“Children’s Lit” class reading

This semester, I took “Children’s Literature” (English 127) at a local community college—I had my final on the sixth of this month—wherein we had a textbook (and a half) and multiple books that were required reading. Here, I’m going to name each book (beginning with the text) and give some brief thoughts, if I have any. I won’t be summarizing any of the books’ plots or we’d be here all day.

The Textbook (and a half)
I say “textbook and a half” because we actually only had one textbook, but the professor made pages and pages of photocopies from another text (probably more than was legally allowed, even considering educational and fair use).

Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood, by Maria Tatar
Of the two, this was the book we read all the way through, and it was clear that the teacher’s preference (and mine) was for this book over the other, of which we only read excerpts.

Children’s Literature: A Developmental Perspective, by Barbara E. Travers and John F. Travers

The Required Reading
The BFG, by Roald Dahl

The Giver, by Lois Lowry

The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
Many people apparently like this book, or did in high school when they first read it. But, I didn’t read it in high school (and I don’t think it was required reading at my high school in any class, because I don’t know any high school friend who read it, either), and I didn’t really like reading it for this class. Meh. To each their own.

The Opportunity
In May, we were given the opportunity to meet with one of the producers of the upcoming movie based on Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games on the condition that we read the book so we’d be prepared to actually have a decent conversation with the producer, Allison Thomas. We also read excerpts of The Tale of Despereaux and watched excerpts of the (very different) movie of the same name. (I also watched it in its entirety before the meeting with the producer to get a better feel for the movie as compared to the book excerpts we read.)

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
It was okay. I’ll probably see the movie when it comes out. I haven’t read Catching Fire or Mockingjay, though I bought all three as a box set in anticipation of reading all of them. We’ll see if I get around to reading the other two. (My sister read them all and liked them. She also went with me for the discussion with the producer.)

The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo
Let me just say this: the book and the movie are completely different.

The Tale of Despereaux (2008)

Other Reading
Inevitably, I had to give presentations and write papers in this class. Would it really be a class without such things? Anyway, these are the books I chose to present to the professor in one form or another.

Meet Molly: An American Girl, by Valerie Tripp
I gave a presentation on this and the first thing the teacher told me about the images I had presented to the class was, “It seems… very white”… which is true, but… come on. Sigh. I guess I can be irritated by that because I’m represented in the images I showed (that is: I’m Caucasian), and it would probably be very different if I didn’t have all the privileges my skin color affords me.

Animorphs #6: The Capture, by K.A. Applegate
My favorite of the Animorphs series. I used to own the entire series up through #37 or #40 or something, but I sold a bunch of them on eBay a few years back in an effort to free up some shelf space. I kept #1-6 and a few random ones, like #23.

Beauty & the Beast, a fairytale
Haha, my thoughts on this could get their own post. Maybe someday.

Viannah E. Duncan

Viannah E. Duncan is a writer and activist hailing originally from Los Angeles. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has a cat, Cleo.

One thought on ““Children’s Lit” class reading

  • Saturday, 25 June 2011 at 15:16:55

    It’s sad to say but The Hunger Games is the best of the three. I got sick of them by the end.


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