English 301: Literature for Children and Adolescents
Syllabus, Fall 2006   

Dr. Tina L. Hanlon

Associate Professor of English
Ferrum College - English Department

Children's Literature Course Home Page

Ferrum College Fall Academic Calendar

It is your responsibility to check course web pages regularly for updates and new materials. This includes material in the Angel site at http://angel.ferrum.edu. You are enrolled in Angel as a student of Ferrum College. When you log in, you should have automatic access to the course English 301 A.

Professor Contact Information:
Office Hours, Britt 205: MWF: 11:10-11:50, MW 1:30-2:40; T Th: 10:50-11:50. And by appointment
Composition Center: M, W: 3-4:30; T, Th: 1-3; F 1:30-2:30
Office Phone: 365-4327
E-mail: thanlon@ferrum.edu

Class Meeting: Britt 106, MWF 10:10-11:05

Prerequisite: three hours of English 201-207


Saltman, ed. The Riverside Anthology of Children’s Literature, 6th ed.
Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are  (purchase optional; available on reserve)
Rebecca Lukens, A Critical Handbook of Children’s Lit., 7th ed. (optional)

Novels you will need in 2nd half of semester:

Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden (any edition that has the complete original novel)
E. B. White, Charlotte's Web (HarperCollins)
Scott O’Dell, Island of the Blue Dolphins   (Laurel-Leaf ed.)
Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia   (Harper Trophy ed.)
Mildred Taylor, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry   (Puffin Penguin ed.)
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone   (Scholastic ed.)
Robin McKinley, The Hero and the Crown   (Puffin ed.)

Note: Some recommended and required readings will be placed on reserve in the library, and some will be on the Internet. There is a substantial amount of required reading throughout the semester, but whenever possible it is to your advantage to read more. Most of these works are shorter and “easier” to read than literature studied in other college courses, although they deserve to be analyzed as carefully as any adults' literature. The more examples of picture books, poems, and short tales you read, the more you will become familiar with dominant traditions and trends in children’s literature, and with links and influences among those traditions. You may be interested in the other novels about the characters portrayed in Roll of Thunder or more Harry Potter books. The other writers have also written additional books that are well worth reading, and of course there are many “classics” of children’s literature not on this list, such as Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Links to Online Texts will lead you to many children's books online, and folk literature texts.

Course Description:

This course introduces students to the wide range of literature appropriate for children and teenagers, and explores ways of using some of this range to develop deep interest and solid habits in reading. It emphasizes modes of storytelling and connections between texts and interpretive reading and dramatic performance. Besides introducing elements of literary analysis, it analyzes the place of controversial, or morally challenging texts for young people.

The course will acquaint you with the major genres of children’s literature and adolescent literature (more often referred to as “young adult” literature today). We will review briefly the history of children’s literature, and concentrate primarily on selected works from the twentieth century. The focus will be on American and British writing, but we will also consider some international and multicultural developments in children’s literature. We will consider the relationship between oral and written literary traditions, the differences or “margins” between children’s/young adult literature and literature for adults, the relationship between text and illustrations, and other issues and controversies important in contemporary study and uses of children’s literature. Additional pedagogical, literary, and social concerns relating to children’s literature, and other media besides books, will be discussed as time and student interest allow.

This course is designated Writing Intensive; a grade of C or higher in this course is required for this course to count toward the six-credit-hour Writing Intensive graduation requirement for Ferrum College. A student cannot earn a grade of C or higher in this course unless he or she earns a C or better on the writing assignments required by the course.

Course Goals/Learning Outcomes. All learning activities are designed to assist you in accomplishing the following learning outcomes for literature courses

Course Requirements:

Midterm Exam


Final Exam


Discussion Forums/Individual journal
writing & exercises


Project with oral report


Short Paper(s)


Major Paper


Attendance, Class Discussion


If you are using the 2005-06 or later college catalog for your graduation requirements, this course can fulfill half of your writing intensive requirement (see catalog, p. 57). Everyone in a writing intensive course must earn an average of C or better on writing requirements in order to receive a grade of C or better in the course.

The final exam is Thurs., Dec. 14, 2006, 2-4 p.m.

Special Accommodations: Reasonable accommodations and auxiliary aids will be available for any qualified student with a disability in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As early in the semester as possible, you are encouraged to notify the instructor and Ms. Linda Albrecht, Disability Services Coordinator, in ARC 111. Instructors are not allowed to discuss individual accommodations in public or ask individual students to make use of them. Qualified students may request these services and must follow the reasonable guidelines required by the school (such as arranging at least 48 hours in advance for any special accommodations for a scheduled test), or you will lose your right to take advantage of these services.

Exams: The midterm and final exam will contain short answer and essay questions on material that has been discussed in class. Specific material that you will be responsible for on the exams will be explained in advance (not necessarily every assigned reading—the journal will reflect the breadth of your reading and responses to assignments throughout the semester.) You may be asked to prepare some questions in advance, or do some take-home or open-book writing as part of an exam. The final exam is Thurs., Dec. 14, 2006, 2-4 p.m.

Papers: A short paper (2-4 typed pages) will be due during the first half of the semester. This paper should develop a thesis using traditional methods of literary analysis applied to one or more short works of literature. It can be something related to your project topic. Use of secondary sources is optional in this paper, which should contain mainly your own analysis of the primary work(s). If your grade is unsatisfactory, a second short paper will be due several weeks later. If your grade is C or above, a rewrite or a second short paper is optional. A revision grade will be averaged as 1/3 of the short paper grade. A second paper will be averaged as 1/2 or more of the short paper grade. More detailed guidelines will be provided on a separate web page.

The research paper (ten-page minimum) will explore any tradition or issue of children’s literature you choose for your course project. The paper’s focus may be a traditional type of literary analysis, or a pedagogical or scholarly or social issue involving children’s literature, with literary examples used to support your thesis. Lesson plans or web pages you design may be included if you wish. The paper must include some analysis of at least one primary work of literature, and references to at least three secondary sources (reference books, reviews, critical books or articles, etc.). Personal letters or discussion with adults or children may be used as sources, as long as you also have at least two or three written secondary sources. You must have a definite topic approved by Oct. 30 and an outline and preliminary list of sources approved by Dec. 2. (These dates may be adjusted as the semester progresses. Come in earlier to discuss topic ideas and sources I might be able to recommend). By the date indicated on the paper guidelines, you must arrange a conference to show me your list of sources and paper outline or draft. Failure to meet these requirements will result in a letter-grade deduction on the final paper. I or others in the Composition Center will advise on drafts of any papers at your request.

All formal papers must be typed, double-spaced, with documentation using the MLA or APA format. The Little, Brown Handbook gives instructions for standard format in academic papers and for documentation. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers gives more detail on MLA documentation, or, if you are working primarily in the field of education or social sciences and wish to use APA, consult the American Psychological Association Publication Manual. Writing about children’s books, especially picture books and folk tales, often requires that you indicate in your citations the illustrator, translator, or editor of a work, or whether a book lacks pagination.

Honor Code: The Ferrum College Honor Code applies to all work submitted for credit in this course. Plagiarism or any other form of cheating on any assignments will result in severe penalties, which may include failure of the course. Cases sent to the Honor Board can result in additional penalties, including suspension or expulsion from the college. You are responsible for reading and understanding the Ferrum Honor Policy, and for avoiding the undocumented use of the words or ideas of others in your writing. If your papers or project involves literature not in the assigned texts for the course, be sure the professor has access to those sources. It is a good idea to keep copies of pages in secondary sources from which you take specific ideas, information, or quotations that you use directly in papers. I will not grade a paper if I have any questions about its use of sources, until those questions are answered and corrections are made if necessary. (At the end of the semester this may mean automatic failure if there is no time left for clarification or corrections.) See also the notes on using online resources at Links to Online Texts.

Attendance and Participation: You are expected to come to class each day, on time, prepared to discuss the assigned readings. Final attendance grades will be based on the percentage of classes attended and the extent of daily preparation and participation in discussion. Remember that Ferrum College policy mandates that anyone who misses one-fourth of the class meetings (i.e., 10 MWF classes) cannot receive credit for a course. Sept. 29 is the last day to withdraw without penalty. Anyone who needs to withdraw from the course between Sept. 30 and Nov. 8 with a WP must be in good standing, with all course work completed to that date. Anyone who withdraws while not in good standing (with excessive absences, failing grades, incomplete assignments) will receive a grade of WF. Withdrawing after Nov. 8 will result in a grade of F (which you may appeal if extreme unforeseen circumstances prevent your completion of the course). If an emergency arises (such as an extended medical problem), notify the professor as soon as possible to avoid extreme penalties. See the college catalog for more information on grading and withdrawal policies.

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