LIT 4334: The Golden Age of Children's Literature

Introducing Kevin Griffin

on January 13, 2013 5:55pm

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     Hey y’all!  My name’s Kevin Griffin and I’m a 4th year student majoring in Anthropology with two minors in English and Spanish from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  As I enter my final semester at the University of Florida, I’m gearing up to graduate in May and then move to Nashville, Tennessee, where I’ll be teaching Elementary English as a 2013 Corps Member of Teach For America.  Academics have been and continue to be my main priority to which I dedicate the majority of my time, but I also like to spend time reading, writing, working, staying fit, surfing, listening to music, and becoming involved with a plethora of campus organizations.

     There are several reasons for my wanting to enroll in this class.  I’ve taken various English courses throughout my life and especially at this university that have given me a very diverse knowledge of different writing techniques and genres, but one that I have yet to explore is one that was a crucial part of my life for so many years—Children’s Literature.  I believe that this is a genre that isn’t often glorified for how truly important it is in everyone’s lives, and it is not often given the credit that it deserves for shaping so many of our moral values and guidelines concerning the adults that we would eventually grow up to become.  With one upper-division English course remaining in my tracking audit for graduation with the successful completion of the minor, I knew that this would be the one class that I would enjoy taking above others to extend my knowledge of the subject into a new and unexplored realm.  I think that it’ll be a difficult feat to overcome in that we’ll have to explore texts that we’ve previously read in a new manner becoming of a college-educated adult, but I am willing to meet this challenge with sheer excitement as I rediscover stories such as The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

     When I think of “Children’s Literature,” I imagine climbing into a tree house in my backyard, opening up a book with several eye-catching pictures, and being taken on an adventure courtesy of the author’s writing and my imagination filled with the perfect blend of fantasy and reality.  Please check out http://www.magictreehouse.com and read the entire series if you didn’t catch the allusion to a traveling tree house filled with adventurous children.  I think of reading completely fictional yet impressively creative stories of talking animals and magic that somehow shaped me into the person that I am today.  I imagine a younger version of me reading great stories from authors such as Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein.  I imagine myself begging my parents to get me the Harry Potter books as each of them were released in the United States so that I could travel back to Hogwarts alongside my favorite trio to fight bad wizards and learn the lessons taught by the various professors and mentors the three encountered. These stories are far-fetched enough to catch the interest of a young reader with a growing and impressionable mind; however, the maintain a level of educational value that can teach a young reader the differences between good and evil or right and wrong.  I’ve never taken a class centered around the subject before, but I can only imagine that the “Golden Age of Children’s Literature” refers to the most well-represented and elite time frame during which the most popular children’s stories were written and shared with the world, although I cannot entirely conceptualize the exact content of this age and what designates a story as belonging to the Golden Age at this time.

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