English 112A: Children’s Literature Research Project

English 112A: Children’s Literature Research Project

Spring 2000

Research Project: You are required to analyze and evaluate one work in children’s fiction in terms of the criteria we have developed during the semester. The entire Project must adhere to MLA guidelines and is DUE no later than May 15, 2000. Remember that parts of this project may take longer to complete than others; allow yourself plenty of time. The purpose of this project is to familiarize students with the library and the many ways we have of understanding research in the field of children’s literature. You must get written permission for the book you choose for your project. A sign-up sheet will be distributed in one week.


Linden Tree in Los Altos (south of San Francisco)

Hicklebees in Willow Glen (south San Jose)

Seeds of Change Children’s Books in Capitola (Santa Cruz area)

Storyteller in Lafayette (east bay)

Education Express in San Raphael

There are also many full line independent stores with excellent children’s sections including:

Cover to Cover in San Francisco

Town Center Books in Pleasanton

Bookshop Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz

. . . and Amazon.com, of course.

Components: 20% of total class grade. The project should be submitted with separate sections. Part A must be written independently, but parts B and C may be completed with a buddy or two, provided that each individual’s contributions are documented.

Do Parts A & B before parts C

  • Part A. 3-4 page Explication de texte (close reading). Submit 2 copies of this section (one for my records and one for yours.) This part of the assignment is to be done in terms of the criteria we develop during the term: in a close reading of one or two sentences, analyze patterns, images, metaphors, and symbols; polarities; problems; changes in perceptions; connections to philosophical and aesthetic considerations; appropriate age level; racial, sexual, religious or ethnic issues; ecological, humanistic values. It should not be a plot summary. A word of caution: do not include in this section any material or information from your library research beyond factual details about the author, and only then if it is absolutely pertinent to your analysis. This is to be an original interpretation.

  • Part B. 20 questions total: a) 10 questions with short answers, following the format of in-class RRs and b) 10 questions designed for an appropriate grade level, with anticipated answers. For this section you may consult a "live" child for ideas. The second set of questions should include some fundamental relationship to the "adult" questions.

  • Part C. Library component. Choose ONE of the following options. This should be a 3-4 page detailed account and summary of material found and the method used. Submit representative photocopies of articles or materials.

      • Research: Research pertinent biographical information on your author and and how that information helps us understand the book.

      • Develop a unit lesson plan on your book and submit one daily lesson plan as well.

      • Read an article from a journal (Children’s Literature, The Lion and the Unicorn , or Children’s Literature in Education) or a chapter in a book regarding a theoretical or critical issue. In a minimum of 3 pages, analyze and discuss the cogent points of the article, particularly how it relates to your specific research book.

      • Read the chapter "Understanding Children" (found both on the site and in the RBR). Write an analysis of a character in your book using ONE of the developmental theorists to help understand the character.

    Read one of the following books: If you might like to see the Young Adult Research Book list, click here

  • Armstrong, Jennifer. The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan.
  • Bloor, Edward. Tangerine.
  • Bond, Nancy. A String in the Harp.(a Newbery Honor book)
  • Coman, Carolyn. What Jamie Saw.
  • Cushman, Karen. The Ballad of Lucy Whipple.(story of a girl who comes to California from MA during the Gold Rush–ages 4-10)
  • Dorris, Michael. The Window.(also Sees Behind Trees and Morning Girl)–NativeAmerican Indian)
  • Farmer, Nancy. A Girl Named Disaster.
  • —. The Ear, the eye, and the Arm.
  • Freeman, Suzanne. The Cuckoo’s Child.
  • Giff, Patricia. Lily’s Crossing. (American historical)
  • Hamilton, V. The Planet of Junior Brown
  • —. Cousins.
  • Hesse, K. Out of the Dust. (American historical)
  • Hunt, Irene. The Lottery Rose.
  • Jimenez, Francisco. The Circuit: Stories from the life of a migrant child.(Boston Globe-Horn Book Fiction award)
  • Keatley-Snyder, Zilpha. Cat Running.
  • —. The Egypt Game
  • Krumgold. . . and now Miguel.(Hispanic-American)
  • Levine, Gail Carson. Ella Enchanted.
  • McGraw, Eloise. The Moorchild. (Newbery Honor)
  • Paulson, G. Dogsong
  • .Danger on Midnight River
  • Philbrick. Rodman. Freak the Mighty.
  • Reiss, K. Time Windows.–a hard cover only, but a worthwhile "read"
  • —. Pale Phoenix–issues similar to Tuck, a five-star review
  • Richardson, Judith Benet. First Came the Owl. (Thailand)
  • Sauer, J. Fog Magic.
  • Spinelli, Jerry. Wringer
  • Sutcliff, Rosemary. The Eagle of the Ninth
  • Turner, Megan Whalen. The Thief.
  • Velasquez, Gloria. Juanita Fights the School Board.
  • Voight, C. Izzy, Willy-Nilly.
  • Wolff, Virginia Euwer. The Mozart Season.
  • Wyeth, Sharon Dennis. The World of Daughter McGuire. (African, Jewish, Italian, Irish, Russian-American)
  • Yep, Lawrence. Ribbons.
  • —. The Star Fisher.
  • Yolen, J. The Devil’s Arithmetic–a time travel story of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust
  • Yoshiko, Uchida. The Best Bad Thing–Japanese American in Oakland
  • See also Other Books that have been studied in children’s lit (and YA lit): Dragonwings; Bridge to Teribithia; Island of the Blue Dolphins; Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry: Alice in Wonderland, Phantom Tollbooth, Wrinkle in Time, Book of Three, Where the Red Fern Grows, Indian in the Cupboard, The Wind in the Willows, The Little Prince, The Rats of NIMH., Chasing Redbird, Holes, Tangerine.

Back to The Literary Link