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Writing for Children

ENGL 121.601
Wednesdays 5:30-8:30 pm

Maybe it was the tricky pigeon, or the boy wizard, or the girl on fire, but however it started, something big has happened with young people and books. While many other genres are lagging-- or disappearing altogether-- Kid Lit grows. Is it that more children are reading? Or that more adults are reading things ostensibly written for children? Are readers looking for the adventure or love or magic that seem so integral to children's books? What we do know beyond the shadow of a doubt is that these books are important. They are also a pleasure to read. And to write, even if the writing isn't easy. In this course, we will examine the genre for what makes it work. Students will read across time and sub-genre, from picture books to teen novels. They will develop their own projects: honing their voice, creating believable story, characters, and language, all directed at younger readers. We will discuss these pieces as a group in class. This course is based around lots of reading and writing, some lively debate, and livelier critique. If all little girls and boys are well behaved, there might even be a nice cinematic twist or two. If not, there will be wolves.

Selections from the reading list (some required, some suggested):
The Lorax. Dr. Seuss
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Mo Willems
This Is Not My Hat. Jon Klassen
Jumanji. Chris van Allsburg
Charlotte's Web. E.B. White
Flora and Ulysses. Kate DiCamillo
Ella Enchanted. Gail Carson Levine
Coraline. Neil Gaiman

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. Sherman Alexie
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. J.K. Rowling
Eleanor and Park. Rainbow Rowell