Explain how useful is the concept of ‘critical literacies’ in approaching children’s literature (Giles 2009 p. 344)?

Explain how useful is the concept of ‘critical literacies’ in approaching children’s literature (Giles 2009 p. 344)? Giles, J. (2009) ‘What is the other side of truth?’, in Montgomery, H. and Watson, N. (eds) Children’s Literature: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends. Milton Keynes: Palgrave MacMillan/The Open University. Guidance notes Your assignment should include: • a clear description of the framework that you intend to use to explore the EMA question that you have chosen, and your rationale for this • the reasons for your choice of set text(s), and an indication of what these choices bring to your answer • an awareness (critical evaluation) of the strengths and limitations of the theoretical material from EA300 Block 6 and at least another block that you have chosen to draw on. You are not required to agree with the points made in the material. In the introduction to your EMA, please indicate clearly which books and module blocks you will be referring to. Preparing your EMA • Be sure to invest time in planning your EMA. Take time to read the question. Return to your previous TMAs and read through all the feedback your tutor has given you. • You can select from and organise the EA300 module material (its set texts, Study Guide, Readers and AV materials) that you find most engaging and relevant to the option you choose. • You will need to be selective in choosing from all this information and evidence but are expected to draw on material from Block 6, one or more of its associated set texts, and at least another block and set text from the module. • You should demonstrate that you can sift material and present points in the form of a coherent, in-depth argument, garnering support from a range of sources and positions represented across the module. • You will be assessed in part on your ability to evaluate the strengths and limitations of the materials you use, and to clearly express in your writing your critical engagement with the associated issues. • You may draw on additional external sources as long as they are relevant and you reference them appropriately. However, it is not essential to use them, and priority should be given to the EA300 material. • In the EMA, you may write about the set texts that you have focused on in your TMAs, but you must not reuse material, such as sections of previous assignments, whether in the original or in an edited form. These are the texts that have been used previously: Harry Potter Treasure Island Little Women Peter Pan Swallows and Amazons Roll of Thunder The Tale of Peter Rabbit Voices In the Park. I am more than happy for you to use a text that has already been used, however, If you choose to use a text that has been included in a previous essay, please just check that you are not reusing previous material etc. All previous essays will be uploaded so you can check. I will highlight the texts that I have a digital copy that can be uploaded and sent to you. Structuring your EMA There are no specific requirements for the structure of this assignment. You may organise it in any way that you feel is appropriate. You will nevertheless need to ensure a balance between examples and discussion, without either one of these predominating. Plot summaries are unnecessary, and you will not gain credit for using them. Similarly, you don’t need to include long summaries of any articles or essays you refer to, or very lengthy quotations from them. You may include visual images if they are relevant. It is important to keep to the recommended word length. Module structure The module is organised into six blocks, each covering four or five weeks of study: Highlighted books are books that I can upload a digital copy to you. Block 1 Instruction or delight? This block introduces the history of children’s literature, setting the context for the rest of the module. It raises fundamental questions about the nature and purposes of children’s literature and begins the discussion of key themes that will run throughout your study, for example, the idea that books for children should instruct as well as entertain, and the tension between books that are popular with children and those that are judged by adults to be more prestigious. In relation to these debates, the block considers some contemporary best-sellers and the reasons for their importance. In the final week of this block, you will examine fairy stories – their purpose, how they have become transformed over the years, and the gulf that sometimes occurs between their interpretation by children and by adults. Set text • Philip Pullman, Northern Lights, • . Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Block 2 Books for girls and books for boys This block introduces you to two nineteenth-century novels that have been seminal in the development of children’s literature. The first, Little Women, was a forerunner of realistic domestic novels directed specifically at girls, and the second, Treasure Island, was a foundational adventure story designed to appeal particularly to boys. The block looks at constructions of gender in and around nineteenth-century children’s literature and examines the influence of British imperialist values on the role models that this literature offered young people. You will be introduced to a range of literary criticism on both these books and shown how to examine some of the stylistic techniques used by authors to present certain points of view and ideologies.? Set texts • Louisa May Alcott, Little Women. • Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island. Block 3 Poetry and performance This block introduces a selection of poetry and different kinds of performance: storytelling, plays and screen adaptations. It starts by examining how a wide variety of poems, songs, rhymes and verse have come to be seen as ‘children’s poetry’, and considers the ideas about childhood found in the poems and who their implied audience was. The study of storytelling is then str‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‌‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‌‌uctured around video recordings of live storytelling events. The second half of the block focuses on the most famous play ever written for children, . Barrie’s Peter Pan. As well as comparing different versions of the story – from the original 1904 stage play to the 2003 film directed by . Hogan – the block examines Peter Pan’s strong influence on Western visions of childhood. Your work in Block 3 again includes reflection on some critical literature and stylistic analysis. Set texts • Roger McGough (ed.), 100 Best Poems for Children. • . Barrie, Peter Pan and Other Plays. • Peter Pan, DVD (2003). Block 4 The prestigious and the popular This block focuses on twentieth-century children’s fiction, drawing on literary and stylistic analysis to explore the role of realism and the fantastic in five set texts (of which you will study four, one of these being your Block 1 choice of either Northern Lights or Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone). The theme of ‘evaluation’ is central to the block, which examines why particular books have been judged to be good quality literature and presents arguments about the value of less respectable, more popular literature. You will be asked to reflect on the purposes and effects of book prizes, and to consider the role and appeal of children’s comics. Block 4 revisits questions about the purposes of children’s literature, the criteria by which it should be evaluated and the models of childhood by which it is underpinned. Set texts • Arthur Ransome, Swallows and Amazons. • Philippa Pearce, Tom’s Midnight Garden. • Mildred D. Taylor, Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry. Revisiting: • . Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone • Philip Pullman, Northern Lights. Block 5 Words and pictures In this block you focus in depth on the use and effects of images in children’s books. The block approaches this at different levels, from the overall appearance of the book as an artefact, through the role that visual information plays in forming the story, to the ways in which different visual elements can be used to create meaning and emotional impact. You will examine the complex ways in which words and images can be combined to form narratives for children, focusing in particular on one of the most famous classic illustrated books for young children, Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and on a more recent picture book, Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne. The block includes the study of how images in children’s books have changed over time, from early-Victorian woodcuts to postmodern picture books. Set texts • Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. • Anthony Browne, Voices in the Park. Block 6 Contemporary trends. This block explores a number of trends in children’s fiction at the beginning of the twenty-first century, focusing in particular on socially committed fiction, stories about past or future worlds, and social-realist literature for young adults. Each of these trends is exemplified by one of the set texts for the block. In addition, you will consider the effects of broader changes in the field of children’s literature. These include recent developments in publishing and the growth of a global market, the proliferation of digital media, the effects of translating literature across cultures, and the implications of crossover literature for divisions between literature for children and for adults, and for the boundaries of childhood itself. Set texts • Beverley Naidoo, The Other Side of Truth. • Jamila Gavin, Coram Boy • Philip Reeve, Mortal Engines. • Melvin Burgess, Junk. Some of the blocks follow a broadly chronological order: Block 1 discusses early children’s literature Block 2 focuses mainly on nineteenth-century children’s books Block 4 concerns twentieth-century children’s literature Block 6 looks at current trends at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Block 3 and Block 5 are each focused on specific genres of children’s literature, and include historical as well as contemporary discussion. Each block involves a combination of investigation into ideas and issues relating to children’s literature, specific set texts, literary criticism, and the use of language. The blocks all draw on a range of different module materials (see the ‘Module components’ section). Readers Academic material is presented in two Readers, which include extracts from seminal writings in the field together with newly commissioned material. Reader 1 focuses on issues, debates and different genres in the field of children’s literature. Reader 2 provides a set of critical case studies focused on the set texts covered in the module. Each Reader includes a general introduction to the book as a whole, and a short introduction to each section, which explains the significance of the area of work that it covers and offers suggestions for further reading. The illustrations in the Readers are an important resource for your study of the development of children’s books and how they have changed in appearance over time. Reader 1: Children’s literature: approaches and territories Edited by Janet Maybin and Nicola J. Watson This Reader includes sections on the history and purposes of children’s literature, publishing and popularity, the different genres of poetry, performance and picture books, and contemporary transformations. The Study Guide will direct you to read specific chapters of the Reader. Reader 2: Children’s literature: classic texts and contemporary trends Edited by Heather Montgomery and Nicola J. Watson The first part of this Reader consists of sections of critical essays on each of the nine classic set texts for the module, as well as a section on poetry anthologies. The second part includes essays on the four contemporary set texts for the module (those by Burgess, Naidoo, Gavin and Reeve), which represent current trends in young people’s fiction. The Study Guide suggests how you can weave your reading of the critical material into your reading of the set texts. Alternatively, you may want to complete your reading of each set text before turning t‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‌‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‌‌o the relevant section in Reader 2. This information is also uploaded in the files and you can see the texts that have been highlighted. etc


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