Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit introduces students to texts and ways of reading within the field of literature for children and young adults. The unit will enable the student to generate their own readings of children's literature texts while considering theoretical approaches to the historical, cultural and linguistic aspects of the texts studied. It will consider the origins and historical development of literature for children and young adults as well as current debates about representation, reception and textual politics of children's literature. As illustrations are a crucial element in children's literature and graphic novels for older readers, the unit will examine how artistic techniques and the technologies of printing have enabled new genres and formats to develop. This unit will offer students the opportunity to read and analyse a wide array of works for children and young adults and to consider how the creation and reception of these texts for young readers is informed by, and connects to, broader issues and debates in the field.

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 - demonstrate an understanding of the history of children’s literature (GA8, GA10)

LO2 - participate in informed debates surrounding issues in children’s literature (GA3, GA4, GA8) 

LO3 - synthesise arguments made in relevant scholarly literature to support insightful statements about texts (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO4 - analyse children’s literature ranging from traditional tales to post-modern picture books by mobilising literary critical terms and concepts (GA4, GA5)

Graduate attributes

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 

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

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


Topics may include:

  • Historical development of children’s literature
  • Traditional literary genres in children’s literature from around the world: fairy tales, folk tales, fantasy
  • Contemporary genres including science fiction and fantasy
  • Tools of literary critical analysis relevant to children’s and young adult literature
  • Theoretical or conceptual approaches relevant to the study of children’s literature
  • Formal qualities of children’s books (format, media, paratext)
  • Postmodern picture books, graphic novels and reading practices
  • Debates surrounding literature for children and young adults (didacticism, censorship, race and gender)

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.


The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. To pass the unit, students are required to submit and participate in all assessment tasks. No one piece of assessment will be worth more than 50 per cent of the total mark. Students must obtain a pass mark or better overall from the combination of marks from all three assessment tasks to pass the unit. The tasks are linked in a developmentally progressive sequence with the later assessment tasks given more weighting than the earlier ones since students’ knowledge and understanding of the unit should increase over time and thus they should be better able to do well on the set task. Assessment task one will be an early, low risk, relatively lightly weighted assessment task (reading-related task/s) to assess student achievement of LO1 and LO2 and is designed to be diagnostic (since this is an introductory unit), formative and summative. It will take place in the first half of the semester with feedback made available to students by, at the latest, the end of week 6, as per the university’s assessment policy. The second task requires to demonstrate their ability to synthesise scholarly arguments with their own insights to make insightful about a selection of texts and tests LO1, LO3, and LO4. The final task is summative and requires students to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the textual and theoretical knowledge they have acquired in this unit through an examination/take-home examination or summative assignment.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Debate: Require students to demonstrate their knowledge of the texts and theories studied by engaging in critical and reflective debates.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Research Task: Students will be required to demonstrate their ability to synthesise scholarly arguments with their own insights about a selection of texts


LO1, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Summative Task: Students will be required to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the textual and theoretical knowledge they have acquired in this unit through an examination/take-home examination or summative assignment.


LO1, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references

Recommended references

Cadden, Michael. Telling Children's Stories: Narrative Theory and Children's Literature. Lincoln: U of Nebraska, 2011.

Evans, Janet. Challenging and Controversial Picturebooks: Creative and Critical Responses to Visual Texts. Routledge, 2015.

Hubler, Angela E (ed.). Little Red Readings: Historical Materialist Perspectives on Children's Literature. Jackson: U of Mississippi, 2014.

Immel, Andrea, and Grenby, M. O. The Cambridge Companion to Children's Literature. Cambridge, 2009.

Jenkins, Ruth Y., Victorian Children’s Literature: Experiencing Abjection, Empathy, and the Power of Love. Springer, 2016.

Lynch-Brown, Carol., Carl M. Tomlinson, and Kathy Short. Essentials of Children's Literature. 7th ed. Boston, Mass.: Pearson, 2011.

Plastow, Jenny, and Margot. Hillel (eds.). The Sands of Time: Children's Literature: Culture, Politics & Identity. Hatfield: U of Hertfordshire, 2010.

Ratelle, Amy.. Animality and Children's Literature and Film. Palgrave Macmillian, 2014.

Reynolds, Kimberley. Children's Literature: From Fin de Siècle to the New Millennium. 2nd ed. Tavistock: Northcote House, 2012.

Sipe, Lawrence R., and Sylvia Joyce Pantaleo (eds.). Postmodern Picturebooks: Play, Parody, and Self-referentiality. Routledge, 2012.

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