English 355: Literature for Children
Section C: TU 12:30-1:45 p.m., 224 Eisenhower Hall
Section D: TU 2:05-3:20 p.m., 226 Eisenhower Hall
Professor Phil Nel
Office Phone: 532-2165
Office: 210 Denison Hall
Office Hours: M 3:30-5:30 p.m., & by appt.
Virtual Office Hours: philnel@ksu.edu
Website: http://www.ksu.edu/english/nelp/
Syllabus last updated on 14 November 2000

Required Texts | Objectives | Grading | Requirements | Listserv | Schedule of Assignments | Links
Required Texts:
David L. Russell, Literature for Children: A Short Introduction (Longman).
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, edited by Donald J. Gray, 2nd ed. (Norton).
The Classic Fairy Tales, edited by Maria Tatar (Norton).
Crockett Johnson, Harold and the Purple Crayon (HarperCollins).
Crockett Johnson, A Picture for Harold's Room (HarperCollins).
Ruth Krauss, A Hole Is to Dig, illustrated by Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins).
Maurice Sendak, Where The Wild Things Are (HarperCollins).
Leo Lionni, Little Blue and Little Yellow (Mulberry)
Leo Lionni, Frederick (Knopf).
Faith Ringgold, Tar Beach (Dragonfly Books).
L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (Puffin).
Avi, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (Avon).
Christopher Paul Curtis, The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963 (Bantam).
Tor Seidler, A Rat's Tale (HarperCollins).
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Scholastic).
Class Pack for English 355.
Recommended Text:
Molly Bang, Picture This.
        To introduce major genres in and conventions of literature for children, and to develop critical skills for reading, thinking and writing about children's literature and culture. In order to foster these goals, you will write papers, take quizzes and exams, make regular postings to your section's listserv, and participate in class discussions. In this class, education will not be a passive experience: I expect discussion, debate, and exchanges of ideas. This requires that you not only be present but that you be an active presence.





  100 (total for all quizzes)   

In class, day reading is due.

Class Participation   






Paper #1



Mid-term Exam



Paper #2



Final Exam


In class, 9:40-11:30 a.m., on 12/12 (Sec. D) or 12/13 (Sec. C)



Requirements: Papers | Quizzes | Class Participation and Attendance | Computing | Assignments
        You will write two papers of 3 to 5 pages in length. Papers must: be typed (preferably word-processed) and double-spaced; include a title, your name, and the date; and have numbered pages that are stapled or paper-clipped together. Late papers will be penalized one grade (e.g., B+ to C+) for each day late.
        Sources: Use the MLA method for documenting sources. And don't plagiarize. When you turn in a paper, you pledge that you have faithfully abided by the guidelines for documenting sources -- most grammar handbooks provide guidelines for documentation. Always remember: you must cite the sources of any ideas that are not your own. If you quote, paraphrase, or use another's ideas, you must give credit to the person whose ideas you are using. If you have any questions, please ask. If you plagiarize, you will automatically fail this course. For more information on Kansas State University's Honor System, please visit <www.ksu.edu/honor>.
        Approximately 12 times during the semester, there'll be a quiz. Sometimes the quiz will be announced, and sometimes it won't. But it will always address the reading for that day. Because everyone can have a bad day, I'll drop the lowest quiz grade.
        Class Participation and Attendance:
        Read everything, and come to class prepared to talk about what you have read. On the first day of class discussion for each assignment, you must have finished the reading and be ready to discuss it. By "the reading," I mean all of the text assigned for that day. This class will be based on discussion, so class participation is expected, and will count for 10% of your final grade. I reserve the right to assign homework or in-class writing projects that are not listed on the syllabus.
        Class attendance is required. Since the class meets twice times a week, you are granted two absences, but more than two will lower your final grade by one grade increment for each absence (e.g., B+ would become B). I appreciate your offering explanations for absences; however, the only way to excuse an absence is to provide me with an official letter from the dean. You cannot earn credit for work missed in class. If you miss class, it is your responsibility to discover what went on that day. "I didn't know because I wasn't in class" is never an acceptable excuse.
        Computing -- the Internet, the Listserv, and Email:
        The Internet: For your reference, a hyperlinked version of this syllabus is on-line. Go to <www.ksu.edu/english/nelp/> and click on "Courses." When possible, I have linked authors' names to relevant webpages, and I plan to provide a link from each paper to its paper assignment.
        Listserv: Post comments to the listserv at least once a week. An average posting should run about one or two paragraphs in length. In other words, your postings do not need to be long, but they must be substantive -- long enough to convey clearly the problem you are taking up and your point of view, connecting your comment to others' comments, as appropriate. I will monitor these discussions and assess a grade (at the end of the semester) based on the thoughtfulness of your comments, their ability to foster discussion among your classmates, and their responsiveness to both our readings and to your classmates' comments in class and on the bulletin board.
        You have been subscribed (automatically) to a listserv for your class. To send a message to this listserv, just type in the email address of your section's listserv in the "To" portion of your email. The listserv for section C (the 12:30 p.m. group) is ENGL355C@ksu.edu. The listserv for Section D (the 2:05 p.m. group) is ENGL355D@ksu.edu. If you prefer to receive your messages in digest form (as I do), send the following in the body of a message to listserv@listserv.ksu.edu:

for English 355 C (send only the text below)

   for English 355 D (send only the text below)



Include no other information in the text of your message (so, for example, omit your signature file). You must be emailing from your email account in order for these changes to take place. For more information on this topic and others, please see "Using a LISTSERV Mailing List at K-State" <http://www.ksu.edu/cns/services/listserv/basics4members.html>.
        Email: My email address is philnel@ksu.edu. If you need help establishing an email account and learning to use email, please visit the Office of Telecommunications at 109 East Stadium or <www.telecom.ksu.edu/> to find out what you have to do. Although I do not require you to use email, I encourage you to use email as a way of touching base with me. You can write me with questions, send a thesis statement or outline for an essay, make an appointment to meet me in person, or anything else that could be handled with a quick exchange of messages. I tend to check email several times a day, but please keep in mind that I am not on-line at all times. You can access email and the various computer labs around campus: 21 Nichols Hall, 22-25 Seaton Hall, 1-1A Dickens Hall, and 325 Justin Hall and in some residence halls (visit <www.ksu.edu/housing/complab.html> for more details about resident hall labs).

Schedule of Assignments
Subject to Change
[W] = Web. [CP] = Class Pack. [R] = On Reserve (at Hale Library). [F] = Film.
Almost all (say, 95%) of recommended readings are on Reserve at Hale Library.
Sense and Nonsense
Tu 22
Th 24
Roland Barthes, "Toys" (1957) [CP]
Russell, Ch. 9 (Poetry)
Edward Lear, Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets (1871)
<http://edwardlear.tripod.com/ns/index.html> [W]
Tu 29
Th 31
Russell, Ch. 1 (History of Children's Literature);
Robert Frost, "The Sound of Sense" [CP]
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
Carroll,Alice Through the Looking Glass (1872)

Recommended: Iona and Peter Opie's I Saw Esau (1947), revised ed. illustrated by Maurice Sendak (1992); Sendak, Higglety Pigglety Pop! (1967); Norton Juster; The Phantom Tollbooth (1961); Peggy Parish, the Amelia Bedelia books (1963-1988); P. L. Travers, the Mary Poppins books (1934-1988); Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974), A Light in the Attic (1981), Falling Up (1996).

Dr. Seuss
Tu 5
Th 7
Russell, Ch. 7 (Picture Storybooks)
Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat (1957), Green Eggs and Ham (1960), The
Sneetches and Other Stories (1961) [all R]
Horton Hears a Who! (1954),Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories (1958),
The Butter Battle Book (1984) [all R]; Allison Lurie, "The Cabinet
of Dr. Seuss" [CP]

Recommended: Dr. Seuss, To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street (1937), The Cat in the Hat Comes Back (1958), Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book (1962), The Lorax (1971), The Tough Coughs As He Ploughs the Dough: Early Cartoons & Articles by Dr. Seuss (1987, ed. by Marschall), The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss (1995), Dr. Seuss Goes to War (1999, ed. by Minear), Of Sneetches and Whos and the Good Dr. Seuss (1997, ed. by Fensch).

When We Were Very, Very Young: Bank Street Group and Beyond
Tu 12
Th 14
Russell, Ch. 6 (Books of Early Childhood)
Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon, illustrated by Clement Hurd (1947) [R];
Ruth Krauss, A Hole Is to Dig (1952), illustrated by Maurice Sendak.
Crockett Johnson,Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955); Maurice Sendak,
Where The Wild Things Are (1963)

Recommended: Wanda Ga'g, The ABC Bunny (1933); Crockett Johnson, Harold's Trip to the Sky (1957), Harold's ABC (1963); Ezra Jack Keats, The Snowy Day (1962); Barbara Bader's chapters on Brown, Krauss, Johnson, and Sendak in American Picturebooks from Noah's Ark to the Beast Within (1976); Leonard S. Marcus, Awakened by the Moon (1992); Margaret Wise Brown, The Runaway Bunny, illustrated by Clement Hurd (1942); Peter McCarty, Little Bunny on the Move (1999); Leonard S. Marcus, chapter on Sendak from A Caldecott Celebration (1998).

The Art of Picture Books
Tu 19
Th 21
Molly Bang, Picture This (1991) [R]
Crockett Johnson, A Picture for Harold's Room (1960); Faith Ringgold,
Tar Beach (1991)
Paper #1 DUE in class
Tu 26
Th 28
Leo Lionni, Little Blue and Little Yellow (1959), Frederick (1967)
Maurice Sendak, In the Night Kitchen (1970) [R]; Christopher Myers, Black
Cat (1999) [R]
Tu 3
Th 5
David Wiesner, Free Fall (1988) [R]; Chris Van Allsburg, Jumanji (1982) [R]
David Macaulay, Black and White (1990) [R]; Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith,
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (1992) [R]

Recommended: Art by M. C. Escher, René Magritte, John Heartfield, and others. Books: David Wiesner, Tuesday (1992); Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express (1986), Just a Dream (1990); chapters on Wiesner and Van Allsburg from Marcus, A Caldecott Celebration; Perry Nodelman, sections from Words About Pictures (1988). Sendak, Outside Over There (1981), We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy (1993); Winsor McCay, The Best of Little Nemo in Slumberland (1997); Selma G. Lanes, The Art of Maurice Sendak (1980); the Choose Your Own Adventure series (1979-present); Donald Barthelme, The Slightly Irregular Fire Engine (1971); Chris Van Allsburg, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (1984); Tim Wynne-Jones, The Zoom Trilogy [Zoom at Sea (1983), Zoom Away (1985), Zoom Upstream (1992)] with pictures by Eric Beddows [Ken Nutt] (1997).

Tu 10
Th 12
Mid-term Exam
Education Symposium (no class)
Fairy Tales and Revisions
Tu 17
Th 19
Russell, Ch. 8 (Folk Literature)
The Classic Fairy Tales, edited by Maria Tatar: all "Little Red Riding Hood" tales, pp. 3-24.
Classic Fairy Tales: all "Snow White" and "Cinderella" tales, pp. 74-137.
Tu 24
Th 26
Disney's Snow White [F]
Chris Van Allsburg, The Widow's Broom (1992) [R]

Recommended: Roald Dahl, Revolting Rhymes (1982); Jack Zipes, Don't Bet on the Prince (1986); Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by A. Wolf (1989), Jon Scieszka and Steve Johnson's The Frog Prince, Continued (1991), James Finn Garner's Politically Correct Bedtime Stories (1994).

Novels: Realism, Adventure, Historical Fiction, Animal Stories, Fantasy
Tu 31
Th 2
Russell, Ch. 11 (Contemporary and Historical Realism)
L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (1908)
Anne of Green Gables
Tu 7
Th 9
Russell, Ch. 11 (Biography)
Avi, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle (1990)
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
Tu 14
Th 16
Russell, Ch. 3 (Cultural and Social Diversity)
Christopher Paul Curtis, The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963 (1995)
The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963
Tu 21
Th 23
Tor Seidler, A Rat's Tale (1986)
Tu 28
Th 30
A Rat's Tale
Russell, Ch. 10 (Fantasy)
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1997)
Tu 5
Th 7
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Paper #2 DUE in class
Conclusion and Review

Recommended: Barrie, Doody, and Jones, The Annotated Anne of Green Gables (1997); A.O. Scott and Polly Shulman, "Is Harry Potter the New Star Wars?" (epistolary discussion at Slate.com, Aug. 1999).

T 12
W 13
Final Exam, 9:40-11:30 a.m. for Sec. D (the 2:05 group)
Final Exam, 9:40-11:30 a.m. for Sec. C (the 12:30 group)
You must take the final exam on the day
and at the time scheduled for your section.

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Kansas State Dept. of Education's Licensure Requirements for teaching Late Childhood Through Early Adolescent Level (draft of February 1997)


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This page was last updated on 14 November 2000