Thursday, December 18, 2014

Planting Seeds

In January I will begin a new phase in my academic career when I teach my first baccalaureate seminar ("special topics") course. The course will examine editorial issues in children's and YA books from both technical and political economy perspectives — fitting, eh?

Here's the reading list. Students are not required to buy or even read all of the texts; the idea is that the presenter will give us enough information about the book, its structure, its potential editorial issues, and its engagement with the larger themes of publishing for children and teens that we will all gain new knowledge regardless of whether we've read the books before or not. (I have, obviously, read all of them.) I hope the students understand that they should not present the books as literature: the course is emphatically not an English seminar. Ideally, seminar participants will encounter new books to read in the future and will learn more about the issues in this sector of the business. I'm interested to see whether this approach works.

• Rebecca Stead, When You Reach Me (I'm presenting this one)
• Neil Gaiman, The Wolves in the Wall AND Blueberry Girl
• Oliver Jeffers, The Day the Crayons Quit AND The Great Paper Caper
• Dennis Lee, Alligator Pie
• Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass
• J.K. Rowling,  Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
• E.B. White, Charlotte's Web
• Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
• Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
• Jeanne Birdsall, The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale...
• Laura Ingalls Wilder, By the Shores of Silver Lake
• Carol Matas, Pieces of the Past
• Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming
• Laura Weiss, Ordinary Beauty (I'm presenting this one, too)
• Jaclyn Moriarty, Feeling Sorry for Celia
• Bryan Talbot, One Bad Rat
• Gabrielle Prendergast, Audacious
• Robert Cormier, I Am the Cheese
• Teresa Toten, The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
• Martine Leavitt, My Book of Life by Angel
• J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
• Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
• Emily M. Danforth, The Miseducation of Cameron Post
• Jo Walton, Among Others
• Megan McCafferty, Fourth Comings
• Mariko Tamaki, (You) Set Me on Fire

We are also reading two nonfiction how-to guides, one on writing and editing children's and YA books and one on analyzing narrative prose.

I'm excited about this course, as it may form the foundation of my academic work for the next couple of years. There must a reason I've been reading all these kids' books, after all!

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