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    ENG 470: Tween Literature and Culture

    Syllabus in .pdf format

    Presentation Schedule

    Resources in children's literature research for college students, teachers, librarians & academics

    MLA Guide, in .pdf format.  How to write and format your papers.  Important to look at before you hand in the final version of your research paper.

    Even more Research & Writing Resources on Children's Literature are on this page of this website

    If you've never written a critical literary analysis paper before, read "How to Write a Research Paper in Literature" by Geoff Baker at Chico State University (.pdf format)

    Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

    Skeleton Creek website, with videos.

    Patrick Carman's author website.   His 3:15 series website.  website requires password.  check the book.

    Fan websites: Skeleton Creek is real website Skeleton Creek Fans, another

    Skeleton Creek readers' guide from Scholastic, in .pdf format

    Related videos

    Related Articles

    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 

    Articles related to The Hunger Games

    Suzanne Collins's website

    Scholastic's teacher's guide to The Hunger Games

    Videos on YouTube connected to studying The Hunger Games

    Map of Panem, a teacher's detailed analysis of the US map as re-imagined in the Hunger Games series

    " 'The Hunger-Games':popular, violent, and rated PG-13" Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article (March 2011) questions violence in book and upcoming film

    The Hunger Games wikia with 285 pages


     A Hunger Games map (click to bigger map)









    Hunger Games map (click to bigger map)

    A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony SnicketImage from Lemony Snicket film (2004).

    "Powers of Secrets: Backwards Construction and the Children's Detective Story" by Chris McGee (in .pdf format)

    Lemony Snicket official website

    A Series of Unfortunate Events website

    Teaching site about A Series of Unfortunate Events for kids, teachers, and librarians.  Includes links to lesson plans and merchandise and explanation of V.F.D.

    Lemony Snicket's NaNoWriMo Pep Talk from 2010

    David Perdue's Illustrations to Charles Dickens Oliver Twist

    YouTube videos

    Thirteen observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a distance

    The Telegraph of London interviews Daniel Handler "the enigma behind Lemony Snicket"

    Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet A Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window by Vermeer (1657)

    Chasing Vermeer links

    Art related links

    Pentominoes links



    A Lady Writing (1665) by Vermeer as it looks hanging in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.





    Girl With a Pearl Earring (1665-7) by VermeerThe Lacemaker by Vermeer Alexander Calder with his Cirque Calder (1926-31) Photo by Andre Krestez

     Two Calder mobiles in the atrium of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.



    Secret Letters from 0 to 10 by Susie Morgenstern

    Susie Morgenstern's official website, English part.Couscous stew

    Biographical notes on Susie Morgenstern from Alliance Francaise USA

    Jama Rattigan's blog Alphabet Soup with detailed overview and praise for Secret Letters.  Lots of delicious photos!

    Thoughtful review at blog

    Interview with Susie Morgenstern from June 2011from The Red Balloon

    Bookmarked blog praising Secret Letters

    Red Balloon (1956) Part 2 of 4 parts. excerpt on YouTube

    New York Times film critic A.O Scott tells why he appreciates The Red Balloon, with excerpts from the film. 2 min video YouTube

    Bemelman's Madeline, official website of the Madeline picturebooks by Ludwig Bemelman

    The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    Chez Panisse, website for the groundbreaking restaurant in Berkeley, California, started by Alice Waters.

    Susina, Jan and Jodie Slothower. “Delicious Supplements: Cookbooks as Additives to Children’s Texts.” Food in Children’s Literature. Eds. Kara Keeling and Scott Pollard. New York: Routledge Press, 2009. Link to info about book and Link to a .pdf of the chapter

    Recipe for Moroccan Stew, vegetarian version but similar to what was eaten in the book (in .pdf format)

    Welcome to Lizard Motel by Barbara Feinberg

    Tweens and Popular Culture  Fred Figgelhorn

    Peggy Tally's "Re-imaging Girlhood: Hollywood and the Tween Girl Film Market" for Oct 26 (in .pdf format).  From Seven Going on Seventeen: Tween Studies in the Culture of Girlhood. Eds. Claudia Mitchell and Jacqueline Reid-Walsh. Counterpoints: Studies in the Postmodern Theory of Education. 2005.
    "The Gossip Mill: Alloy, the teen-entertainment factory" by Rebecca Mead, in The New Yorker.  In pdf format

    Websites by Tweens 

    Fred Figgelhorn. Fred's site on YouTube   Fred's website.  Article about Fred. Fred's movie is #1 with kidsTavi Gevinson

     Tavi Gevinson, high-fashion teen girl blogger in Oak Park, IL. Chicago Tribune article on Oct. 2, 2011 (.pdf)  Link to  Link to her Tumblr site. Link to her blog.Tweenage Wasteland on by Mikaela Foster, a 12-year-old blogger. critiques blogs of Tavi and Madonna's daughter Lourdes. (June 2010)

    Cecilia Casini, a 10-year-old's fashion blog.

    Music for TweensTaylor Swift

    Taylor Swift

     Hannah MontanaMiley Cyrus

    Justin BeiberJustin Bieber

    Nickelodeon Stars

    Top 40 Hitmakers

    Disney Stars 

    Green Day. "Good Riddance (Time of Your Lives)" the contemporary graduation song in a YouTube video. "American Idiot" live performance video

    Beyonce "All the Single Ladies" YouTube video. 3:19 min. Lady GaGa "Pokerface" YouTube video 3:35 min. 

    Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling" YouTube video. 4:51 min.  Hey Monday "Homecoming" Youtube video 

    Tween music history

    Commonsense Media's Tween Music page.  Promo for up and coming artists 

    Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair"  Will and Jada Smith's 9-year-old daughter first hip-hop music video. Jimmy Fallon and Bruce Springsteen spoof this tune while channeling Neil Young.  YouTube video 3:49 min

    TV for Tweens

    "First the Tween Heart, Now the Soul" New York Times (3/25/2010) article about tween TV creator and music guy, Dan Schneider

    TV shows for tweens emphasize being famous, according to study by UCLA psychologists. In 1967 shows for same audience emphasized community feelings and benevolence  Read article in Time from July 2011

    Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul CurtisPullman Porter on the job

    YouTube Videos

    Articles related to Curtis receiving the Newbery Award for Bud, Not Buddy.

    "Porters Helped Build the Black Middle Class" NPR segment. May 7, 2009.performance of Bud, Not Buddy play for Children's Theater Company in Minneapolis

    "America on the Move: Pullman Porters" from the National Museum of American History exhibit

    From Jazz: A film by Ken Burns on PBS. segment "Jazz in the Time of the Great Depression"

    History of Jazz/Black History in America from

    The Great Depression: An African-American Perspective

    Growing up Black in the 1930s.  Interview with Mrs. Peacolia Barge, born in 1923 in AlabamaChristopher Paul Curtis

    Carol Hurst's site on teaching Bud, Not Buddy

    Teaching materials for Bud, Not Buddy play for children.  Detailed. in .pdf format

    Nashville Children's Theater's segments from Bud, Not Buddy. YouTube video 3:10

    Links to information about the author

    Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

    Surviving the Dust Bowl, a PBS series. Website has related photos, articles and short videos.

    Hard Times Come Again No More with photographs. YouTube 2:37 min

    Riding the Rails, a PBS series about the more than a quarter million teenagers were living on the road in America.  Website has interviews, articles, teachers' resources.

    Visions in the Dust: Lesson Plans for teaching about the Great Depression, including using Out of the Dust.

    American Memory: From the Great Depression to World War II.  Library of Congress site of the photographs from the Farm Security Administration to the Office of War, showing Americans at home, work and play.

    Voices from the Dust Bowl. The American Folklife Center, Library of Congress online presentation documenting migrant farm workers in California in 1940 and 1941.

    Interview with author Karen Hesse

    Carol Hurst's teaching guide for Out of the Dust

    Woody Guthrie, official website.  1945 video of Guthrie singing. YouTube. 1 min

    Children of day laborers in Oklahoma. None of the kids had attended school. 1939. WPA photo by Russell Lee.One of Dorthea Lange's iconic WPA photos of migrant mother & children in California 1936.

    "Ex-farm famly" Oklahoma, 1938. WPA photo by Dorthea Lange

    "Helping a New-Comer" Bakersfield, Calif., 1940. Photo by Rondal Partridge

    Child in Yakima Valley, Wash., working hard. 1939 FSA photo by Dorthea Lange.

    Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan


    Reading for class: "Classics for Cool Kids: Popular and Unpopular Versions of Antiquity for Children" by Sheila Murnaghan. Classical World, v. 104 no3 (Spring 2011) p. 339-53. 2011. (in .pdf format)

    Videos of Perseus/Percy Jackson

    Rick Riordan's websiteRiordan's website section about Percy Jackson.  Riordan's blog
    Percy Jackson and the Olympians website
    Percy Jackson's UK site
    Scholastic's bio on Riordan
    Reading guide (in .pdf) to The Lightning Thief
    Rick Riordan's Twitter feed
    The Last Hero site, the next in the Olympians series

    Mythology for kids:*Mythweb *Animated Hermes leads kids about mythology  *Ancient Greek Gods, site for kids

    Book censorship during ancient Greek times
    National Geographic interactive quiz on Percy Jackson books
    Role play forum based on Percy Jackson books
    Percy Jackson graphic novel version

    Videos of Rick Riordan

    Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

    Video games for tweens

    "Learning by Playing" by Sara Corbett in The New York Times, Sept. 2010 (.pdf file)

    "Gaming in Education" from Indiana University School of Education, Robert Appelman. (2:44 Min) with Jackson Creek Middle School Kids

    Popular virtual game sites for boys and girls include:

    Club Penguin. Children are penguins who decorate their own igloos and waddel around the Club Penguin world.  Popular for parties, kids chatting and weekly newspaper.

    Garden Party.  Avatars are stylized kids.  They live in treehouses and grow magical objects which they can Action on a PopTropica gamethen use or trade.  Click "Watch video"  to learn about Garden Party.

    PopTropica  PopTropica is published by Pearson Education division, so it has educational content. Also lots of puzzles and interactive sites.  More controlled environment than the 2 above.  Puzzles tend to be a little harder.

    ToonTown:  good characters try to take over the bad guys (Lawyers and suits) by fighting with gags.  "Taking Over a Building" video shows how toons fight together against the Bossbots.  "ToonTown Funny VP" is similar by more amusing and you see more of ToonTown

    Planet Cozmo  A virtual reality site that emphasizes tween/teen pop culture and music.  Nickelodeon's website, one of the biggest for children with numerous games, links to tv shows and more.Bella Sara is a popular web game, card game & now has related books

    Popular virtual game sites for just girls include:

    Pixie Hollow: create a fairy and fly. Video tour of Pixie Hollow by a girl. "Slate's Visit" video of fairies interacting in Pixie Hollow virtual reality  And an essay analyzing by Sara Grimes.

    BellaSara.  Tales about North of North's mysterious lost herds of horses.  Play online.

    Educational and entertaining games for tweensMoby robot on BrainPop

    Videos of first-person shooter and role playing action games

    Articles and adult ideas on kids' video games.

    "Social Networking: A Parent's Guide"  information from the Federal Trade Commission on teaching kids virtual world safety

    "Designing-websites-for-kids-trends-and-best-practices/est practices on how to attract kids"  from Smashing Magazine, a journal on web design.  Article explains why Club Penguin and other sites work, or don't.

    Izzy Neis's blog

    Understanding Multimedia Learning.  Research, funded by BrainPop, on using educational technology (.pdf)


    Banned Books Week 2011

    Charlotte's Web by E.B. White  E.B. White

    "Reproduction of Mothering" by Lucy Rollins. essay in .pdf format

    "The Lion and the Mouse: The battle that reshaped children's literature." essay in The New Yorker by Jill Lepore (July 21, 2008).  Sources Lepore used for this essay, in pdf format.

    "Children's Books" an essay by E. B. White in collection of essays One Man's Meat in pdf format

    New York Times collection of info on E.B. White.  Includes links to recordings of White reading from Charlotte's Web.  (requires free registration with NY Times)

    Quotations by E.B. White at  Quiz on quotations in Charlotte's Web.

    Why Charlotte's Web is still a great book 50 years after publication. by Stephen Amidon in The Guardian

    E.B. White essay in The Atlantic "The Death of a Pig" January 1948.

    Interviews by NPR's Melissa Block of E.B. White's relatives and author of annotated Charlotte Web on White's creation of the novel. (8-4-2008)

    Trailers on YouTube for 2006 live/CGI film (1 min). for 1973 animated film (3 min)

    Link to "Natural History," an E.B. White poem about spiders from 1929

    E.B. White in The New Yorker, May 23, 1953: "Walden is the only book I own, although there are some others unclaimed on my shelves. Every man, I think, reads one book in his life, and this one is mine. It is not the best book I ever encountered, perhaps, but it is for me the handiest, and I keep it about me in much the same way one carries a handkerchief - for relief in moments of defluxion or despair."

    Harriet the Spy by Louise FitzhughLouise Fitzhugh

    Read for Wed., Sept. 14: Robin Amelia Morris. "The Secret Development of a Girl Writer: Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy." from Mystery in Children's Literature: From the Rational to the Supernatural. Eds. Adrienne E. Gavin and Christopher Routledge. Palgrave.  (in .pdf form)

    Purple Socks, an unofficial Louise Fitzhugh tribute site.  Good collection of information.

    "Unapologetically Harriet, the Misfit Spy" an NPR story by Neva Grant on March 3, 2008.

    Peter Neumeyer's scholarly review of Harriet the Spy

    A Walking Tour of Harriet's neighborhood in New York with maps, photos & descriptions. This Flickr site also has recent photos of Harriet's New York neighborhood.

    Wake County, North Carolina, Library .pdf 7 page document for kids reading and thinking about Harriet the Spy, includes questions and list of similar books. Fans may like Harriet Spies Again, a 2002 continuation published by Random House.Michelle Trachtenberg in Harriet the Spy 1996

    Harriet the Spy 1996 movie, by Nickelodeon, featuring Rosie O'Donnell and Michelle Trachtenberg. Link to imdb page.

    Harriet The Spy: Blog Wars a 2010 Canadian/American television film, which aired in the US on Disney channel, starring Jennifer Stone from Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place  Link to imdb

    2009 review of Harriet in Scholastic's website Ink Splot 26

    "I can see why this book is a classic, though. It is honest, frank, and kept me turning the pages. But I don't know many kids who would actually write such mean things down. Maybe it was a product of how she was raised . . . Hmm." -- from review on Ink Splot 26 by Ratha, STACKS reviewer

    YouTube videos on middle school.

    What's life like for middle schoolers and tweens today? 


    Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

    Official website of Diary of a Wimpy Kid 

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid website. site begin here with FAQs 

    Clips from the 2010 film Diary of a Wimpy Kid on YouTube:

    A Fourth Grade play of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  short and cute. Jeff Kinney with his boys

    Blog of Jeff Kinney. Diary of a Wimpy Kid's creator. 

    Jeff Kinney interviewed Oct. 22, 2009 on NPR.  He answers kids' questions.

    Washington Post article on how Jeff Kinney wrote and published the Wimpy Kid series. (March 3, 2009)

    YouTube interview of Jeff Kinney from Barnes & Noble.  YouTube interview with Jeff Kinney on first two books at Borders.

    Jeff Kinney at a Borders pulling out books that he likes and talking about them, including Scott McCloud's book on comics. 3:30 min on YouTube

    Jeff Kinney at the 2009 National Book Festival/Library of Congress.  YouTube 20: min

    Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf   by Jennifer HolmJennifer Holm

    Jennifer Holm's website. Link to her site information on Worse than Meatloaf

    Video trailer for Worse than Meatloaf 3 min

    Nice interview with Holm when Worse than Meatloaf was released. "Maryland author turns to family for inspiration"  by Raechal Leone Maryland Newsline Sept. 26, 2007

    Bildungsroman blog interviews Jennifer Holm. March 9, 2007.

    North Myrtle Beach Middle School library video about Worse than Meatloaf YouTube 1:11

    Matthew Holm's official website.  Interview with Jennifer and Matthew Holm about their Babymouse series.  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 24, 2008

    American Born Chinese by Gene YangAmerican Born Chinese cover

    17th century monkey king illustration

    Smile  by Raina TelgemeierRaina Telgemeier

    Raina Telgemeier's website.

    Scholastic's website for Smile.  Scroll down for short video, too.

    First chapter of Smile, which began as a webcomic.  Scroll down to see entire comic in web form.

    NYC Graphic Novelists website has a long, lively interview with Raina Telgemeier. Feb 26, 2010.

    "Teeth Marks: An Interview with Raina Telgemeier" at the Graphic Novel Reporter website.

    School Library Journal's interview with Telgemeier from June 13, 2010

    Girlamatic: a webcomics magazine where Telgemeier began Smile

    The Baby-sitter's Club in graphic novel format by Telgemeier.  the Scholastic site.

    Raina Telgemeier visits the middle school of Churchill School, an independent school in New York City for kids with learning disabilities

    Required Texts 

    • Jennifer Holm.  Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf. (Simon & Schuster)
    • Jeff Kinney. Diary of a Wimpy Kid. (Amulet)
    • Raina Telgemeier. Smile. (Graphix)
    • Gene Luen Yang. American Born Chinese. (FirstSecond)
    • E. B. White. Charlotte's Web. (HarperCollins)
    • Louise Fitzhugh. Harriet the Spy. (Yearling) 
    • Gail Carson Levine. Ella Enchanted. (HarperCollins)  
    • Rick Riordan. The Lightning Thief. (HyperionMiramax) 
    • Karen Hesse. Out of the Dust. (Scholastic)
    •  Christopher Paul Curtis. Bud, Not Buddy. (Yearling)
    • Susie Morgenstern. Secret Letters from 0 to 10. (Puffin Books)
    • Lemony Snicket. The Bad Beginning, or Orphans! (HarperCollins)
    • Blue Balliet. Chasing Vermeer. (Scholastic)
    • Patrick Carman. Skeleton Creek. (Scholastic)
    • Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games. (Scholastic)

    Course Format

    The course will be conducted as a seminar. Each student will give an oral presentation on a pre-arranged topic.  Students will write two, short, critical papers: on a non-print tween text (5-10 pages) and a longer, critical paper on a tween book or series (14 - 18 pages).  Throughout the semester, there will be short written assignments related to the primary and critical readings.  Students will be expected to engage in active class discussions and attend class.