The History of Children's Literature


Course Description

Origin and development of English and American children's literature through the early twentieth century. Special emphasis on nature, structure, and enduring themes of fantasy literature.

3 credits

About the Instructor

Professor David R. Russell has a Ph.D. in English Renaissance literature, and his dissertation is on Edmund Spenser, author of The Faerie Queene. His research has mainly been on how to improve students' writing in their fields. He is responsible for the supports for writing and the online discussion forums. He loved reading to his own three children, now grown-and looks forward to doing the same with his new grandson.

The Literature

All but three of the course readings are available in free online editions through the course website. Students must purchase or borrow Hoban, Sendak, and White. Students who prefer print to online editions may purchase all of the readings from bookstores.

Fairy tales from Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm
The Light Princess, George MacDonald
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stephenson
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
Tales of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter
Mouse and His Child, Russell Hoban
Charlotte's Web, E. B. White
In the Night Kitchen, Maurice Sendak
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Course Requirements

  • Online discussion forums
  • Two short essays (one can be revised for a higher grade)
  • Midterm ("take-home")
  • Final ("take-home")

Course Evaluation Comments

  • "The site was great and easy to use! Wonderfully set up. Beautiful looking and user friendly."
  • "The short video lectures with Dr. Mendy were great! Very relaxed yet full of information and insight... They really lead you to a fuller understanding of the stories, characters, and concepts."
  • "I thoroughly enjoyed the stories. Everyone should re-read the stories they knew as a child because they have a different meaning when you are an adult."
  • "I was very please with the difficulty and content of this course. I felt that it challenged me, but it also kept me interested."
  • "Thank you! I wish I could take the class again next semester with different books! What a fun topic and enjoyable class."


Instructor Contact

David R Russell

Registration Information

Course Dept
Course Number
Credit Hours
Spring 2017
Jan 9 - May 5
Max Enrollment
Delivery Fee
$150.00 *
* Delivery Fee is additional to Tuition & Fees.

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