Courses in Children’s Literature at UMN

Whatever your interests are, you’ll find an excellent selection of courses that challenge, excite, and engage.  Plunge into the world of children’s literature by discussing complex themes, examining representation, and exploring the diverse world within children’s literature.



Please note that not all of these courses are offered each semester. COMING SOON: Click on the course titles to learn more about the course requirements, activities, assignments and more.

CI 3401W “Diversity in Children’s Literature”
An introductory course about the diversity of genres and forms of children’s literature as well as the diversity of voices and perspectives it embraces.

CI 5402 “Introduction to Special Collections: the Kerlan”
A semester-long investigation that allows you to engage in research and develop your own project based on primary sources housed in the Kerlan: the world’s largest special collection of archival materials in the field of children’s and young adult literature.

CI 1908W “Children and Other Talking Animals”
A freshman seminar about animal tales in children’s literature as reflecting humanity’s never entirely suppressed memory of our kinship with animals. Why is the bulk of animal tales to be found in children’s literature?

HSem 2325H “Fantasy: A Ghastly Wicked Introduction”
An honors seminar about how fantasy literature draws the young audience into the realms of wonder and mystery, empowering them to create visions that will change the future. Students are tortured with novels, graphic novels, and films until they discover their own special powers.

CI 5404 “Multicultural Literature for Children and Adolescents”
An exploration of contemporary multicultural literature as a site where difference can be emphasized and appreciated rather than downplayed or muted. We study award-winning works of fiction and arrive at a definition of multicultural literature for the modern classroom.

CI 1904 “Picturebooks and Graphic Novels”
A freshman seminar about these two formats as crucial to the development of young people’s visual literacy. What is so appealing in the combination of visual and textual storytelling, and what is the role of picturebooks and graphic novels in young people’s lives?

CI 5442 “Adolescent Literature”
A course about what adolescents read, what kind of “knowing” reading brings, and why—given adolescents’ developmental needs—honing literary understanding is a crucial aspect of adolescent growth.

CI 8400 “Special Topics in Children’s Literature: Speculative Fiction”
A discussion seminar about speculative fiction for the young reader organized around current theories from the fields of affective psychology and cognitive literary studies. Why are we drawn to stories about things that don’t or couldn’t possibly exist? What at are the specifically human cognitive mechanisms that make speculative fiction possible?

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