To learn how to locate, to synthesize, and to document both
print and online research materials.
To learn how to create and upload a web page.
To contribute to the on-going critical conversation about
children's literature by building an online web resource.
Educated and interested readers of children's literature,
including (but not limited to) students of children's literature,
prospective teachers, and current teachers.
Components of the Web Page:
(1) Brief biography of the author (500-700 words),
in the group's own words, with citations and a works cited list.
(2) A two-part bibliography, in M.L.A. format:
a bibliography of all works written/illustrated by the author
("primary resources"), listed by genre.
a bibliography of 8-10 selected works about the author and
his/her works ("secondary resources"), annotated with
a 1-2 sentence description about each selected work. At least
four of these selected works must be available from and listed
as library print materials.
(3) Five or six of the following Critical Contexts,
each 250-300 words in length:
Literary Relations (comparison with another author writing
in similar style or genre)
Example: Comparison between Crockett Johnson's
presentation of art and the imagination in Harold and the
Purple Crayon and Leo Lionni's in Frederick.
History of Literary Production (tracing the production history
of a particular work)
Examples: Discussion of HarperCollins' rejection
of Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon before accepting
it for publication, as described in the letters of Ursula Nordstrom.
Discussion of adaptations/interpretations of Harold and the
Purple Crayon, such as the animated film and the board game.
Discussion of the translations of Harold and the Purple Crayon.
Cultural Connections (using biographical, historical, and/or
cultural information to analyze a particular work)
Examples: Discussion of Johnson's Harold's
Trip to the Sky (1957) in connection with the rise in American
space exploration in the 1950s. Discussion of how Johnson's fondness
for dogs manifests itself in works such as The Blue Ribbon
Puppies and Terrible Terrifying Toby.
Style of Illustrations/Art (analysis of the visual presentation
of a particular work, including comparison/contrast with at least
one other author-illustrator)
Example: Comparison between Johnson's minimal,
representational cartoon-style of drawing in A Picture for
Harold's Room and the style of Syd Hoff in Danny and
Narrative Style and Structure (analysis of the narrative
form of a particular work)
Examples: Analysis of Johnson's We Wonder
What Will Walter Be? When He Grows Up as a fable. Analysis
of Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon as a picaresque
Theme (analysis of a theme, in one work or several works,
by the author)
Examples: Analysis of gender in Johnson's
Ellen and Harold books and how these characters
challenge traditional gender roles by sharing similar qualities
(imagination, adventure, concern for others). Analysis of the
presence of imaginary companions in Johnson's Ellen and
Harold books and how they represent aspects of the child's
self (Harold's crayon representing the creative self, Ellen's
lion representing the super-ego).
Division of Labor
Each group will have 5-6 students. At the first meeting, the
group will list its top three choices for an author; in the event
two or more groups select the same first choice, the final decision
will be made by a random drawing. Groups members should also
exchange contact information at the first meeting, since you
will need to be in touch with your group outside of class (by
phone, email, or face-to-face meetings) to make sure your project
is on schedule. See the Group
Web Project Schedule for more information.
All group members will contribute their knowledge
and will pool their time and research to complete the "Biography"
and the "Bibliography" outlined above. Each group
member will then research and write a "Critical Context"
entry; the group as a whole will consider which "Critical
Contexts" are appropriate for the selected author and which
topic for a given "Critical Context" would be best,
since each "Critical Context" entry contributes to
the quality of the Group Web Project. Your "Critical Context"
entry will bear your name, just as the "Biography"
and "Bibliography" will carry the names of all of your
group members. See the handout "Grading Criteria and Schedule
for Group Web Project" for more details.
I will use a composite grading system for the Group Web Project.
The Group Web Project is worth 20% of your final grade for the
course, so I will calculate individual grades as follows:
Grade assigned for "Biography" and "Bibliography"
Grade assigned for your "Critical Context"
Grade assigned for the completed Web Project
See the Grading Criteria
handout for more information. Group Web Projects that receive
high marks will become part of the permanent online web resource.
Note: If you have questions at any time about the
goals or process for the Group Web Project, please ask! We can
speak before class, after class, during office hours (T, W, R,
8:30-9:30 am), or over email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
List of Authors
(Note: Some authors have more primary or secondary materials
than others, and some authors fall into more than one category.
The genre of the author you choose will direct your group's focus
Picture Book Authors
Margaret Wise Brown
Chris Van Allsburg
Early and Middle-Grade Reader Authors
Christopher Paul Curtis