Hello Kid Lit Lovers,
We are now at the tail end of the semester and this is my final, final official post for ENG 235: Children’s Literature. Don’t worry, this blog won’t end!
In the meantime, I wanted to wrap up things with a look back that the top ideas and concepts I have learned about Children’s Literature. This is a collection of the most important, interesting, and exciting things that I have learned this semester.
1. Public libraries, and their amazing children’s librarians, are an invaluable resource.
I learned this in week two or so. I needed 50 Caldecott books to read and I had no idea how to gather all 50. I went through the Caldecott list and reserved a number of the winners. Yet, I still needed help finding more.
Enter my new favorite friend – our children’s librarian. I showed up to the library and said I needed help. She was so quick to start looking and really wanted me to read all the “good” Caldecott books. We crawled around the floor in the picture book stacks and found all 50 books that I read. It was amazing for her to spend an hour (or more…) looking for and checking out Caldecotts.
Our relationship didn’t end there. She was always ready to find a book to meet my theme for the week and to suggest others that might fit. She also asked how the books that I read were and if I would suggest them to others.
2. Children’s Lit awards really do point you to amazing books.
We spent quite a bit of time exploring the various book awards (most of them sponsored by the ALA). The committees who read and analyze the various contenders have a big job to do when it comes to selecting the winners. However, they do an amazing job. I learned that any book that is an award winner or honor is going to be a quality work. I may not have liked all of them, but they are all quality books.
3. There are a lot of nonfiction picture books – and they are great!
This is something that I did not know before this class. Reading the various picture books and finding a collection of nonfiction books was a surprise. These books are a combination of illustrated picture books and books that have photos covering a wide array of topics. They are also very well written and very informative. If you want to read a nonfiction book on a specific topic, look up the children’s literature book!
4. There is an amazing world of Kid Lit bloggers, authors, and websites.
This has been one of the coolest, most surprising aspects of Children’s Literature. I have enjoyed discovering the social media accounts of my new favorite authors (I’m talking J.K. Rowling here). There are also amazing bloggers who review books and share the fun things they have found.
Finally, my classmates have had wonderful blogs too. The process of reading their blogs and commenting have made this distance, online learning course feel a little more connected. Looking back on my list of comments, I found that there are 4 or 5 people I regularly commented with. In my imaginary Kid Lit world, we are a collection of friends who read and share books together.
5. Everyone loves to talk about Kid Lit books.
As I read throughout this course, there were times that I needed to find a book that wasn’t available in my library. So, what did I do? I put out a plea and asked my friends, neighbors, and colleagues requesting help finding the books. People came out in droves – offering books, reviews, suggestions, and always wanting to talk.
I also asked friends, family, and colleagues for suggestions for my independent learning project (Kid Lit Readers – check it out!). Again, people came out in droves. They offered book ideas, their favorite books from childhood, and their children’s (or grandchildren’s) favorites. Essentially, everyone is is a Kid Lit lover.
6. Children’s Literature is not just for children!
This is one of the most exciting pieces of knowledge I have gained. I have really loved reading all of these books written for children. They are not only informative (nonfiction) or fun, but they are well written, quality works of literature. I have no qualms about reading picture books and short chapter books and books from my childhood. There is no need to defend myself when reading these books. Rather, I have learned to share them, tell others, and enjoy reading these books.
What six things did you learn this semester? Which of the things on my list did you also learn? Let’s talk below…