Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit is directed towards literary professionals entering fields such as education and publishing as well as more general fields requiring a background in English literature. Australian literature for young readers is globally recognised as cutting edge, with authors achieving high sales figures both in-country and international. This unit introduces students to a range of Australian literature written for children and young adults, exploring the cultural context of literature for young readers through issues such as race, gender and class. The unit emphasises the role of literature in the creation of identity and is particularly focused on Indigenous writers and publishers. It explores the historical development of Australian literature for children as well as recent theoretical approaches to the literary study of such works. The aim of this unit is to generate a wide understanding of texts for younger readers and the dynamic function of these texts within arguments about Australian identity so that students have the competencies required in professional practice.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Discuss theoretical approaches towards and textual knowledge of Australian literature for younger readers (GA5, GA9)

LO2 - Communicate clearly in written form, in a style appropriate to a specified audience (GA6, GA9)

LO3 - Locate, evaluate and appropriately reference a variety of texts relevant to Australian literature for children and young adults in order to develop an evidence-based argument (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10)

LO4 - Apply the methods that literary theorists have used to research and interpret to Australian literature for children and young adults (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA10)

LO5 - Reflect on key debates relating to literary studies over time (GA1, GA2, GA3, GA5, GA8).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics may include:

  • a selection of Australian literary texts across a range of periods
  • historic and cultural contexts in which texts were written and read
  • issues such as race, gender and class within specific texts
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers and publishers
  • a sense of place – suburbs, city and country
  • censorship
  • critical debates around the literary canon

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This fully online unit is designed to maximise student engagement through participation. Students will develop an understanding of basic questions in Australian literature for children and young adults through reading online lectures which offer students a detailed account of key texts, historical contexts and critical and/or theoretic approaches. Lectures are accompanied by exercise sheets which require students to perform exercises in locating material, analysing particular texts or employing skills and approaches relevant to the field. In particular, the historical sections of the unit require the development of basic competencies in utilising database collections of Australian literature for younger readers. Participation in online debates in an informed manner using linked material will encourage a sense of belonging in the unit. Students will also execute a research task and summative task which will require a command of relevant primary and secondary materials while mobilising appropriate literary critical terms.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome and assess students’ ability to link interpretations to specific issues within Australian literature for younger readers.

Assessment task one will be timed no later than mid-semester and will be a low risk, relatively lightly weighted assessment task (reading-related task/s) designed to introduce the students to literary works for young readers within their historical context.

The second task requires students to demonstrate their ability to take up a particular issue and offer an interpretation of a literary text in terms of how that issue is represented. This task will require students to place the work within a cultural and historical context in order to show how discourses about the issue are taken up in the text.

The final task is summative and requires students to demonstrate an understanding of some key debates in literary studies. This will be achieved through a series of informed responses to questions in Australian Young Adult literature. It will test the detailed knowledge of several works in YA literature and the ability understand and use elements of key debates in the field to generate interpretations of these works.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Unit Reading-related Task

Requires students to describe literary works for young readers within their historical context


LO1, LO2

GA5, GA6, GA9 

Analytical/Research Task

Requires students to research and complete a written interpretation of the representation of an issue found in a literary text for young readers. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10

Examination or Reflective Writing Task

The exam requires students to discuss and interpret key debates in literary studies and incorporate detailed knowledge of several works in Young Adult literature.


LO1, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA6, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Bradford, Clare. Reading Race: Aboriginality in Australian Children's Literature. Melbourne University Press, 2013.

Fraustino, Lisa Rowe, and Coats, Karen. Mothers in Children's and Young Adult Literature: From the Eighteenth Century to Postfeminism. University Press of Mississippi, 2016.

Garcia, Antero. Critical Foundations in Young Adult Literature. Sense Publishers, 2013.

Heiss, Anita, ed. Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia. Black Inc, 2018.

Johnston, Rosemary Ross. Australian Literature for Young People. Oxford University Press, 2017.

Mallan, Kerry, et al. Imagining Sameness and Difference in Children's Literature: From the Enlightenment to the Present Day. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2017.

Musgrave, Megan L, et al. Digital Citizenship in Twenty-First-Century Young Adult Literature: Imaginary Activism. Palgrave Macmillan US, 2016.

Nodelman, Perry. Alternating Narratives in Fiction for Young Readers Twice Upon a Time. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

Wheeler, Belinda. A Companion to Australian Aboriginal Literature. Camden House, 2013.

Xu, Daozhi. Indigenous Cultural Capital: Postcolonial Narratives in Australian Children's Literature. Peter Lang, 2018.

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