Children’s Literature “A little nonsense now and then is relished By the wise man.” --Willy Wonka
Why Children’s Books? • A bedtime story to help a child wind down • Key for brain development • Helps a child learn abstract thought • Helps children imagine objects and create images • Connects adult and child to magical places “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” --Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
What is Children’s Literature? • A book created for children right? • Huckleberry Finn • Grimm Fairy Tales • Gulliver’s Travels • Watership Down • These books, all initially written for children, eventually gravitated to the adult world • All of these stories are adult books that are read by children (or at least young adults)
What Makes a (kids) Book Readable? • Usually offers a fantastic reality…an imaginative escape…a playful playground • Usually about a child (or an animal) • Usually a simple conflict • With a definite and clear resolution • Compelling illustrations • Yet still filled with all the elements of story
Characteristics Focuses on action Optimistic Fantasy Pastoral Idyll Viewpoint of innocence Didactic
Elements of Children’s Stories • Theme • Characters • Setting • Plot • Dialogue • Word Choice • Simile • Repetition • Metaphor • Alliteration • Imagery (and images)
Plot Simple Plot Build through Conflict Offer a dilemma (moral and ethical?) Provide closure
Conflict Balance between idyllic and didactic Teaching how to be a mature adult in the world Retain childhood and innocence Examples/ Home Vs. Away Communal concern vs. self- concern Good vs. Evil
It is through literature that we most intimately enter the hearts and minds and spirits of other people. And what we value in this is the difference as well as the human similarities of others: that way, as C. S. Lewis put it, we become a thousand different people and yet remain ourselves. A. Chambers
Character Protagonist Little child Animal Inanimate objects
Traits of Protagonists Personal courage Caring for others Perseverance Resourcefulness A Belief in Others Optimism
Word Choice • Lemony Snicket • Alligator Under my Bed • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Lively Language Simple Sophisticated Lively Colorful Creative Alliteration Rhyme Challenging Word Simile Onomatopoeia Repetition
Word Choice Activity The big bear stood by the water. He looked at his shadow in the big lake. He thought that he looked nice. He went to take a drink of water. A fish went by. The bear wanted to eat the big fish. He ate up the fish and went away. Revise the story by replacing precise, colorful words with the red and underlined words. Share your new more interesting story.
Theme Acceptance, devotion, loyalty, and loss -- and a spider and a pig! Engaging the Enemy Nazi occupation and the escape to freedom!
Common Themes Snugness Smallness Scariness Lightness Aliveness According to Feeling Like a Kid by Jerry Griswold
Where Ideas Begin • Many people will try to write like Dr. Seuss;They try and they try, it just isn't much use • Trust yourself…your siblings…your cousins…the books you read as a child… • What Do Kids Like?