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Studies in Children’s Literature

Course Code: ENGL 2112
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: English
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter
course overview

This course explores works of literature specifically intended for children and young adults, as well as traditional influences on children's literature, such as folk and fairy tales and moral tales. Students will read works reflecting a variety of literary genres, as well as contextual and/or critical material related to the works being studied.

Course Content

All second-year English literature courses share the following features:

  1. Students are presumed to be proficient in the writing of critical essays on literary subjects.
  2. Students are required to read in the course subject area beyond the texts assigned by the instructor or discussed in class.
  3. Students are required to incorporate into their oral and written coursework secondary source materials. These may include autobiographical or biographical material; literary criticism or theory; unassigned texts by the author under study; relevant cultural or intellectual history; or other arts, such as music, film, or fine arts.
  4. Readings and topics will vary with each instructor’s presentation of a course; however, all course materials are consistent with the objectives/outcomes for this course.

In English 2112, students will examine at least two full-length novels as well as some of the following:

  1. Traditional literature, such as folk tales, fairy tales, and myths
  2. Early didactic/instructional works (prose and/or poetry)
  3. Children’s verse (poetry and nursery rhymes)
  4. Picture books and other illustrated works
  5. Dramatic works
  6. Short fiction
  7. Criticism and theory as it relates to the work of particular authors under study.

Methods of Instruction

Some or all of the following methods will be used:

  1. Lecture/discussion;
  2. Group work;
  3. Peer editing;
  4. Group or individual presentations;
  5. Independent research;
  6. Instructor feedback on students’ work; and
  7. Individual consultation.

Means of Assessment

  1. A minimum of two formal academic essays, with a combined value of at least 40% of the course grade.
  2. A minimum of 80% of the course grade will be based on writing assignments (essays, essay-based exams, journals, paragraphs). A maximum of 20% of the course grade may be based on informal writing (quizzes, short answer tests); oral reports/presentations; participation/preparation grades; and/or other non writing-intensive assignments.
  3. A minimum of 15% of the course grade will be based on in-class writing (essay or exam).

According to the College Evaluation Policy, the final grade awarded to each student shall consist of at least three separate assessments. No single assessment will be weighted at more than 40% of the final course grade.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of any second-year English literature course, the student should be able to

  1. use with increased proficiency the skills of literary analysis taught in first-year English courses;
  2. recognize the significance of the literary and other contexts (such as biographical, historical, mythological or philosophical) of a work being studied;
  3. read critically and use in essays secondary sources (such as criticism or other texts by the same author) as an aid to comprehending the primary text(s) being studied;
  4. read critically and independently texts not discussed in class; and
  5. formulate a thesis on a given subject in one or more specific works, and to develop this thesis using suitable textual evidence.

Upon completion of English 2112, the successful student should also have a deeper understanding of

  1. read with an awareness of the intended child audience;
  2. understand key issues in children’s literature, such as didacticism and social attitudes towards children and childhood, as reflected in literary texts; and, where appropriate, identify typical features of literary genres and modes, such as realism and fantasy, and discuss their effect on plot, character and theme;
  3. understand some of the wide variety of critical approaches to children's literature, such as postcolonial, gender/queer theoretical, intertextual, postmodern, and critical race approaches.

course prerequisites

Any two university-transfer first-year English literature courses, or one university-transfer first-year English literature course and one university-transfer first-year Creative Writing or English writing course.  

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.