambling, Can I Have a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Dad?*
Margaret Brown, Runaway Bunny *
Laura Simms, Rotten Teeth *
Mick Inkpen, Kipper’s A to Z *

14: Russell Hoban, A Bargain for Frances *
Virginia Lee Burton, The Little House *
Readings in the theory of picture books.


16: Julius Lester, What a Truly Cool World * and John Henry *
Eve Bunting, Smoky Night *
Vaunda Nelson, Almost to Freedom *
Doreen Rappaport, Freedom River *
Deborah Hopkinson, Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt *

21: Introduction, Sections I and II in Michelle Martin's Brown Gold

23: David A. Adler, Picture Book of Rosa Parks*
Adler, A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr.*
Faith Ringgold, If a Bus Could Talk *
Jacqueline Woodson, The Other Side *
Essentials of Children's Literature, pp. 184-94



4: Continued; Robert McCloskey, Make Way for Ducklings *
James Mayhew, Katie and the Mona Lisa *
Stephen T. Johnson, Alphabet City *
Evelyn Coleman, White Socks Only *
Amy Littlesugar, Freedom School, Yes! *
Doreen Rappaport, The School is Not White! *

6: Robert Munsch, We Share Everything *
Munsch, The Paper Bag Princess *
Byron Barton, I Want to Be an Astronaut *
Karen B. Winnick, Sybil’s Night Ride *
Eileen Spinelli, Sophie’s Masterpiece *
Selection from A Choice Collection of Riddles, Charades, Rebusses +

11: Continued; Girls Think of Everything
Marcia Lieberman, “Some Day My Prince Will Come” in Sharing Literature With Children, 332-43 +
Ann Trousdale and Sally McMillan, “‘Cinderella Was a Wuss’: A Young Girl’s Responses to Feminist and Patriarchal Folktales” in Children’s Literature in Education 34 (2003): 1-28.

13: Continued, and group report

18: Group reports

20: Group reports

25: Group reports

27: Group reports

Final Exam: Thursday, May 6, 5:00- 7:30 p.m.