Now available for those scheduling their classes for next fall: the course description for English 470: Studies in Children’s Literature. The topic will be Tween Literature & Culture. For a complete course description with tentative book list, click here for a .pdf file.
This course will examine the often times confusing and contradictory world of middle school literature. We will attempt to explore the growth of tween literature that has been produced in part with the development of middle schools in the United States since the 1960s, while looking at several influential examples from earlier time periods. Many of these texts attempt to provide younger readers with a transition from childhood to adolescence as they progress from the sixth to eighth grade. We will attempt to slip inside those overstuffed backpacks and lockers and try to understand some of the physical, social, and emotional concerns and issues that tweens face in contemporary culture by reading some of the books they are either assigned in school or that they are reading on their own outside of class. Since this age group gains much of its information and entertainment from other sources, in addition to books we will also be examining other texts that tweens consume including magazines, television, films, music, and new media.