Reflect: What are the key elements for a definition of children’s literature. Note them down in dot points on your blog.
As McGregory (2014) highlights, it can be difficult to define children’s literature as it tends to have a personal perception attached to it. Some key elements that I feel are necessary in the definition of children’s literature include:
- It needs to appeal to children i.e. they want to and enjoy reading it. I agree with Huck, Hepler & Hickman (1987, as cited in McGregor, 2014), who explain that we cannot limit reading material to child and adult as many children will want to read and often enjoy literature intended for adults and vice versa.
- It can be further broken up to include different groups of children i.e. infants, primary students, tweens, adolescents and young adults.
- Children are able to understand the literature. However they should also still fill challenged. As mentioned by Winch (2006, p. 400) there is a need to expose children to literature beyond their needs. In my opinion this is a part of the role of all educators including teacher librarians.
- Literature does not always have to have meaning but instead can be enjoyed as is which has again been highlighted by Winch (2006, p. 406).
- It can be packaged in multiple forms i.e traditional forms such as printed works as well as digital literacies such as those found via internet websites.
- The ideology and culture of the society will change the definition
McGregor, J. (2014). Definitions from Children’s Literature. [Subject Outline]. Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website: http://interact.csu.edu.au/access/meleteDocs/content/private/meleteDocs/ETL402_201490_W_D/uploads/Childrens%20lit%20Definitions%20Dr%20Joy.pdf%20_1_
Winch, G. (2006). Literacy : reading, writing and children’s literature (3rd ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press. pp. 393-413. Available from the CSU Library (eResource)