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EDU 280 Children’s Literature & Genre
Children's Literature • both fiction and non-fiction books • written especially for children 0-12 years old. Genre • A category of literature defined by their shared characteristics. • Within each genre, there are many sub-genres.
Picture Books • Definition: A book in which the picture is as important as the text. • This is a genre based on a physical format, so it can contain titles from many of the other genres. • It includes picture books, illustrated storybooks, wordless storybooks, concept books, and informational books. • In picture books, both text and illustration are fused together, to provide more than either can do alone (the whole is greater than the sum of the parts).
Wordless picture books and nearly wordless picture books • communicate the plot of the story through illustrations. • These books are excellent for promoting language development and developing a concept of how stories work (with beginning, middle, and end).
Concept books • use pictures to explore or explain an idea/concept, object, or an activity. They do not tell a story. • These books introduce young children to single, focused concepts. • The books may be about size, color, or shapes that are best taught with illustrations, or they may be about more abstract concepts like time or emotions that are best described using words. • Concept books help young children see relationships between objects and become aware of similarities or differences
present the numerals, their shapes, and pictures of objects to show what the number represents. Examine counting books for clear number styles and logical sequencing. Books that count from 1 to 10 then jump to 20 or one hundred will confuse young readers. Counting Books
One book mentioned over and over again as wonderful example of a counting book is Anno's Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno. It includes the number zero which is rare, has numerous sets of objects to count on each page, and gives readers a chance to count to twelve rather than the customary ten.
Alphabet books • present the alphabet letter-by-letter in order to acquaint young children with the shapes, names, and sounds of the letters. • Although alphabet books will not help children learn the alphabet, they can help children learn to distinguish different styles of lettering. • The words, letters, and pictures should all match with the best alphabet books using clearly identified objects.
Informational Books • Informational books can also be called non-fiction books. • Informational books must be accurate, authentic, up-to-date, factual, clearly organized, and include illustrations when needed. • These books should avoid anthropomorphism, stereotypes and generalizations.
Informational Books • Sub-genres include • photo documentaries, • narrative texts, • how-to books, • question and answer books, • activity books, • field guides/identification books, • survey books, • concept books and • life-cycle books.
Biography • Biographies are a type of informational book. • They can be about scientists and inventors, political leaders, entertainers (in music, art, and literature), sports personalities, explorers and frontiersmen, humanitarians, people who overcome tremendous odds, villains, and ordinary people. • Biographies should be authentic to the historical period with the subject's rather than the author's views coming through the words.
Historical Fiction • The genre of Historical Fiction in the field of Children's Literature includes stories that are written to portray a time period or convey information about a specific time period or an historical event. Usually the event or time period is about 30 years in the past. • Examples are Train to Somewhere written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Ronald Himler; Lyddie by Katherine Paterson; and Across the Wide Dark Sea written by Jean Van Leeuwen and illustrated by Thomas B. Allen.
Historical Fiction • In Historical Fiction, setting is the most important literary element. Because the author is writing about a particular time in history, the information about the time period must be accurate, authentic, or both. To create accurate and authentic settings in their books, authors must research the time period thoroughly. They must know how people lived, what they ate, what kinds of homes they had, and what artifacts were a common part of their lives.
Historical Fiction • Historical Fiction books, whether they are picture story books, transitional books, or novels, may have characters who are either imaginary or who actually lived during the time period. • Settings also may be real or imaginary. The plot events may be documented historical events or they may be fictional. • If they are fictional, it means that the author created the events for the telling of the story. The fictional characters, settings, and plot events must be portrayed authentically as if they actually could have happened.
Poetry Books • Definition: Poetry books can range from poetry that rhymes to free verse and concrete verse. It takes the sound of language and arranges it in beautiful forms. Each word is chosen carefully for its sound and its meaning. It appeals to both the thoughts and feelings of the reader. • Most small children love nursery rhymes, jingles, and songs, yet many adults have an aversion to poetry. In numerous studies, children have indicated that they like poetry that rhymes, tells a story, or is funny. They do not like to memorize, find hidden meanings, or recite poems. Guard against future generations losing interest in the lyrical language of poetry by reading poems aloud with them. Poetry is meant to be heard.
Contemporary Realistic Fiction • Definition: Titles dealing with the problems and joys of living today. There is often an element of character growth or self-realization in the book. • Titles can promote tolerance and understanding of others and their experiences. It "extends children's horizons by broadening their interests, allowing them to experience new adventures and showing them different ways to view and deal with conflicts in their own lives" (Through the eyes of a child (2003), p. 363)
Traditional Literature, Folk and Fairy Tales • This literature is born of oral tradition, and is passed orally from generation to generation. • It often has "retold by" or "adapted by" in front of the author, on the title page of the book. • It often starts with the phrase "Once upon a time..." and often has a happy ending.
Traditional Literature, Folk and Fairy Tales • The story often includes patterns of 3 (3 characters, 3 tasks, 3 events, etc.). • There are many versions of the same story. • Good always conquers evil. • Sub-genres of traditional literature include fairy tales, folk tales, Mother Goose rhymes, legends, myths, proverbs, epics, and fables.