LIT 4334: The Golden Age of Children's Literature

HI GUYS—I’m Emily!

on January 13, 2013 2:13pm

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I am a vegan and a lover of tea and acoustic music and a Netflix addict and a bleedingheart liberal. I am also a writer: I write a little fiction and a little poetry and it is my goal to keep expanding as a writer. I was born and raised in Orlando, FL. I wish I could say I grew up, like any respectable Orlando child, in theme parks, but any moment I didn’t spend in the gym—I was a competitive gymnast for 12 years—I spent with my nose in a book. I graduated high school with an IB diploma, started college at UCF, lost my motivation, spent a couple weeks misbehaving at friends’ colleges, bounced around a couple community colleges, found my motivation, and ended up an English major (and Education minor) in my 3rd year at UF. I have a boyfriend named Zach who was my best friend in high school and is the captain of the UF quidditch team. I read a lot. Right now I’m reading “Coming Through Slaughter” by Michael Ondaatje and Tina Fey’s autobiography “BossyPants” (She hates cruises too. We are meant to be. Don’t tell my boyfriend).

This class obviously fulfills a requirement for upper-division English classes, but I’m also so excited to be revisiting stories and adventures from my childhood. In many ways, I’m still a big kid. Many of these books, while in their time written for children, seem more fitting in contemporary times for young adults, and as an aspiring high school English teacher I would love to have the background of exploring what makes them so classic and timeless in case I ever choose to cover them in my own teaching. I am especially looking forward to re-reading Peter Pan—it’s been too long—because the fear of growing up seems perfectly applicable at this point in my life as I attempt to become more financially independent and as I watch my friends get married. eeeek.

My idea of “children’s literature” is the typical one: colorful words and images on pages of all shapes and sizes exploring characters and places of great imagination. The section in the Barnes and Noble in Orlando with a reading circle area decorated as a wooded path comes to mind. Dr. Seuss, one of my all-time favorite children’s authors, comes to mind. Last semester I took Literature for the Adolescent with Professor Ulanowicz and I enjoyed every minute of it. In that class we explored the adult author’s voice in young adult fiction and many other ideas, but we never really explored in depth what makes a work of children’s’ or young adult literature worth canonizing. When I hear the term “golden age of children’s literature,” I think of works that are classically timeless. I think of works that, despite being written long ago, are ones that we will always be able to escape into.

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