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is good quality trade books for children from birth to adolescence, covering topics of relevance and interests to children of those ages, through prose and poetry, fiction and nonfiction. (p. 3) A trade book, by design and content, is primarily for the purpose of entertainment and information. Trade books are often referred to as library books and story books.
Lynch-Brown, C. & Tomlinson, C. (2005). Essentials of Childrens Literature, 5th edition.


best childrens books offer readers enjoyment as well as memorable characters and situations and valuable insights into the human condition. (p. 4)

Quality of writing: originality and importance of ideas imaginative use of language beauty of literary and artistic style

Why do we need to study literature?

is filled with ideas that need to be explored. helps us to see our world in new ways. It brings us to a deeper understanding of life.

presents a vocabulary with which we can discuss literature and offers some suggestions for appreciating and judging literature.

Values of Literature to Children

A) The Personal Value enjoyment Imagination and inspiration vicarious experience understanding and empathy cultural heritage moral reasoning literary and artistic preferences

B) The Academic Value improving reading skills developing writing voice and style learning content-area knowledge promoting art appreciation

Children's Literature and Child Development

Ages 0-2 sensorimotor period - nursery rhymes for reading aloud - brief, plotless, concept books with brightly colored pictures - interactive books (e.g. touching and opening little doors) - often in the form of heavy, nontoxic cardboard or cloth books - simple-plot picture storybooks and folktales for reading aloud - nursery rhymes for them to memorize - concept books including numbers, letters, and more complex concepts like opposites (e.g. counting books, word books, and illustrated dictionaries)

Ages 2-4 pre-conceptual stage

Ages 4-7
Beginning readers intuitive stage

Ages 7-9
Transitional readers period of concrete operations (7-11 years)

- easy-to-read picture storybooks, folktales, and rhymes for reading aloud, storytelling, and playreading - informational books for beginning readers that help children find out about the world and how it works - they begin to understand the notion of stories, letter-sound relationship, left-to-right and top-tobottom progression of print on the page, and a slight vocabulary - longer picture books and short chapter books with simple, straightforward plots and writing styles - their interest in folktales begin to fall off by age 8; they show more interest in realistic stories and adventures of young characters

Ages 9-12 - sophisticated picture storybooks and novels Competent readers (chapter books) with more complicated plots,

including realistic fiction (survival stories, peer stories, animal stories, mysteries, and romances), historical fiction, and science fiction - series books containing similar topics, recurring characters, and formulaic patterns of plots

Teaching Literature to Children

Readers are made, not born (Chambers, 1983, p. 30). Literature is more experienced than taught (Glazer, 1986, p. 51).

Literature must be discussed. It is only by discussing with others who have experienced a book that new meaning can be effectively constructed (Bicknell, p. 45). Children need teachers to demonstrate how to enter into and explore the world of literature, just as children learning language need adults who show them how the language functions in the everyday world (Peterson & Eeds, 1990, p. 12).

Ways of Teaching Literature to Children

Allow children to feel free to read against a text. Encourage children to see their reading of
literature as a source of questions to think about rather than answers to accept. Encourage children to have their own ideas about what they read. Encourage children to exchange their viewpoints with others and respect the differences. Provide children with diverse experiences of literature. Help children to read with an awareness of ideological implications, that is, of the ways in which texts represent or misrepresent reality and work to manipulate readers.

The Elements of Literature

There are eight elements

Characters Setting Narrative Point of View Plot Conflict Theme

Style Tone

Types of Characters: Protagonist (hero): the central figure with whom we usually sympathize or identify Antagonist (villain): the figure who opposes the protagonist and creates the conflict Foil Character: the figure whose personality traits are the opposite of the main characters. This is a supporting character and usually made to shine the protagonist.

refers to the time geographical locations general environment and circumstances that prevail in a narrative

helps to establish the mood of a story.

There are two types of setting i. Integral Setting fully described in both time and place usually found in historical fiction.
ii Backdrop Setting vague and general helps to convey a universal, timeless tale often found in folktales and simply sets the stage and the mood For example, "long ago in a cottage in the deep woods" and "once upon a time there was a great land that had an Emperor."

Narrative Point of View

There are three types

Internal Narrator (First-person Narrator) uses "I" to refer to himself/herself a character is always in the story, often, but not necessarily, the protagonist. allows for a very personal touch in the story telling.

ii Omniscient Narrator (multiple points of view; the narrator is "all-knowing") is not a character in the story but knows everything about the story can show the thoughts and experiences of any character in the story permits the writer the broadest scope.

iii Limited Narrator (External Subjective Narrator; the 3rd person point of view) not a character in the story but looks at things only through the eyes of a single character permits the narrator to quickly build a close bond between the protagonist and the reader, without being confined by the protagonists educational or language restrictions.

is a series of interconnected events in which every occurrence has a specific purpose is all about establishing connections, suggesting causes, and showing relationships

Common types of conflicts: i. The Protagonist against Another ii. The Protagonist against Society iii. The Protagonist against Nature iv. The Protagonist against Self A single story may contain more than one type of conflict provides the excitement and makes possible the growth and development

is the main, underlying idea of a piece of literature is woven subtly into the fabric of the story rather than being lectured or preached by the author. Among the frequently found thematic issues in childrens literature are the problems of growing up and maturing e.g adjustment to society, love and friendship, achieving ones identity, and finding one's place in the world.


Word Choice Length and Construction ~ Short sentences best convey suspense, tension, and swift action. ~ Longer sentences work best when explanations and descriptions are needed.

ii. Sentence

~ Prose has rhythm just as poetry does. - rhythm can be produced by the juxtaposition of sounds, - the use of repetition with a slight variation of patterns, and the varied length of sentences.

Exposition ~ the narrators passages provides - background information - introduce characters to help readers understand the events of a story.

~ Children prefer a balance between exposition and dialogue.


Dialogue ~ words spoken by the characters, usually to each other, not to the reader.
~ enjoy dialogue as a realistic and convincing way of defining character.

refers to the authors mood and manner of expression in a work of literature. can be serious, didactic, humourous, satirical, caustic/sarcastic, passionate, sensitive, sentimental, zealous, indifferent, poignant, warm, agitated, etc.

Humour: Incongruity is the foundation of humour. ~ laugh at the tension resulting from something out of the ordinary. is elusive.
tends to be age specific. can be either sympathetic or negative.

Ten Types of humour most common in childrens books (Kappas, 1967): Exaggeration Incongruity Surprise Slapstick Absurdity Situational humor Ridicule/satire Defiance Violence Verbal Humour: word play, namecalling, jokes and puns, malapropisms (the unintentional misuse of language), or the misinterpretation of language.