27 March 2018
International Children’s Book Day falls on 2 April 2018, and is there to encourage children’s reading and to bring attention to the world of children’s literature.
You might think, as an English Literature student, that children’s literature is too simple, and that your capabilities are far beyond the likes of Alice in Wonderland. But actually, the research of children’s literature is a relatively recent field of study. It raises questions of what is children’s literature, what makes it children’s literature, and how do we decide what children’s literature is?
In the third year of the English Literature course at ARU, there is an optional module called 'Theorising Children’s Literature' which is a fantastic introduction to the research field. Studying everything from Harry Potter, to Alice in Wonderland, and The Tiger Who Came to Tea, you get to revisit the books of your childhood, and explore them textually and analytically.
I have personally found this module to be one of the most intellectually stimulating on the entire course. Although yes, the reading is extremely simple, it’s looking at what is implied, and analysing images that correspond. A huge aspect of this module is also theory, and the reading for this is often complex and challenging. By applying theory to children’s literature, it makes it really interesting, and definitely a challenge.
The seminar discussions for the module are always fascinating, and I’ve learned so much about authors such as Lewis Carroll and J M Barrie, as well as contexts contemporary to the texts studied. It’s continually exciting to look at and analyse characters and stories from my childhood, and see deeper meanings behind them, and to explore what exactly children’s literature is.