English 355, Sec. C: Literature for Children
Tues. & Thurs., 12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
Eisenhower 021
Professor Philip Nel
Office Phone: 532-2165
Office: 208 Denison Hall
Office Hours: Th., 3:30-5:30 p.m. & by appointment.
Virtual Office Hours: philnel@ksu.edu
Website: www.ksu.edu/english/nelp/
Syllabus last updated on 3 April 2002
Paper Assignment #1 | Paper Assignment #2 | Bulletin board

Required Texts | Objectives | Grading | Requirements | Bulletin Board | Schedule of Assignments | Recommended Resources

Required Texts:
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, edited by Donald J. Gray, 2nd ed. (Norton).
Molly Bang, Picture This (Seastar).
Leo Lionni, Frederick (Knopf).
Faith Ringgold, Tar Beach (Dragonfly Books).
Crockett Johnson, Harold and the Purple Crayon (HarperCollins).
Ruth Krauss, A Hole Is to Dig, illustrated by Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins).
Maurice Sendak, Where The Wild Things Are (HarperCollins).
The Classic Fairy Tales, edited by Maria Tatar (Norton).
Arnold Lobel, Frog and Toad Together (HarperCollins).
Patricia MacLachlan, Sarah Plain and Tall (HarperCollins).
Andrew Clements, Frindle (Aladdin Paperbacks).
L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (Puffin).
Christopher Paul Curtis, The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963 (Bantam).
Tor Seidler, A Rat's Tale (HarperCollins).
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Scholastic).
Class Pack for English 355.
        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 electronic bulletin board, 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 &  



Electronic Bulletin Board    


Midterm Exam


In class, 26 February.

Paper #1


In my office (Denison 208) by 12 noon, 29 March.

Paper #2


In my office (Denison 208) by 12 noon, 26 April.

Final Exam


In class, 9:30-11:30 a.m., 17 May.



Requirements: Papers | Quizzes | Class Participation and Attendance | Computing | Assignments
        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 a week, you are granted twice 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 Electronic Bulletin Board, and Email:
        Technology is now a component of the state licensure requirements, including the standards for English Language Arts. Consequently, you will be asked to participate in an Electronic Bulletin Board. Our work with computers is designed not only as another forum for discussing our reading, but as a way for you to sharpen your communication skills and media skills for an increasingly technological age.

        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." I have linked authors' names to relevant webpages, listed web and library resources, and I plan to provide a link to the paper assignment.

        Electronic Bulletin Board: Post comments to the bulletin board 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 may respond to an existing thread of the conversation or initiating another; weekly postings will count towards your class participation grade. I may participate in these conversations, but I see the bulletin board primarily as a way for you to raise issues we haven't addressed -- or addressed fully or to your satisfaction -- during our regular class meetings. Though extra postings to the bulletin board will not automatically replace participation in our class discussions, regular contributions above and beyond your weekly posting can certainly improve your class participation grade.
        How to use the bulletin board:
  1. First, click on this sentence. If you receive a message like "Authorization Failed. Retry?" then click on "Retry."
  2. A window will pop up, asking for your username. Type engl355c. (Be sure to use all lower-case letters.) Next, type in the password that I gave you in class.
  3. To see all the messages posted to date starting with the newest ones first, click on "Preferences" and set the options to "12 months" and "Mixed Threaded, Reversed." Click on the "View Messages Index" button. You should be able to see all the messages posted to the threaded bulletin board. (If a grey box pops up with the title "Security Information," just click "OK.")
  4. To post, choose to reply to a message or to post a new message. You will have to enter your name, your email address, and the subject of the message. You can preview your message before sending it; then, click "Post Message."
        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 at 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
Note: "through" means "to the end of" (not "up to"). Page numbers refer to the editions assigned.
[W] = Web. [CP] = Class Pack. [R] = On Reserve (at Hale Library). [F] = Film.
[*] = Not in Hale Library, so don't worry: I'll bring it in and we'll read it in class.
Many but not all recommended readings are on Reserve at Hale Library.
Introduction to Literature for Children


Th 17

Introduction. Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree (1964).

Tu 22
Nodelman, "How to Read Children's Literature" (15-24), "Teaching Children's Literature" (25-28), and "Common Assumptions About Children's Literature" (67-70) [CP]; Russell, "The Study of Literature" (57-66), "The History of Children's Literature" (3-24) [CP].
Recommended: Anthony Browne, Changes (1990); Bryan Collier, Uptown (2000); Doreen Cronin, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, illus. by Betsy Lewin (2000); Rachel Isadora, Ben's Trumpet (1979); Jon Scieszka, The Frog Prince Continued, illus. by Steve Johnson (1991); Toby Speed, Brave Potatoes, illus. by Barry Root (2000); Chris Van Allsburg, The Stranger (1986).
Fairy Tales and Revisions
Th 24
All "Little Red Riding Hood" tales, The Classic Fairy Tales, edited by Maria Tatar (3-24); Russell, "Responding to Literature" (75-89) [CP].

Tu 29

All "Snow White" tales, Classic Fairy Tales (74-96).

Th 31
Disney's Snow White (1937) [F].
Tu 5
Snow White; Chris Van Allsburg, The Widow's Broom (1992) [R]; Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by A. Wolf (1989) [R].
Recommended: Robert Munsch, The Paper Bag Princess, illus. by Michael Martchenko (1980); Roald Dahl, Revolting Rhymes (1982); Jack Zipes, Don't Bet on the Prince (1986), The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales (2000); Jon Scieszka and Steve Johnson, The Frog Prince, Continued (1991); James Finn Garner's Politically Correct Bedtime Stories (1994); Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly (editors), Little Lit: Folklore and Fairy Tale Funnies (2000) and Little Lit: Strange Stories for Strange Children (2001).
Poetry, Sense, and Nonsense
Th 7
Russell, "Poetry" (179-89); Randall Jarrell, The Bat Poet, pp. 12-23. [CP]; the selected poems in the Class Pack.

Tu 12

Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865).

Th 14
Carroll, "Jabberwocky" (116-19) and "Humpty Dumpty" (159-68) from Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1872); Edward Lear, "The Owl and the Pussycat," "The Jumblies," and "The Table and the Chair" from Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets (1871) <http://edwardlear.tripod.com/ns/index.html>.

Tu 19

Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat (1957), Green Eggs and Ham (1960), The Sneetches and Other Stories (1961), The Butter Battle Book (1984) [all R].

Th 21
Seuss, Horton Hears a Who! (1954),Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories (1958) [all R]; Allison Lurie, "The Cabinet of Dr. Seuss" [CP]. How World War II Created Dr. Seuss: web-based "slide show" used during today's class.
Recommended: Billy Collins' Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools (Library of Congress: initiative "to make it easy for students to hear or read a poem each day of the 180 days of the school year"); K. J. Kennedy and Dorothy Kennedy, Knock at a Star: A Child's Introduction to Poetry (1982); Kenneth Koch, Rose, Where Did You Get That Red?: Teaching Great Poetry to Children (1990); Neil Philip (editor), The New Oxford Book of Children's Verse (1996); Iona and Peter Opie's I Saw Esau (1947), revised ed. illustrated by Maurice Sendak (1992); Sendak, Higglety Pigglety Pop! (1967); Calef Brown, Polka-Bats and Octopus Slacks (1998); Dee Lillegard, Wake Up House!: Rooms full of Poems (2000); 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, 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); Ken Mochizuki, Baseball Saved Us (illus. Dom Lee, 1993).
Tu 26
Midterm Exam
Picture Books (1). The Art of Picture Books
Th 28
Molly Bang, Picture This (1991); Leo Lionni, Little Blue and Little Yellow (1959) [R]; Nodelman, "Picture Books" (215-44) [CP].


Tu 5

Lionni, Frederick (1967); Crockett Johnson, A Picture for Harold's Room (1960) [R]; Faith Ringgold,Tar Beach (1991).

Th 7
Allen Say, Grandfather's Journey (1993) [R]; Carolivia Herron, Nappy Hair, illustrated by Joe Cepeda (1988) [R]; Christopher Myers, Black Cat (1999) [R]; Peter Sis, Madlenka (2000)*.

Tu 12

Quint Buchholz, Sleep Well, Little Bear (1994) [R]; David Wiesner, Free Fall (1988) [R]; Ann Jonas, The Trek (1985) [R]; Chris Van Allsburg, Jumanji (1982) [R].

Th 14
Ann Jonas, Round Trip (1983) [R]; David Macaulay, Black and White (1990) [R]; Chris Van Allsburg, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (1984) [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: Peter Newell, Topsys & Turvys (1902), The Slant Book (1910), The Rocket Book (1912); David Wiesner, Tuesday (1992), Sector 7 (1999), The Three Pigs (2001); Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express (1986), Just a Dream (1990); chapters on Wiesner and Van Allsburg from Marcus, A Caldecott Celebration; Istvan Banyai, Zoom (1995); Tim Wynne-Jones, The Zoom Trilogy [Zoom at Sea (1983), Zoom Away (1985), Zoom Upstream (1992)] with pictures by Eric Beddows [Ken Nutt] (1997); Allen Say, The Sign Painter (2000).

Tu 19

Spring Break

Th 21
Spring Break
Picture Books (2). When We Were Very, Very Young: Bank Street Group and Beyond

Tu 26

Russell, "Books of Early Childhood" (104-06) [CP]; Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon, illustrated by Clement Hurd (1947) [R]; Ruth Krauss, A Hole Is to Dig (1952), illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

Th 28

Crockett Johnson, Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955); Maurice Sendak, Where The Wild Things Are (1963), In the Night Kitchen (1970) [R].

F 29
Paper #1 DUE in my office (Denison 208) by 12 noon.
Recommended: Wanda Gág, The ABC Bunny (1933); Sendak, Alligators All Around (1962); Dr. Seuss, Dr. Seuss's ABC (1963), On Beyond Zebra! (1955); Crockett Johnson, Harold's ABC (1963); Stephen T. Johnson, Alphabet City (1995); Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich, Bembo's Zoo (2000); Rex Barron, Fed Up!: A Feast of Frazzled Foods (2000); Mike Lester, A Is for Salad (2000); Ruth Krauss, The Carrot Seed (1945), illus. by Johnson; Krauss, Open House for Butterflies (1960), illus. by Sendak; 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, illus. by Clement Hurd (1942); Peter McCarty, Little Bunny on the Move (1999); Peggy Rathmann, Good Night, Gorilla (1994), 10 Minutes 'Till Bedtime (1998); 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); Leonard S. Marcus, chapter on Sendak from A Caldecott Celebration (1998); Sandra Boynton, Hippos Go Berserk! (1977), Snoozers (1997); Rebecca Emberley, My Opposites / Mis Opuestos (2000); Ian Beck, Picture Book (1994); Mick Inkpen, Wibbly Pig Is Happy!(1995).
Novels (1): Easy Readers and Middle-Grade Readers


Tu 2

Arnold Lobel, Frog and Toad Together (1972); Patricia MacLachlan, Sarah Plain and Tall (1985).

Th 4
MacLachlan, Sarah Plain and Tall; Laura Ingalls Wilder, excerpt from Little House on the Prairie (1935) [CP]; Segal, "Realism and Children's Literature: Notes from a Historical Perspective" (46-47) [CP]; Andrew Clements, Frindle (1996).
Recommended: A. A. Milne and E. H. Shepard (illustrations), Winnie-the-Pooh (1926), The House at Pooh Corner (1928); Arnold Lobel, Frog and Toad Are Friends (1970), Frog and Toad All Year (1976), Days With Frog and Toad (1979); Cynthia Rylant and Mark Teague (illustrations), the Poppleton series (1997-98); Jeff Brown and Tomi Ungerer (illustrations), Flat Stanley (1964); William Steig, Abel's Island (1976); Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy (1964); Jerry Spinelli, Maniac Magee (1990); Virginia Hamilton, M.C. Higgins, the Great (1974); Beverly Cleary's Ramona series (1968-84).
Novels (2): Realism, Historical Fiction, Animal Stories, Fantasy

Tu 9

L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (1908), through Chapter 18 (p. 177).

Th 11
Montogmery, Anne of Green Gables, to end.

Tu 16

Christopher Paul Curtis, The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963 (1995), through Chapter 8 (p. 120)

Th 18
Curtis, The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963, to end.

Tu 23

Tor Seidler, A Rat's Tale (1986), to p. 105.

Th 25

Seidler, A Rat's Tale, to end.

F 26
Paper #2 DUE in my office (Denison 208) by 12 noon.

Tu 30

J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets(1998), through Chapter 7 (p. 121); Russell, "Children's Books and the Censor" [CP].

Th 2
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, through Chapter 13 (p. 248).

Tu 7

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, to end.

Th 9
Conclusion and Review
Recommended: Barrie, Doody, and Jones, The Annotated Anne of Green Gables (1997); L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea (1912), Anne of the Island (1915); Christopher Paul Curtis, Bud, Not Buddy (1999); Tor Seidler, The Wainscott Weasel (1993); Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach (1961), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964), Matilda (1988); A.O. Scott and Polly Shulman, "Is Harry Potter the New Star Wars?" (epistolary discussion at Slate.com, Aug. 1999); J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series (1997-2004); Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, 1995; The Subtle Knife, 1997; The Amber Spyglass, 2000); Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea trilogy (1968-72); David Almond, Skellig (1998), Kit's Wilderness (1999).

F 17

Final Exam, 9:40-11:30 a.m.
You must take the final exam on the day and at the time scheduled.
Recommended Resources

In the Library

Anita Silvey, Children's Books and Their Creators (1995); Humphrey Carpenter and Mari Prichard (editors), The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature (1984); Babara Bader, American Picturebooks from Noah's Ark to the Beast Within (1976); Leonard S. Marcus, A Caldecott Celebration (1998), Author Talk (2000), and others; the Something About the Author series (1971-); the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vols. 22, 42, 52, 61, 141, 160, 161, 163, and any other of the volumes devoted to Children's Literature (1983-); the Children's Literature Review series (1976-); the Junior Book of Authors series (1934-89); Barbara Rollock (editor), Black Authors and Illustrators of Children's Books: A Biographical Dictionary (1992); Althea K. Helbig and Agnes Regan Perkins, This Land Is Our Land: A Guide to Multicultural Literature for Children and Young Adults (1994).

On the Web

Children's Literature | Literary Links | Visual Arts | History | Search Engines | Thomas Middle School Library Media Center's Teacher sites | englishcompanion.com | Kansas Association of Teachers of English (KATE)

Kansas Dept. of Education

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


Required Texts | Objectives | Grading | Requirements | Bulletin Board | Schedule of Assignments | Recommended Resources
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