INLS 732 – Children’s Literature and Related Materials (Spring 2014)




To help you select your children’s books to read, please use the reference books we cover (or any others you find) and the booklist web links included in this schedule.  Please try to read new books each week that you’ve never read before, as the class is supposed to broaden your perspective, not have you rehash things you read as a child.


The following general booklist sites may also be useful:  - Monroe County Public Library booklists - Carmel Clay Public Library booklists - Carol Hurst’s Children’s Literature Site - Hennepin County Library  - Logan Library booklists  - New York Public Library  - Salt Lake City Public Library (scroll down to “Kids”) - The Children’s Book Review (see their “categories” in the left column)


See also the free, web-based, searchable children’s literature databases at: - California Department of Education’s multi-capability search interface - Database of award-winning children’s literature


Perhaps the best resource to know is the proprietary Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database, available via Davis Library Electronic Resources.



Thursday, January 9th

In Class: Introduction to the class and each other.  My teaching philosophy.  Assignments and grading.  What’s on Sakai (download to read comments)?  What is children’s literature, and of what value is it? Reference Books and Review Sources, SILS library tour.

Children’s Book Reading: Please read (and bring to class if you can) a copy of The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate (2013 Newbery Award winner)



SECTION 1:  BOOKS TO ESTABLISH PRE-READING HABITS (Guiding question: Are these books effective for exciting pre-reading children?)



Thursday, January 16th

In Class: Board Books (3), and Pop-ups (1)

Professional Reading:  Tare 2010 article (Sakai); Stages of Reading Development; How children learn to read; watch the seven-part Youtube interview with Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart (Paris Interview 1-7), and explore these websites on pop-ups: - short history of pop-ups

Children’s Book Reading:  Read and bring to class three (3) board books and one Pop-up book as well as a strong (positive or negative) quote from a review of one of them.

Help finding a book for today: 

For Board Books:; or do a Keyword search in the Chapel Hill Public Library Catalog on “board books” (include quotes); or browse the SILS picture book shelves for books made of cardboard. 

For pop-ups, try:;; and search the UNC Catalog SILS library collection for the keyword “pop-up” (SILS keeps its collection in the library workroom, and it’s an “in-library use only” collection, so you’ll need to ask for help to see these; I’ll bring several of them to class from this collection, so if you want one of these to show in class, please let me know).


Thursday, January 23rd

In Class: Picture Book Format and Design

Professional Reading: Nodelman 1999 article, Smith 2013 article, Crawford & Hade 2000 article, Nikolajeva & Scott 2000 article (Sakai)

Children’s Book Reading: Read and bring to class three (3) picture books of your choice

Help finding books for today: Browse the shelves as children do until you find three books you like that are appropriate for these YOUNG children. Think about the reading level, the content, the illustrations, and the format: are all of these appropriate for young kids?  DON’T use reference or search tools to find your books this time.



Thursday, January 30th 

In Class: Thematic Picture Books

Children’s Book Reading:  Read and bring to class at least three (3) picture books that are all on the same theme (Caldecott award winners, dogs, parties, etc, could be your chosen “theme”)

Professional Reading: Find an article (search ERIC, PsychInfo, Lib. Lit. and Info. Science databases, etc.- these links should work from UNC computers) that addresses your chosen theme in children’s literature, and be ready to give a short overview of this article along with your books.

Help finding books for today: Look in A to Zoo on the SILS library reference shelves (Z1037 .L715 2006). It’s a marvelous index of picture books that you need to know as a professional resource.

ASSIGNMENT DUE:  Critical Review #1 (board book, pop-up, or picture book) (have a look at the Webber article on Sakai to help in writing your review)



SECTION 2: BOOKS FOR DEVELOPING READERS (Guiding question: How do these books help children learn to read independently?)


Thursday, February 6th 

In Class: Beginning Readers and Transitional Readers

Professional Reading: Pierce master’s paper; Stanley & Sturm article, Gately article, and Szymusiak & Sibberson article (Sakai)

Children’s Book Reading: Read and bring to class four books:

Two beginning reader books (limited vocabulary, large print, large line spacing, such as the I Can Read books) AND

Two transitional readers (early chapter books, such as the Secrets of Droon, Magic Treehouse, Cam Jansen, Junie B. Jones, etc.).

Help finding books for today:

Beginning Readers: TITLE search of the Chapel Hill Public Library catalog for: I can read book

Transitional Readers:;




SECTION 3: BOOKS FOR READERS (Guiding Question: Would children find these books engaging, and, if so, why?)


Thursday, February 13th 

In Class:  Folklore (Dewey 398s)

Professional Reading:  Sturm & Sturm 2003 article (Sakai).

Children’s Book Reading:  Read and bring to class one folktale collection AND two picture book folktales (three books total). 

Help finding books for today

Browse the SILS library shelves under Dewey 398.2

Use the bibliography from the Storyteller’s Sourcebook (original and 1983-1999 versions): SILS Reference: GR 74.6  M3



Thursday, February 20th

In Class: Fantasy and Science Fiction

Professional Reading:  Greenway 1996 article at; Brewis 2003 article (Sakai)

Children’s Book Reading: Read and bring to class one fantasy OR one sci-fi novel.

Help finding books for today:

Fantasy: - scroll down to the “Older Readers” list


Sci-fi: - Golden Duck Award list of recommended Sci/Fi (organized by grade level)  - Ferguson Library Online



Thursday, February 27th

In Class:  Graphic Novels for Children

Professional Reading:  McCloud 1993 article, Horn 1998 article, and Sturm Creativity 2013 article (Sakai)

Children’s Book Reading: Read and bring to class one graphic novel for children (make sure it’s appropriate for children not YAs).

ASSIGNMENT DUE:  Critical Review #2 (beginning reader, transitional reader, folklore, fantasy, or science fiction)



Thursday, March 6th 

In Class:  Historical Fiction & History

Professional Reading: Gillespie Chapter 1; Cai 1992 article (Sakai)

Children’s Book Reading: Read and bring to class 2 books:

One historical fiction novel AND one history book (picture book or otherwise) about the setting of your novel (i.e., Number the Stars and a history book on WW2).



Thursday, March 13th

NO CLASS – SPRING BREAK (for children’s book reading, please see next week’s class and get a head start on your best seller fiction title – not a picture book)



Thursday, March 20th

In Class: Effective reading aloud, engaging research posters, and Children’s Bestsellers

Professional Reading: Creating Effective Poster Presentations (use the TOC in the left hand column for specifics); Do’s and Don’ts of Reading Aloud (click through to second page for “don’ts”)

Children’s Book Reading: read and bring to class one children’s fiction book from the Publisher’s Weekly Bestsellers list.  We will compare and contrast what’s selling with our definition of “quality.”

ASSIGNMENT DUE:  Critical Review #3 (graphic novel, historical fiction, history, or any of the remaining genres we have yet to cover)



Thursday, March 27th 

In Class: Multicultural Literature (class visit by Starr LaTronica, ALSC President)

Professional Reading: Agosto 2007 article and Mongo article (Sakai); Wilson 2009 (you can read the whole Wilson master’s thesis if you wish, but spend time particularly thinking about the checklist in Appendix A, page 62)

Children’s Book Reading: read and bring to class one multicultural book that you feel is representative of multicultural literature

Help finding a book for today: 50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know; Celebrating Cultural Diversity through Children’s Literature; KidActivities; Interracial Family Picture Books



Thursday, April 3rd  

In Class: Poetry Slam, then discussion of poetry books you have read

Professional Reading:  Rosenberg 2005 article (Sakai)

Children’s Book Reading: Read and bring to class one anthology of children’s poetry AND one picture book of poetry (2 books total).  PLEASE don’t everyone bring in Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky.  Yes, they’re amazing; yes, you loved them as a child; but we need to explore new horizons, so go find someone else to read!  Be prepared to read aloud your chosen poem.  For help choosing, see:*&by=genre&genre=277&go.x=18&go.y=10  note this is a Scholastic website

ASSIGNMENT DUE: Poetry Slam read-aloud


Thursday, April 10th

In Class: Information Books

Professional Reading: Doiron 2003 article, Carter 2000 article, and Cervetti 2009 article (Sakai)

Children’s Book Reading: Read and bring to class four books: two information books on different topics (try to choose one narrative nonfiction and one informational nonfiction) and two concept books (alphabet, numbers, shapes, etc.) for young children.

Help finding books for today:

NCTE Orbis Pictus Award

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal

Boston Globe-Horn Book Award

For concept books: Subject search CHPL Catalog for: English language alphabet; Alphabet Books list from Allen County Public Library; Iowa City Public Library ABC and Numbers booklist; Counting Books from Allen County Public Library; Seattle Public Library Picture Books about Concepts



Thursday, April 17th 

In Class: Realistic Fiction

Professional Reading: Rochelle 1991 article (Sakai)

Children’s Book Reading:  Read and bring to class one realistic fiction novel.

Help finding a book for today:

Hennepin County Library Realistic Fiction booklist  includes Lexile level

Goodreads list:



Thursday, April 24th (last class)

In Class:  Student research poster presentations

ASSIGNMENT DUE:  Research Poster and Presentation










Critical Reviews (3)

#1: 10%

#2: 10%

#3: 10%


Performance: Poetry read aloud (1)



Research Poster and Presentation (1)



Class Participation








1.  Critical Reviews (3)

This assignment is designed to get you exploring the reference books and review sources you will need as a professional.  Please use the following template to complete this assignment.  The process is as follows:

1. You scour the selective bibliographies in the SILS library reference collection to find if any of them recommend your book, and list any that do with the year and page number of the reference (i.e., Children’s Catalog, 2011, p. 365; or Best Books for Children, 20, p. 213).

2. You use Children’s Book Review Index (SILS Reference: Z1037. A1 C475) or or NoveList K-8 or Children’s Literature Database to find reviews of your book, and you list two journal sources with issue, year and page number of the review (i.e., Booklist, June/July, 2012, p. 73; or SLJ, Sept., 2012, p. 46).

3. You find the reading level of the book (NoveList K-8 online gives this as does Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database, and Elementary School Library Collection for pre-2000 books).

4. You write a concise plot synopsis, detailing the entire plot (including ending).  Do NOT write a “teaser” or promotional piece.  The reader of your plot synopsis should know the whole story from reading your synopsis.  No more than 100 words.

5. You write a thoughtful, critical review of the book (including selected quotes from the reviews you have read) in which you address at least these three issues in no more than 150 words:

a. An evaluation of the quality of the book: is it well written (plot, characterization, theme, style, etc.) - include examples from the text to prove your point if necessary.  Also consider whether it is a good example of its genre and why/why not?

b. Would a child enjoy it and why (look to the developmental literature to help with this)?

c. How could you use this book with children (programming ideas, classroom units, etc.)?



2. Performance: Poetry Read Aloud (1)

Your assignment here is to read aloud a poem of your choice as part of our poetry slam.  We will cover how to read aloud dynamically, and this performance will give you a chance to practice your skills and receive feedback on your performance in terms of vocal inflection, enunciation, energy, eye contact, rhythm, etc.



3. Research Poster (1)

For your research, you are to use the methodology of content analysis to examine a set of books of your choice.  You are to devise a question about children’s literature for young children for in-depth exploration, and then try to answer this question from the books in your chosen data set.  The final product will be a research poster to present to the class on the final day of class.  Please design your poster using some kind of digital presentation format (though not Prezi or others that requires zooming about the poster).  Please email me your poster as an attachment.  See the “Tips for research poster design” on Sakai for ideas.  I will use the “Research poster evaluation (2014 form)” on Sakai to evaluate your research poster, so please consider it when designing your poster.



5. Class Participation

This part of the grade will reflect how you participate in class.  Do you add to our discussions?  Are you prepared, having read your children’s books and the assigned professional reading?  Are you actively thinking in class and asking profound questions?  More is not necessarily better, but I want you actively involved while in class.  This course is partly lecture, but much of my teaching technique centers on discussion to bring out the salient points.  You will find that the more you engage in discussion, the more you will learn, and the more you will enjoy this class!