Children's Literature and Critical Theory: Reading and Writing for Understanding
by Jill P May
Rarely has children's literature attracted as much attention and debate as it does now. With teachers, legislators, academics, and parents all ... Show synopsis Rarely has children's literature attracted as much attention and debate as it does now. With teachers, legislators, academics, and parents all clamoring for an educational renaissance, literacy is in the spotlight. But what about literary criticism? A venerated component of the traditional literature curriculum, critical theory has been all but ignored in the study of children's books. Jill May's unique and vital text sets out to remedy this oversight. Based on years of thorough research and classroom experience, Children's Literature and Critical Theory argues that critical theory is an essential part of any elementary literature program. The author begins by exploring the writings of scholars who have laid the groundwork in critical theory for all literature, introducing methods of analysis which are typically used in scholarly discussions about children's books. May continually relates how her students in children's literature classes and teachers in the field have become critics in their own right; how young people who wish to be teachers can become involved in analysis which leads to making decisions about classroom practices; how instructors can change their perspectives by learning new ways of teaching; and how readers can learn to appreciate divergent writing styles and to argue with the experts. Children's Literature and Critical Theory discusses numerous fundamental issues, from canon formation to response theory, suggesting their roles in shaping all readers' responses to children's stories. Complete with a comprehensive glossary of literary terms for new readers of criticism and an extensive bibliography for further reading, this remarkable text is essential reading for students and scholars working in children's literature, education, library science, and child development.