Syllabus

Week 1:  Controversial Award-Winning books

Discussion: Discuss banned books and controversial awards.  Explore the definition of youth literature and children’s literature. Discuss specific challenged books and weigh the pros and cons of that challenge. Look at that book in terms of what it will bring to the library collection.

Awards:

  • Newbery Award books: Award to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American Literature for children

Readings:

  • “What is Children’s Literature?” in ICECL

Week 2:  Discuss the crossover between youth literature, young adult literature, and adult literature

Discussion: Discuss the crossover between youth literature, young adult literature, and adult literature.  What separates the genres?  Why is this important?

Awards:

  • Nestle Children’s Book Prize (no longer in place)
  • Alex Award: given to 10 books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12-18
  • Best Fiction for Young Adults: List of significant adult and young adult books
  • The Whitbread Award: “acknowledge outstanding books of literature not only for the qualities accorded to them by the critics of the day but for popular qualities which make them readable on a wide scale”. The Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year is open to books for children of seven and up, written by a British author. Before 1996, the award was known as the Children’s Novel category of the Whitbread Book of the Year.

Week 3:  Explore local resources and awards

Discussion: Visit the Iowa City Public Library and discuss award winning children’s materials with librarians.

Awards:

Readings:

  • Kolbert “Children’s Picture Books” The New Yorker

Week 4:  Children and the World

Discussion: How do children’s books represent the world to young people? How do these resources ask children to think about their place in this world and other people? What other resources might contribute to a strong collection in this regard? Should the collection look at life or living conditions of other cultures or people?

Awards:

  • Pura Belpre Medal: presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino culture experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.
  • Mildred L. Batchelder Award: awarded to an American publisher for a children’s book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States
  • Hans Christian Andersen Medals: International Board on Books for Young People

Readings:

  • Global Babies, Colman, Eco Babies Wear Green, We Are All Born Free, selections from Material World:  A Global Family Portrait, and A Little History of the World

Week 5:  Visit to Special Collections

Discussion: Why do youth materials wind up being preserved in a rare book environment? How can these resources support your learning about children’s reading?  Children and Academia: What kind of resources are offered through the University of Iowa? What university and community library resources are available to support one’s learning about children’s literature and librarianship? What reference tools are available to support one’s work with young library users?  Explore readings detailing literature within Children’s Literature and Children’s Library Studies.

Awards:

Readings:

Week 6:  Visit the Patients Library/Early Childhood

Discussion: Evaluating Infancy and Early Childhood Development Information and Materials and Parenting Resources: what do we know about infancy? How have ideas about very young children changed over time? How is this information acquired? How can this information support library services to youth? What information about child health and development should librarians provide to parents and caregivers? What do we look for in books for and about infants and young children? What needs are these books trying to meet?

Awards:

  • Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal: Given annually to the author and illustrator of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the U.S.

Readings:

  • Mission and Services statements
  • Bright Futures:  What to Expect/Infancy and Early Childhood
  • Darwin “A Biographical Sketch of an Infant”
  • Talbot “The Baby Lab” The New Yorker

Week 7: Evaluating literature, criticisms of book awards, book reviews, history of children’s literature

Discussion: Who’s deciding who gets the awards? Who sets the standards? Why are they better than other books? Who are they targeted to? What makes a good children’s book, video, other resource? What values and ideas inform review, selection and award criteria? How should we understand and use reviews? How should this information support library services to youth? Discuss popular fiction verses award winning literature.  How can we find books that are “the best” for children? Do we want to?

Awards:

  • The Irma S. and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature: Presented annually to a picture book selected by children (from a shortlist chosen by older children). Originally named in honor of Irma Simonton Black, a writer and editor of children’s books
  • Phoenix Award: Established 1985. Awarded annually to a book originally published in English twenty years previously which did not receive a major award at the time of its publication.

Readings:

Week 8:  Awards for Youth and Youth-generated materials

Discussion: Explore how libraries can empower youth to create material for other youth through programs and national awards.  Explore user generated content online.

Awards:

Readings:

  • “Children’s Book Design” by Martin in ICECL
  • John Warren Stewig “Pictorial Elements” in Looking at Picture Books
  • “A Good Picture Book Should …” by Lobel from Celebrating Children’s Books
  • Article in New York Times on Figment.com

Week 9:  Race and Diversity in Children’s Materials

Discussion:  What does the literature tell us about issues of diversity and related aspects of readership? What happens as narratives are retold by different authors? How should libraries demonstrate sensitivity to concerns about race, ethnicity, and other reader group needs or preferences?  Discuss Reading Interests and Reading Readiness.

Awards:

Readings:

Week 10:  Series Fiction and  Young Adult Literature

Discussion:  Series for Middle and early Adolescent Readers: What differentiates a series from any individual title for young readers? What are the characteristics of your selected series? How do those features work to appeal to a young reader? Who is the young reader that is envisioned by this series? For whom would this series be appropriate?  Early adolescents: How does early adolescence differ from earlier developmental phases? Why is it significant? What happens to young people’s social and reading interests at this time? What differentiates an adolescent reader from an earlier one? Youth development and well being? Explore reading and literacy.

Awards:

Readings:

  • Bright Futures:  What to Expect/Adolescence,
  • “Top Shelf Fiction” VOYA 2009
  • Chelton, M. K., “Young Adults as Problems: How The Social Construction of a Marginalized User Category Occurs,” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science 42. 1 (Winter 2001) p. 4-11
  • Chelton, “YAs Don’t Need ‘Best Book,’” School Library Journal, Dec. 1, 1996, 42.12, p. 52
  • Burek Pierce, “Introduction,” Sex, Brains & Video Games:  A Librarian’s Guide to Teens in the 21st Century

Week 11:  Other Materials

Discussion: Non-book Media: How will you make informed decisions about including multi-media resources in the library? What is needed to implement these choices and advocate their importance? What decisions might you have to make about policies? Be prepared to share your observations about the resource itself, its features, its appropriate audience, and its role in a library collection or child’s life.

Awards:

Readings:

  • Chelton, “Perspectives on Practice: Young Adult Collections Are More Than Just Young Adult Literature,” Young Adult Library Services 4.2 (Winter 2006) p. 10-11
  • “Web Playgrounds of the Very Young” New York Times (12/31/07)
  • Tumblebooks via the ICPL children’s site
  • Rappaport, Martin’s Big Words
  • Gaming Can Make a Better World

Week 12:  Gendered Reading and Non-Fiction

Discussion: Gender in the Library: Discuss the fact that there are no notable awards for media geared towards boys. How is gender taught in the library?  How does non-fiction factor into gendered reading?

Awards:

Week 13:  Readers with Disabilities

Awards:

  • Schnieder Family Book Award: honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.

Readings:

Week 14:  Literacy Standards

Discussion:  Are there literacy standards? What kinds of programming do libraries focus on for young readers? What are the traditions and directions of library services to young people? What are appropriate programming goals? What issues should a librarian or presenter consider in preparing programming for youth?

Awards:

  • Wilder Award: honoring an author or illustrator, published in the United States, whose books have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children

Readings:

  • “Librarianship” by Lonsdale and Ray in ICECL
  • ALSC Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth in Public Libraries Revised ed., via ALSC/ALA site
  • A Learner-Centered Curriculum Based on Award-Winning Literature by Dan T. Ouzts, Mark K. Taylor, Lisa A. Taylor; Education, Vol. 124, 2003

Week 15:  Illustrated Works/Other Awards

Discussion: Art and Illustration in Children’s Books: What makes up an illustration? How do illustrations and text work together to tell a story? How do art and illustration factor into appeal? How do art and illustration factor into a book’s use in different reading situations?  Collection development: How to go about choosing books for your collection, looking at settings, situations and reading contexts.

Awards:

  • Caldecott Award: award to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children

Other Awards: