3. Children’s Literature (ENGL 380)

At the beginning of my Sophomore year, I had not taken an honors class so I was ready to hop back into these courses, specifically this course. I had heard rumors about this course, that it was boring because the books were too simple and not intriguing for young adults. However, this misconception was just that; some of the books were very didactic for the reason of representing what didactic books are, and other books were incredibly written that they didn’t feel like children’s books. This class was also very engaging because of it being an honors class; after reading the book, we would have class-led discussions to talk about the ideas within the book and how the book was written, rather than ‘is it a good book?’.

We had 5 papers throughout the course to discuss certain novels that we read and how certain aspects of the novel impacted how we perceived the novel as a whole. Below, I have attached my second paper, which I wrote about the novel Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell. I had remembered reading this novel as a child and really enjoying the story, and I believed that this was how middle-schoolers behaved. However, after reading the novel for this course, I realized how didactic and typical-case the novel really was, and the characters really lacked depth due to not having any agency for themselves.

This course was really eye-opening to me about the way that children’s books are written, with some dumbing-down concepts and creating didactic messages and others written to truly entertain and not teach lessons. Because of this class, I will ensure that I read through the books that I will provide in my future classroom to ensure that the books are more entertaining and well-written rather than choosing didactic and typical-case novels.

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