Post Assignment Descriptions

“Nursery Rhyme/Fable” Posts (2 points)

Post a short nursery rhyme or fable in its entirety in your post.   OR For longer fables, provide us with both a link and a 25-50 word summary about the fable.   Either way you should, include a thorough and accurate bibliographic citation for your nursery rhyme or fable.

“How to Read Children’s Literature” Post (3 points) 

In “How to Read Children’s Literature,” Jonathan Klassen takes us through a series of questions about a text’s implied reader.  Klassen explains that adult readers can learn a lot about how to read children’s literature by considering the literature as having two implied readers, an adult reader and a child reader.   In the article he describes a group of adults reading a classic nursery rhyme.  He then uses that nursery rhyme as his example for thinking about what the reader is supposed to know and do.  Citing Peggy Whalen Levitt, he makes a list of “What the Reader is Supposed to Know” He  divides that list into three parts: “about life,” “about language,” and “about literature.”   He then makes a list of “What a Reader is Asked to Do.”  Afterwards, he assesses the lists he has made, and he posits who the implied reader of the text might be (which is to say he answers the questions, “What reader might know these things?” and “What reader might be moved to do what is asked of them to do?”)

In this post, you should pick a nursery rhyme, fairy tale, or fable that you did not post but find interesting.   Apply the analysis that Klassen uses for his nursery rhyme to the nursery rhyme or fable you have picked.  You should literally go through and make the two lists (with the three sub lists for the first list).  Follow Klassen’s model precisely answering any question about your nursery rhyme that he answers for his nursery rhyme.   You do not however have to do the exploration activities.  At the end you should posit who SPECIFICALLY you think the implied reader(s) is for the text you read.

In this clearly written 200-400 word posts you must be sure to identify the fable or nursery rhyme you are responding to and which reading exercise you’re using.

“Child as a Site of Adult Desires” Post (3 points)

Jacqueline Rose famously argued that child is inaccessible other for adult who write, assign, and read children’s literature.   She argues that when we write children’s literature or do anything for the child, we are always imagining the child audience we are acting for.  In children’s literature (and other children’s text) are not so much reflections of actual children or the state of anything like a culture of childhood as much as a reflection of adult desires for children and particular their desires for their own lives, pasts, and futures which they see mediated through the child.   In this post you should find a contemporary example of a piece of literature, art, music, policy, toy–any text in which the child in the text or supposedly consuming the text has become a site at which adults project and protect their own desires.   This 100-250 word post should describe the text you’re examine, identify the adult desire you seeing being worked out, and discuss  1-2 ways in which the text tries enact that desire via this particular child text.  1–Is your example clearly described and accurately cited?  This post should be clearly written and include a proper bibliographic citation for the text  you discuss.

2 Binary -Mess Posts  (Total of 7 points)

The binary -mess posts are a series of posts in which one group will discuss a binary logic operating in a text, and the next group discuss a moment in the same text or one of the other readings that challenges that binary.  We will do four rounds of these posts, which will mean that everyone will do 2 binary posts and 2 mess post responses.   Two rounds will be general and two rounds will be on specific binary themes. They are worth almost half of the points, so please take time look over the assignment details on the Binary Post page and the Mess Post pages.

Early American Post (4 points)

This post requires that you read an additional children’s literary text from the Boston Literary History site.   You should pick a text from the online exhibit that is NOT on the syllabus already.   You should read that text.  Then in your post you should provide a properly formatted bibliography entry for that text and a clear 50-150 word summary of that text.  You should then compare this Early American children’s text to a contemporary children’s text.  Text here refers to a variety of media from literature to video games to art to cartoons etc.   Your 100-200 word comparison should be clearly written and identify specific parts of both texts that are compelling similar or different. This post should be 150-350 words long.


“Racial Innocence” Post (2 points)

According to scholar Robin Bernstein “Racial Innocence” is the process by which certain racist and/or racial ideas that are no longer politically fashionable but are nevertheless still culturally attractive get hidden and preserved in the culture and performance of childhood  (i.e. children’s songs, children’s games, children’s story, etc.).   Under the cover of childhood innocence these racial/racist ideas persists but they do so as seemingly benign and ahistorical.  For this post you should look at contemporary childhood text.  You should identify one that  you think is a site of racial innocence.  You should describe this text (and if possible provide a link/image/video) for this text.  You should explain what racial/racist idea this text hides and preserves, and you should discuss how the texts communicates  innocence and obliviousness to the racial/racist ideas it carries.   This post should be 150-250 words, clearly written, and include a proper bibliographic citation for the contemporary text.



Boys will be Girls … Post  (3 points)

In this post you should compare a depiction of “proper” and/or “deviant” gender expression in one of the literary texts we’ve read to a contemporary depiction of gender expression.  Your 100-200 word comparison should clearly describe both the literary example and the contemporary example, highlight what the literary example helps us to see/appreciate/understand about the contemporary example and vice versa.  This 100-200 word post should be clearly written and include relevant citation of any quotations and an accurate bibliographic entry for your outside contemporary text.