Essentials of Children's Literature

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  • Edition: 9th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2017-03-24
  • Publisher: Pearson

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


From a well-known, well-respected author team—a concise resource for successfully teaching reading to children. 

With a goal of reawakening pre- and in-service teachers to the joy of reading, this widely popular book focuses on teaching reading to children through today’s rich array of available trade books. The book includes the most important knowledge about teaching literature to children and it does so clearly, concisely, and directly using recommended book lists, examples, figures, and tables in combination with narrative and prose.

The 9th Edition of Essentials of Children's Literature features new information on connecting to the Common Core Standards; a new chapter on illustration and visual elements (Chapter 11); addition of graphic novels to the chapter on picturebooks (Chapter 5); reorganization of Chapter 10, “Historical Fiction;” and updating throughout, including a new section on book-related apps, additional useful resources integrated into each genre chapter; updated book lists and trends; and more.

Author Biography

Kathy G. Short teaches graduate courses in children’s literature, inquiry, and curriculum at the University of Arizona and taught elementary school in Indiana and Ohio. Her books include Teaching Globally: Reading the World through Literature, Critical Content Analysis of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Creating Classrooms for Authors and Inquirers, and Stories Matter: The Complexity of Cultural Authenticity.  She is director of Worlds of Words (www.wowlit.org), an initiative to build bridges across global cultures through literature. She has served on numerous book award committees, including the Caldecott, and is the Past President of NCTE.

Carol Lynch-Brown taught graduate and undergraduate courses in children’s and young adult literature, reading, and language arts education at Florida State University. She was a teacher in elementary school and middle school in St. Paul and Minneapolis Public Schools, and taught English in French Public Schools. She co-authored with Carl M. Tomlinson Essentials of Young Adult Literature, 2nd Edition, published by Pearson in 2010 and is a former editor of The Reading Teacher, a journal of the International Reading Association.

Carl M. Tomlinson taught graduate and undergraduate courses in children's literature and language arts at Northern Illinois University. He was an elementary and middle school teacher in Thomasville, Georgia, public schools, and taught classes in English in Norway. He co-authored with Carol Lynch-Brown Essentials of Young Adult Literature, 2nd Edition, published by Pearson in 2010, and is the editor of Children's Books from Other Countries, published by USBBY and Scarecrow Press in 1998.

Table of Contents

Brief Table of Contents

Part One: Children and Literature

1. Learning about Story and Literature

2. Learning about Children and Literature

3. Learning about Literature

4. Illustration and Visual Elements

Part Two: Categories of Literature

5. Picturebooks and Graphic Novels

6. Poetry

7. Traditional Literature

8. Fantasy and Science Fiction

9. Realistic Fiction

10. Historical Fiction

11. Nonfiction: Biography and Informational Books

12. Literature for a Diverse Society

Part Three: Bringing Children and Books Together

13. Literature in the Curriculum

14. Engaging with Literature


Detailed Table of Contents

Part One: Children and Literature

1. Learning about Story and Literature

Definition of Children’s Literature 



The Value of Story in Making Meaning of Our Lives 

The Value of Literature in Children’s Lives 


Personal and Cultural Identity 

Imagination and Transformation 

Knowledge and Insights

Understanding and Empathy 

Literary and Artistic Preferences 

The Value of Literature for Children’s Learning 

Reading and Writing 

Literature across the Curriculum 

Appreciation and Visual Culture 

So Why Is the Reading of Literature at Risk in Our Society?

2. Learning about Children and Literature

Connecting Children with Books: Know the Child 

Considering the Age-Level Characteristics of Children 

Ages 0–2 

Ages 2–4 

Ages 4–7 

Ages 7–9 

Ages 9–14 

Considering Research on Children’s Reading Interests 

Discovering Reading Interests of Individual Children 

Evaluating Text Complexity 

Connecting Children with Books: Know the Books 

Balance and Variety in Book Selections 

Book Awards 

Review Journals 

Professional Associations and Websites 

Connecting Resistant Readers with Books: Know the Books and the Readers 

3. Learning about Literature

Approaches to Studying and Interpreting Literature 

Elements of Fiction 






4. Illustration and Visual Elements

Visual Elements 

Line and Shape 

Color and Light 

Space and Perspective 



Artistic Media 

Artistic Styles 

Book Design 

Observing the Role of Illustrations in Books 

Part Two: Categories of Literature

5. Picturebooks and Graphic Novels

Definition and Description 

Evaluation and Selection of Picturebooks and Graphic Novels 

Historical Overview of Picturebooks and Graphic Novels 

Types of Picturebooks 

Baby Books 

Interactive Books 

Engineered Books 

Wordless Books 

Alphabet Books 

Counting Books 

Concept Books 

Picture Storybooks 

Predictable Books and Word Play 

Easy-to-Read Books 

Transitional Books 

Picturebooks for Older Readers 

Postmodern Picturebooks 

Graphic Novels 

6. Poetry

Definition and Description 

Types of Poetry Books 

Mother Goose, Nursery Rhymes, and Songs 

Anthologies of Poetry 

Themed Poetry Anthologies and Poet Collections 

Single Illustrated Poems 

Evaluation and Selection of Poetry 

Children’s Poetry Preferences 

The Significance of Style and Word Choice in Poetry 

Historical Overview of Poetry 

Poetry Types and Forms 

Reader Connections: Poetry in the Classroom 

Reading Poetry Aloud 

Choral Poetry 

Reading and Writing Poems with Children 

Learning to Read Poetry 

Learning to Write Poetry

7. Traditional Literature

Definition and Description 

Evaluation and Selection of Traditional Literature 

The Significance of Plot in Traditional Literature 

Historical Overview of Traditional Literature 

Types of Traditional Literature 


Epics and Legends 







Tall Tales 



Religious Stories 

Reader Connections: Storytelling in the Classroom 

Selection of a Story 

Preparation for Telling 

8. Fantasy and Science Fiction

Definition and Description 

Evaluation and Selection of Fantasy 

The Significance of Theme in Fantasy 

Historical Overview of Fantasy and Science Fiction 

Types of Fantasy 

Fantasy Based in Folklore and Mythology 

Animal Fantasy 

Miniature Worlds 

Unusual Characters and Strange Situations 

Suspense and the Supernatural 

Historical Fantasy 

Quests and Imagined Worlds 

Science Fiction 

Reader Connection: Journey Maps 

9. Realistic Fiction

Definition and Description 

Evaluation and Selection of Realistic Fiction 

The Significance of Character in Realistic Fiction 

Historical Overview of Realistic Fiction 

Topics in Realistic Fiction 

Relationships within Families 

Peer Friendships and Bullies 

Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Behavioral Challenges 

Life within Local and Global Communities 

Interactions with Animals 

The Thrill of Sports, Mystery, and Adventure 

Gender and Sexuality 

Difficult Life Decisions and Coming of Age 

Reader Connections: Paired Character Trait Books 

10. Historical Fiction

Definition and Description of Historical Fiction 

Evaluation and Selection of Historical Fiction 

The Significance of Setting and Point of View in Historical Fiction 

Historical Overview of Historical Fiction 

Themes in Historical Fiction 

Mystery and Adventure 

Forced Journeys of Transformation 

Fear and Intolerance 

Resistance and Challenges to Injustice 

Facing Adversity through Relationships 

Ingenuity and Innovation 

Reader Connections: Understanding Historical Contexts 

11. Nonfiction: Biography and Informational Books

Definition and Description of Biography 

Evaluation and Selection of Biography 

The Significance of Point of View in Biography 

Historical Overview of Biography 

Definition and Description of Informational Books 

Types of Informational Books 

Evaluation and Selection of Informational Books 

The Significance of Style in Informational Books 

Historical Overview of Informational Literature 

Topics of Informational Books 

Biological Science 

Physical Science 

Applied Science 

Social Science 


Reader Connections: Pairing Fact and Fiction 

12. Literature for a Diverse Society

Culturally Responsive Curriculum 

Culturally Expansive Curriculum 

Culturally Critical Curriculum 

Definitions and Descriptions 

The Value of Multicultural and International Literature

Evaluation and Selection of Multicultural and International Literature 

Multicultural Literature 

Historical Overview of Multicultural Literature 

Types of Multicultural Literature 

African American Literature 

American Indian Literature 

Arab American and Persian American Literature 

Asian/Pacific American Literature 

Latino Literature 

Religious Cultures Literature 

Bilingual Literature 

International Literature 

Historical Overview of International Literature 

International Literature by World Regions 

Part Three: Bringing Children and Books Together

13. Literature in the Curriculum

The Politics of Literacy and Literature 

Common Core State Standards 

Planning a Literature Curriculum 


Themes or Topics 

Authors or Illustrators 

Literary and Visual Elements 

Notable Books 

Developing Literature Units 


Lesson Plans 

Integrating Literature into a Literacy Curriculum 

Basal Reading Program Supplemented by Children’s Literature 

Reading Incentive Programs 

Literature-Based Reading 

Resources for a Literature-Based Curriculum 

Responding to Censorship Challenges 

Teaching the First Amendment 

Dealing with Censorship Attempts 

Evaluating the Literature Program 

Observation and Assessment of Learning 

Observation and Assessment of Teacher Effectiveness 

Checklist for Classroom and Library Environments 

Checklist for Teaching Activities 

14. Engaging with Literature

Reading Widely for Personal Purposes 

Reading Aloud by Teachers and Librarians 

Book Selection 


Reading Picturebooks Aloud Effectively 

Reading Chapter Books Aloud Effectively 

Sharing Literature from Oral Traditions through Storytelling 

Independent Reading by Children 


Shared Reading 

Readers’ Theatre 

Experiencing Literature as Multimodal Texts 

Reading Critically to Inquire about the World 

Literature Discussion 

Literature Response Engagements 

Drama as Response 

Literature across the Curriculum 

Reading Strategically to Learn about Literacy 

Appendix A. Children’s Book Awards 

Appendix B. Professional Resources 

Appendix C. Children’s Magazines 

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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