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Children’s Literature “A little nonsense now and then is relished By the wise man.” Willy Wonka Why Children’s Books? • A bedtime story to help a child wind down • Key for brain development • Helps a child learn abstract thought • Helps children imagine objects and create images • Connects adult and child to magical places “There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world Love of books is the best of all.” Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis What is Children’s Literature? What Makes a (kids) Book Readable? • Usually offers a fantastic reality…an imaginative escape…a playful playground • Usually about a child (or an animal) • Usually a simple conflict • With a definite and clear resolution • Compelling illustrations • Yet still filled with all the elements of story Characteristics • Focuses on action • Optimistic • Fantasy • Pastoral Idyll • Viewpoint of innocence • Didactic Elements of Children’s Stories • Theme • Characters • Setting • Plot • Dialogue • Word Choice • • • • Simile Repetition Metaphor Alliteration • Imagery (and images) Plot • Simple Plot • Build through Conflict • Offer a dilemma (moral and ethical?) • Provide closure Conflict • Balance between idyllic and didactic • Teaching how to be a mature adult in the world • Retain childhood and innocence • Examples/ Home Vs Away • Communal concern vs self- concern • Good vs Evil It is through literature that we most intimately enter the hearts and minds and spirits of other people And what we value in this is the difference as well as the human similarities of others: that way, as C S Lewis put it, we become a thousand different people and yet remain ourselves A Chambers Character • Protagonist • Little child • Animal • Inanimate objects Characters Traits of Protagonists • Personal courage • Caring for others • Perseverance • Resourcefulness • A Belief in Others • Optimism Word Choice • Lemony Snicket • Alligator Under my Bed • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Lively Language • Simple • Alliteration • Sophisticated • Rhyme • Lively • Challenging Word • Colorful • Simile • Creative • Onomatopoeia • Repetition Word Choice Activity The big bear stood by the water He looked at his shadow in the big lake He thought that he looked nice He went to take a drink of water A fish went by The bear wanted to eat the big fish He ate up the fish and went away Revise the story by replacing precise, colorful words with the red and underlined words Share your new more interesting story Theme Acceptance, devotion, loyalty, and loss and a spider and a pig! Engaging the Enemy Nazi occupation and the escape to freedom! Common Themes • Snugness • Smallness • Scariness • Lightness • Aliveness • According to Feeling Like a Kid by Jerry Griswold Where Ideas Begin • Many people will try to write like Dr Seuss; They try and they try, it just isn't much use • Trust yourself…your siblings…your cousins… the books you read as a child… • What Do Kids Like?
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