Thursdays, 6:00-8:45pm

Manning Hall, Room #208

Dr. Brian Sturm

Office: 215-A Manning; phone: 962-2460; email: sturm AT ils DOT unc DOT edu

Office Hours: By email or by appointment

Online Space: (log in using your ONYEN and password)


Brief Course Description, Goals, and Outline


Course Description


This course is a survey of what has been written for birth - 6th grade children in the United States since the late 1800s, but with an emphasis on current publishing.  It is designed to help students understand how children experience reading, and its intent is to prepare students to work with children ages birth-12 in a variety of settings (libraries, schools, etc.).  We will cover books for the very young child, transitional fiction, and nonfiction and genre fiction for middle and upper elementary school children.  Each week, students will read background literature as well as children’s books on the topic of the day. 


As we tell children, “the more you read, the better you read, the better you read, the more you know.”  Please try to read beyond what I assign for the class, as you WILL need this information and exposure as you pursue your careers with children.


Course Goals


The purpose of this course is to help students answer the following question:  WHAT MAKES A CHILDREN’S BOOK ENGAGING FOR A CHILD READER?


In order to accomplish this goal, students must:

1. Develop critical and emotional standards for judging literature.

2. Gain an understanding of the changes in children’s literature over time.

3. Become familiar with the breadth and depth of materials for children.

4. Explore the professional literature about children's literature.




I.                   Introduction to the Study of Children's Literature

II.                Books to Establish Pre-Reading Habits (Board Books, Pop-ups, Picture Books)

III.             Books for Developing Readers (Beginning Readers, Transitional Chapter Books

IV.             Books for Readers (nonfiction and genre fiction)


Grading Policy


Grading for your assignments will follow the H, P, L, F scale.


I assume that you are all excellent and motivated students (you would not be at Carolina if you weren’t), therefore my expectations are high from the outset.  I know that some of you will have past experience with children’s literature, some will have worked with the resources we cover, some will have a knack for writing and public speaking, and some of you won’t!  I will try to grade you on two levels: 1) a comparison of your product to my expectations, and 2) a comparison to other students’ work.


Thoughtful, competent, graduate-level work, will receive a P -, P, or P+.

Work that shows evidence of depth of thought, breadth of research, and insightful analysis will receive an H.

Work that shows evidence of superficial analysis or minimal thought and effort will receive an L or an F.


Once all of your grades are recorded, I calculate your final grade using the following process:

1.      I convert letter grades to corresponding numbers using the following table


H = 100

H -  = 95

P+ = 92

P = 87

P - = 83

L = 77

F = 0


2.      I then compute your course numerical grade using the percentage weights for each assignment.

3.      Finally, I reconvert your numerical grade into a letter grade using the following table












In order to ensure that you do the best work possible, I am always available for consultation.  I will try to give you detailed feedback on how to improve your efforts, but the responsibility for achieving excellence is upon you.  Talk to me, ask me questions, and push yourself to do your best work for this class!


Honor Code


The School of Information and Library Science adheres to the University of North Carolina’s Honor Code for academic conduct.  Please read and know this code, and ask me if you have any questions.