Literature and the Young Child

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSES2022104

Semester to which offered: (I/ III/ V) IV semester

Course Coordinator and Team: Sunita Singh

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives/Description: This course will focus on the social construction of childhood and situate childhood and children’s literature in the social, political and historical context. The readings will focus on creating a space for the aesthetic appreciation of children’s literature as well as for questioning of the modalities as represented in the children’s literature—with an analysis of the construction of gender, race, ethnicity, and social class. Further, the course will focus on an investigation of the themes and concepts that connect literature to the lives of young children, Literature written for the early childhood years by some well-known children's authors will be identified based on interest, age, reading level, and appropriateness of the material.

Course Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical and practical perspectives in children’s literature teaching and learning.
  2. Demonstrate a critical approach to reading and talking about and evaluating children’s literature.
  3. Analyze the genres of children’s literature including their characteristics.
  4. Critically analyse authors/publishers of note in India and internationally and become (more) familiar with a range of quality and culturally diverse literature selections.
  5. Develop strategiesfor teaching with diverse themes using children’s literature.


Brief description of units:

Unit 1. Childhood and Literature

This unit will attempt to study the social construction of childhood and situate childhood and children’s literature in the social, political and historical context. It will also explore the relationship between reading children’s literature and notion of childhood. Literature addressing issues of marginalization will also be examined.

  1. Socialisation of children and literature
  2. Conception of childhood and literatures for children
  3. History of literature for children


Unit ii: Theoretical Foundations of Children’s Literature

This unit will focus on child development theories as the focal point of examining the characteristics of child readers. Readers response to literature, vis-à-vis their experiences, thinking, and preferences influencing the meaning they create and the stances they take will be examined. It will help to develop an understanding of theoretical and practical perspectives in children’s literature teaching and learning. Further, along with situating children’s literature in its postcolonial contexts, it will also focus on the linguistic, sociological, psychological, and literary aspects of children’s literature.

  1. Children’s literature and the postcolonial context
  2. The case for theory; A cycle of literary study.
  3. The relationship between reader and text;
  4. Children and literary learning;
  5. Response and comprehension


Unit iii: Genres in Children’s Literature :This unit will explore a variety of genres for young children. These include poetry, picture books, fiction, non-fiction. Along with reading a variety of genres, this unit will also focus on the selecting good literature and a critical analysis of children’s literature.

  1. Selecting children’s literature
  2.  Examining diverse genres in children’s literature


Unit IV: Diversity in Children’s Literature

This unit will engage with questions of language, identity, representation. It will also reflect on literature (for young readers) as arising from the social, historical, and cultural contexts of the time and all the controversies and struggles of that time. Literary interrogations will challenge portrayals that are stereotypical.

  1. Language, identity, representation
  2. Shifting themes in children’s literature
  3. Pedagogy of peace and diversity



  • Chatterjee, R.B. & Gupta, N (2009).Introduction.Reading children: Essays on children’s literature. New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan. p 1-17
  • Kumar K (n.d.) Bachpankiavadharnaaurbaalsahitya. Sandarbh, 81, 51-72.
  • Kumar, K. (n.d.) shikshaaurbaalsahitya.Sandarbh, 80, 35-48.
  • Sensenig, V (2011). Reading first, libraries last: An historical perspective on the absence of libraries in reading education policy. The journal of education, 191(3), 9-18.
  • Rosenblatt, L (1994). The reader, the text, the poem: The transactional theory of the literary work.Southern Illinois University Press.
  • Fang, Z. (1996). Illustrations, Text, and the Child Reader: What are pictures in children's storybooks for? Reading Horizons, 37(2), 130-142.
  • Harris, V. J. (2008). Children's books: Selecting books that children will want to read. The Reading Teacher, 61(5), 426-430.
  • Tabbert, R. (2002). Approaches to the translation of children’s literature: A review of critical studies since 1960. Target, 14(2), 303-351.
  • Delpit, L. (2006) The silenced dialogue. Other people’s children: Cultural conflict in the classroom.New York: The New Press. p 21-48
  • Gopalkrishnan, A (2011). The essentials and foundations of multicultural children’s literature.Multicultural children’s literature: A critical issues approach. Los Angeles: Sage. pp. 21-48.
  • Fox, D. L & Short, K.G (2003). Stories matter: The complexity of cultural authenticity in children’s literature. p 3-45.


Picture books used in the classroom

HaathikiHichki, The Runaway Peppercorn, HansmukhRakshashas, Wings to Fly, The Sad Book, Handa’s Surprise, HansmukhRakshas (The Pleasant Rakshasa), Day of Ahmed’s Secret, Mother

Tentative Assessment schedule with details of weightage:



Date/period in which Assessment will take place



Attendance cum participation

Whole semester



Book talk




Book review

Third week of March



End semester project

As per SES calendar