Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Where the Wild Things Play Quidditch: Writing for Children

ENGL 121.900
MW 5:30-7:25

From Grimm tales to dystopian Tributes, from hatted cats to Sorting Hats, children's literature endures and evolves and entices. Long after our own childhoods have passed, we continue to read these stories—to younger and smaller people, and to ourselves. In this course, we will explore what draws us to and into books for children and teenagers, why we love them at six or sixteen. Or sixty. What makes these stories compelling? What makes them important? Often the answer is the same: children’s books put a spotlight on human experience, from the simple and idyllic to the profound and traumatic, offering reassurance. Knowledge. Hope. They can be mirrors that reflect us—or act as portals into different worlds. Where else, in what other literary form, do we reach both inward and outward with the same satisfaction and effect? Where else can we find magic and mystery, folklore and science, love and tragedy—education and entertainment and escape—all in the same familiar and comforting corner? Students will read across era and sub-genre, from picture books to teen novels. They will develop their own projects: honing their voice, creating believable story, characters, and language. This course is based around lots of reading and writing, lively discussion, and livelier critique. If all little writers are eager and industrious, there will be a treat or two. If not, there might be wolves.

fulfills requirements