Beyond Literary Landscapes—Classic Children’s Literature

Beyond Literary Landscapes—Classic Children’s Literature

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.

Who

This column serves as an introduction to Classic Children’s Literature, a reminder of some of the genre’s classics, and as an inspiration for further reading.

Classic Children’s Literature can be defined as “the body of written works and accompanying illustrations produced in order to entertain or instruct young people.”  Believed to have emerged during the late 18 century, it often includes “classics of world literature, picture books and easy-to-read stories written exclusively for children, and fairy tales, lullabies, fables, folk songs, and other primarily orally transmitted materials.”

Some examples of well-known authors who wrote Classic Children’s Literature include Robert Munsch, Don Freeman, and Eric Carle.

Other popular authors include A. A. Milne, Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter, and L. M. Montgomery.

What

Some well-known works include Robert Munch’s Love You Forever and The Paper Bag Princess, Corduroy by Don Freeman, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Other works include L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables and A.A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh.

Where

Many of these works are set throughout the United States and the United Kingdom.

When

These works often take place during the 20 and 21-century.

Why

These novels may be of interest for readers who would like to reminisce on some childhood memories, learn about the childhood favourites of others, and perhaps, introduce loved ones to old and new classics.

How

AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to Classic Children’s Literature are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works.  (Always check with an AU counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this topic may enroll in ENGL 305: Literature for Children, a senior‐level, three‐credit course, which “introduces the student to children’s literature, its history and development, and its rich variety of forms and techniques.”  Prerequisites include ENGL 211: Prose Forms and ENGL 212:  Poetry and Plays.  (This course covers certain classic works featured in this column, including Anne of Green Gables, The Paperbag Princess, and Winnie the Pooh.)

Students may also be interested in CMNS 420: Topics in Communication: Children and Media, a senior‐level, three‐credit course, which “focuses on how children up to the age of thirteen encounter and employ the media and genres of storytelling: from oral narrative and print, to the audio and visual mediation of narrative in picture books, radio and other audio forms, and screen technologies such as television, film, and video games.”  No prerequisites are required, apart from several recommended 300‐level courses.  Happy reading!

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