PP0625 - Perspectives on Children's Literature

What will I learn on this module?

This module will involve you in thinking about a range of modern children's authors and their work. You will develop an awareness of the ways in which children's literature can address challenging issues and themes, such as violence, sexuality, bullying, social justice, intolerance, gender and class. You will focus particularly on the ways in which childhood and/or youth are represented in children’s literature.
The module will help you to think critically about the ways in which children and literacy can be viewed, and you will engage with recent research on this topic, in relation to child agency. The module focuses especially on emergent research about the value of recreational reading and reading for pleasure.

How will I learn on this module?

You will be able to learn in a wide variety of ways on this module. You will be offered a series of structured lectures and seminars, which will introduce you to key theoretical concepts. Self-directed reading and learning activities will form an important aspect of study on this module. You will be expected to read and discuss a range of children's books. You will also be directed to read relevant research in the area and, in seminars, to relate theories and concepts to the children's books being studied. A range of electronic resources will be available on the Electonic Learing Portal (eLP), including, for instance, YouTube clips about children's books and reading practices. Discussing your ideas with peers and tutors are a central feature on this module, especially as the module focuses on key controversies and debates about the place of childhood in society and children's roles and responsibilities within it.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Tutors will support your learning through a variety of ways on this module. They will provide a programme of lectures which relate to the learning outcomes for the module; these lectures will make connections between theory and practice, as we expect you to do. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to work in small groups where you will have the opportunity to discuss lecture content and your insights gained from directed tasks. Contact details for all tutors for this module are available in the module handbook and via the eLP.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

1. You will understand key features of contemporary fictions for young readers and some of the challenges they offer those readers

2. You will be able to identify, appraise and discuss the fictional portrayal of childhood and youth in relation to contemporary debates, issues they raise, including social justice and agency

3. You will be able to critically evaluate the potential value of selected fictions for children and young people

4. You will debate the criteria by which children's fiction may be seen, recognising the need to challenge your own thinking and the thinking of others.

5. You will understand the ways in which children's literature, and literacy practices, are seen in recent research and professional practice

How will I be assessed?

Summative assessment for this module is an analytic review of 4,000 words.

You will be be expected to choose an issue or theme that has interested you whilst studying the module, analysing its representation in a maximum of three children's books. (MLOs 1,2, 3, 4 & 5)

Additional formative assessment
You will be expected to present your initial ideas on your chosen theme or issue as a means of gaining peer and tutor feedback. This will enable you to identify any areas for further development before you hand in your summative assignment.

You will receive feedback on the summative assessment via:

Written comments on assessed work, highlighting strengths and weaknesses and indicating pathways to the further development of knowledge and skills. Areas of concern will be linked to positive advice on how to address issues.





Module abstract

In this module we will explore a number of post-war fictions produced for young readers, including picture books like Michael Rosen’s (1993) We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and novels like Jacqueline Wilson’s (1999) The Illustrated Mum. By studying a variety of children’s books you will become aware of the variety of content, theme and mode of address being made available for children in recent decades. We will particularly focus upon the ways in which the literature reflects social issues and dilemmas in contemporary children’s lives.

We will explore how a ‘special’ literature for children has evolved, and focus especially upon how these stories vary from other audience-defined literatures insofar as adults typically create them for children, rather than children making them for themselves. This has a number of interesting implications upon the production and the critical reception of children’s books, which we will explore in detail during the course of the module.

Course info

UCAS Code W3P9

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time

Department Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

Location Coach Lane Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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