Fall 2021 - ENGL 387 D100

Studies in Children's Literature (4)

Class Number: 4262

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2021: Wed, Fri, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 11, 2021
    Sat, 12:00–12:00 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Nicky Didicher
    1 778 782-4337
    Office: AQ 6143
    Office Hours: Mon 12-2, Wed 11-12, and by appointment; either in person, by telephone/Skype, or in BbCU
  • Prerequisites:

    30 units or two 200 division English courses.



The study of selected works of children's literature from different periods and places. The works will be considered in relation to literary theory, and may be organized by different critical issues or approaches. Students with credit for ENGL 367 may not take this course for further credit.


Privilege and Power: The Art of (Nearly) Dying
This course gives students a survey of the literature which adults have written for children in English. We will sample a variety of genres for different target audiences, using the following focuses: the ideology of childhood (“What is a child?”), the power dynamics in relationships between children and adults (“What are children capable of? How much protection do they need?”), race ("What does it mean to be a child with racial privilege/oppression?"), and adventure/danger (“How do different cultures prepare children for death?”). We will begin with some selections from pre-twentieth-century literature available in Canvas or online, then read a range of texts in English from the past hundred+ years.

As part of our thinking about children’s literature, each student will take part in a project to determine how to spend an allocated $500 of SFU library’s acquisitions budget for the Curriculum Collection. I am hoping that we can visit SFU Library’s Curriculum Collection in person, but the librarian with whom I am working and I will have a back-up plan for if we have to do the project remotely. 


1/ to introduce students to a range of genres and issues in the field,
2/ to develop some ideas about the ideological underpinnings and purposes of children’s literature, and
3/ to give students the opportunity to adapt course work to their own needs and learning styles.


  • Possible Evaluation Agreement Elements 100%


Students in this class will individually select what kinds of work they wish to do, when they will hand it in, and how much each element will be worth (within certain restrictions and guidelines). Students will choose three to five items from among the components listed below. Each student must include at least one essay and the exam. There will be a detailed explanation of the evaluation system available in Canvas.


Evaluation Agreement Components:

  • final exam (format determined by student vote), worth from 20-40% of final grade
  • research essay (c. 2500-3000 words), 25-45%
  • non-research essay (c. 2000-2500 words), 20-40%
  • creative project (creative writing/other medium + explanatory essay c. 1000 words), 15-30%
  • library display project (design a theme-focused display for a children’s library + explanatory essay c. 1000 words), 15-30%
  • annotated bibliography on a children's author (7-10 sources, under 1000 words), 15-30%
  • podcast, with a partner or group of three (20 minutes), 15-30% 
  • personal reflection on the library acquisitions project (under 1000 words), 5-15%
  • storytelling and discussion/analysis (10 minutes), 5-15%
  • lesson plans for a course text, 10-20%
  • participation, 10-20%



Note: the SFU bookstore is not (as of June 1) planning to order print texts for Fall term, and none of my course texts is available on VitalSource. Students will therefore be self-sourcing books: this could mean borrowing a book/e-text from a library or another source; you can get most of the course texts on Kobo or Kindle (please don't rely on an audiobook, unless you need to for accessibility); you could also purchase a print copy from a local bookstore, a used bookstore (including online services such as ABEbooks.com), directly from a publisher such as Annick Press; etc.

I'm not worried about people having different editions--except where noted below about graphic novel adaptations--or pagination. I put in one ISBN for each title below you need to self-source, but you are not limited to those editions. 
Additional short readings will be available in Canvas.


We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea, Arthur Ransome; available Kindle/other e-book formats, print copies new or secondhand; if you use a free e-text from Archive.org, use the Johnathan Cape edition
ISBN: 978-0099589396

Coraline, Neil Gaiman; available Kindle/other e-book formats, print copies new or secondhand; get the novel version, not the graphic novel
ISBN: 978-0380807345

Long Way Down, Jason Reynolds; available Kindle/other e-book formats, print copies new or secondhand; get the verse novel version, not the graphic novel
ISBN: 978-1481438261

Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang, Mordecai Richler; available Kindle/other e-book formats, print copies new or secondhand; there are a variety of versions with different illustrators, all fine to use
ISBN: 978-0887769252

Fatty Legs: A True Story, Margaret Pokiak-Fenton and Christy Jordan-Fenton;  available Kindle/other e-book formats, print copies new or secondhand; 10th Anniversary Edition preferred
ISBN: 978-1773213507

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.