Eastern Michigan University
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Children's Literature Courses

General Education Courses

CHL 137 Harry Potter: Literary Allusion, Popular Culture, and Children's Literature (3 hrs)
Students in this course will read novels in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series; myths, legends, and folktales on which they are based; and criticism written about the novels. They will focus on literary terminology, literary allusion, literary merit, and the public debates about the role of the humanities in contemporary culture. This course meets the requirement for Area IV: Knowledge of the Disciplines: Humanities in the General Education Program.

*CHL 207 Introduction to Children's Literature (3 hrs)
*Required course for Elementary Education Majors.
A concentrated reading course designed to impart the knowledge necessary for an appreciation and understanding of children's literature and its use in the schools. In addition to reading the classics and the critically acclaimed works of both fiction and nonfiction by modern writers, students will study poetry, folklore, and mythology and examine the relationship between illustration and text. This course meets requirement for Area IV: Knowledge of the Disciplines: Humanities in the General Education Program.

**CHL 208 Multicultural Children's Literature (3 hrs)
*Recommended course for Elementary Education Majors.
This course is directed toward students in the Elementary Education Curriculum and explores in depth literature for children and young adults by and about African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American groups and will provide opportunities for investigating the literatures of other ethnic and religious groups. We will discuss major issues of multiculturalism, the history of multicultural children's books, stereotyping, authenticity of perspective, criteria for selecting and evaluating these books, etc. This course meets the requirement for Area III: Perspectives on a Diverse World: U.S. Diversity in the General Education Program.

CHL 209 Global Children's Literature (3 hrs)
Good literature has an impressive power to pull readers into a story, to allow them to accept the fiction of the narrative as temporary reality, and to cause them to identify with the protagonist and see things through the eyes of someone perhaps very different from themselves. This power makes literature an important lens through which to explore other countries. Literature for young readers is an especially profitable genre in which to explore the global community, since adults produce books for young readers to inculcate their community’s beliefs, values, and attitudes in the next generation and to bring the youth into line with the dominant culture. The course begins with students’ exploration of how their own values, beliefs, and attitudes influence the way they look at the world. We will then examine some of the major issues affecting people in other countries—such as human rights, war, genocide, social structure, intolerance, poverty, education, and religion—which have led to a diversity of views different from ours. We will study the global history of children’s books, stereotyping, authenticity of perspective, and criteria for selecting and evaluating books from other countries for young readers. Readings may include novels; folktales, myths, and hero tales; and/or picture books. This course meets the requirement for Area III: Perspectives on a Diverse World: Global Awareness in the General Education Program.

Upper-Level Undergraduate Courses

CHL 351 World Mythology (3 hrs)
A study of the mythological traditions that have most significantly informed western civilization. The myths are discussed as literature and as people's attempts to understand themselves, their society and their physical environment.

CHL 352 Folk Literature: Ballads and Folk Tales (3 hrs)
A reading course in the traditional ballads and folk tales of Europe and North America with emphasis on those that appear in children's literature. Applies toward minor in children's literature only, but may be taken as a free elective.

CHL 353 Genders and Sexualities in Literature for Younger Readers (3 hrs) 

Students in this course will read, discuss, research and write about works of literature written for children and young adults and focused on issues of sexuality and gender.

CHL 450-W Children's Literature: Criticism and Response (3 hrs)
Practical criticism of children's literature, prose and poetry, designed to help students develop critical judgment and a clear prose style. Applies toward the minor in children's literature and the interdisciplinary major in children's literature and drama/theatre for the young. Meets Writing Intensive Requirement for Majors.

  • Prerequisite: CHL 207

CHL 451-W Writing about Controversy in Literature for the Young (3 hrs)
This course will deal with strategies for the collection, organization and presentation of materials dealing with controversial issues in literature for young adults. Meets Writing Intensive Requirement for Majors.

  • Prerequisite: CHL 207, or department permission

CHL 453: Illustrated Texts: Picture Books, Comics and Graphic Novels (3 hrs)
Course examines different kinds of illustrated texts written for audiences of young readers, including picture books, comics, graphic novels and illustrated novels. Students will learn about the history of and development of these genres and will learn terms and concepts to enable them to analyze the complex interactions between words and images.

*CHL 455 Adolescent Literature (3 hrs)
*Required course for Language, Lit, and Writing Majors and for Language Arts Majors and Minors
The course will expose students to quality adolescent literature available for reading and study in middle and high school classes. It will examine issues relevant to the reading and teaching of adolescent literature, among them current debates about the appropriateness of adolescent literature in a rigorous secondary curriculum; issues related to censorship of adolescent literature and ways to address it before and during a crisis; various approaches to reading adolescent literature, including reader response criticism, close reading strategies, and contemporary critical theories; the imagined reader(s) of young adult texts, and, by extension, the recent history of the cultural construction of the “teenager”; the application of cultural theories to analyses of adolescent literature as not only literary texts but also as cultural artifacts and mass-produced products; issues of multiculturalism, globalism, and diverse audiences and subject matter; the relation of adolescent literature to "classic" adult literature; the role of adolescent literature in interdisciplinary studies; and adolescent literature as an incentive to extracurricular reading.

  • Prerequisite: CHL 207 OR ENGL 300

CHL456: Jewish Children's and Adolescent Literature (3 hrs)

Students in this course will read and write about a broad range of literary texts for children and adolescent readers written in or translated into English and chronicling the Jewish experience around the world. 

Restricted Elective course for majors and minors in Children's Literature, Jewish Studies minors and Language Arts majors.

CHL 497/498/499 Independent Study (1/2/3 hrs)
Study of topics not offered in the regular curriculum, the particular topic to be defined (and credit hours set) by the teacher and student, subject to approval by the curriculum committee. Restricted to students taking majors or minors in the English Language and Literature Department.

  • Prerequisite: Nine hours in the appropriate major or minor.
Courses for the Master of Arts in Children's Literature

CHL 516 Introduction to Graduate Studies in Children's Literature (3 hrs)
An intensive study of the major genres of children's literature, with emphasis on important representative examples and related criticism.

CHL 517 Children's Literature for Teachers (3 hrs)
A course concentrating on the value of literature for children, with discussion and demonstration of various techniques used in teaching it. Additional readings in selected genres will be required. Offered for anyone planning to work with children, preschool through grade nine.

CHL 518 History of Children's Literature (3 hrs)
This course surveys the major children's authors, genres, and literary movements that constitute the history of children’s literature. The course also considers the history of childhood and other subjects related to children's social and intellectual development.

CHL 581 Critical Approaches to Mythology (3 hrs)
An investigation of myths from many cultures, demonstrating individual responses to universal questions of human existence. Students will respond critically to the various theories of myth through their reading and analysis of myths as literature.

CHL 582 Folktales, Legends and Ballads (3 hrs)
Reading and analysis of printed tales, legends and ballads using the tools of folklore scholarship. Students also collect and analyze oral materials.

CHL 583 Illustrated Texts (3 hrs)
This course examines different kinds of illustrated texts aimed at children and young readers. Primarily, we look at the picture book, its historical development, current illustrators, and theories of illustration. We also examine associated genres such as the comic book and graphic novel and consider theoretical issues concerning illustration in general.

CHL 584 Literature for Adolescents (3 hrs)
An examination of literature for adolescents, emphasizing criteria for selection and evaluation, along with consideration of audience, genre and censorship. Students will be expected to read and respond critically to historical and contemporary literature written for adolescents.

CHL 585 Children's Literature: Criticism and Theory (3 hrs)
This course emphasizes reading and writing about children’s literature and literary criticism specific to the field of children’s literature. Students will gain fluency in current scholarly discussions in the discipline that will help them to enter into and take part in critical dialogues.

CHL 586 Multicultural Children's Literature (3 hrs)
Advanced study of the literature for children and young adults by and about underrepresented groups in America, including history of multicultural writing for the young; major issues and controversies of multiculturalism; historical and cultural background of each group; and critical apparatus for the selection, interpretation, and evaluation of such literature.

CHL587 Children's Media Studies (3 hrs)
This course examines the history and recent development of children’s media studies, paying particular attention to three major genres: film, television, and video games. We look at the technologies that support these media as well as the literary, theoretical, and philosophical debates by which they are informed.

CHL 588 Topics in Children's Literature (3 hrs)
“Topics In Children’s Literature” focuses on a specific theme, author, genre, period, or theoretical approach and allows in-depth coverage of material not possible in a survey course. Students in the MA in Children’s Literature may take CHL 588 up to two times as part of their core program of study.