While we happily welcome other visitors, the main purpose of this site is to provide readers of the third edition of Perry Nodelman and Mavis Reimer's Pleasures of Children's Literature with some tools for learning more about the topics discussed in the book.
Pleasures is an introduction to the central questions and issues surrounding children's literature and children's reading of it. It focuses especially on children's literature as literatureas a body of texts worthy of study in the context of literary criticism and theory.
In an appendix to Pleasures, the authors explain why this site exists:
Throughout this book, we try to encourage readers to enter into a dialogue with our ideas about children's literature and to arrive at their own conclusions about the issues being discussed. We've done so because we find this sort of dialogue one of the most pleasurable aspects of our own encounters with literature. It's intriguing to learn how differently different readers respond to the same texts. For us and for many of the adults and children we know, it's pleasurable to discuss the implications and relative merits of the different responses.
While we enjoy actual conversations about books with other readers, a major part of the dialogue occurs in our reading of books and articles that describe the experiences of readers we've never met. In response to an earlier draft of this appendix, Linnea Hendrickson, who teaches at the University of New Mexico, spoke of her own history as a reader of this kind of published literary criticism:
As I read this section, I thought about how I came to children's books in large part through reading the criticism about them first. I didn't know most of the authors in the children's literature canon when I started working in this field, but certain ones stimulated such interesting criticism that I had to read them. I found myself going along the shelves at the public library and having names pop out at me begging to be read. Joan Aiken, Natalie Babbitt, Leon Garfield, Alan Garner, Ivan Southall, Patricia Wrightson . Reading criticism is another version of what happens in the classroom when one student tells another about a book, or discusses a book with the class.
This, it seems to us, is the real significance of criticism: it encourages, enriches and maintains a reader's response to literature.
This doesn't mean that published critics always or even usually know better than other readers already know from their own acts of reading and response. When it comes to critical analysis, we are distrustful readers. We explore the opinions of others in terms of our own repertoire of experiences and responses, and as a result, we rarely find ourselves in total agreement with those other readers' conclusions about a text as they report them in critical articles or books. But we almost always find ourselves stimulated by their ideas into thinking new thoughts of our own. Reading critical discussions helps us continue our dialogue with texts and with literature in general.
We'd like to encourage other readers to continue their own dialogues with literature in this way. In you want to do so yourself, you'll need to find the materials to enter into dialogue with. It's for this reason that we've created Finding Out More About Children's Literature, a web site devoted to the topic.
This web site offers information about these topics:
Finding Children's Literature
Criticism: A Bibliography
For the bibliography broken down into a number of smaller files for quicker download and navigation, click HERE.
For the bibliography all in one large searchable file, which takes longer to download and may be a little balky, click HERE.
These pages include both links to other web sites and listings of materials in books and journals. Our plan is to update the web site frequently, in order to keep it as useful as possible. If you run across unlisted books or articles, or other resources that you find useful and that you think we ought to share with others, don't hesitate to let us know about them.
Click here to send us an e-mail
You might also want to e-mail us if you have other questions or comments about The Pleasures of Children's Literature or want to share your response to something in it.
The materials you'll find on this site are designed to enrich the experience of reading Pleasures of Children's Literature both for those who are learning about children's literature and those who are teaching it to others. We hope the site will operate as a place where everyone involved in teaching and learning about children's literature can share their ideas. We invite all kinds of contributions. From people studying children's literature, we'd be grateful for:
From teachers of children's literature courses, we'd be grateful for:
From everyone involved in the study of children's literature, we'd be grateful for:
If you'd like to submit something for us to consider, send it as an attached file via e-mail to:
or by regular mail to:
Department of English
University of Winnipeg
Winnipeg MB R3B 2E9
Our web site is a mere beginning: a brief introduction to ways of finding out more about children's literature and the other matters discussed throughout Pleasures of Children's Literature. It is especially limited as a guide to texts of children's literature. While we offer a few hints about ways of finding new and interesting children's books to read yourself and to share with children, we focus on something else: finding materials that deal either with interpretations of specific texts or with questions of literary criticism, literary theory, and literary pedagogy. We therefore also ignore the vast range of materials that deal with other aspects of the field of children's literature, such as the teaching of basic reading skills, using literature in teaching information or values or as part of a social studies or science curriculum, or selecting books and developing children's book collections. The authors of Pleasures of Children's Literature are scholars of literature with a special interest in the literary aspects of children's literature. We don't have much expertise in these other matters. For help on finding information about them, you'll have to consult books, bibliographies and guides by experts in those other fields.
On the other hand, we firmly believe that making use of the resources listed on our web site and thinking about texts of children's literature in terms of the critical and theoretical frameworks they offer might be the best first step towards thinking about more practical matters like teaching reading or developing collections. We encourage you to do that, and we wish you success in your continuing efforts to learn more about children's literature and to help child learn more about it.