English 180 - Winter, 2024

Children's Literature

Class Information

Instructor: Miller, Elizabeth
CRN: 44600
Time: TR 4:40-6:00pm
Location: TLC 2215
GE Areas: Writing Experience


English 180 focuses on classic literature for children, ranging from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (1865) to newer classics such as "Bud, Not Buddy" (1999). "Alice" has long been considered a watershed work of children's literature because it conceives of childhood as a special period of existence with intrinsic value, a time of rich imaginative engagement that is in many ways superior to the tedium of adulthood that follows. Critics have noted that the literary shift associated with the so-called "Golden Age" of children's literature, from roughly 1865-1930, occurred at the same time that child labor laws began protecting children from waged labor in factories, mills, and farms, ensuring a period of time for education and the development of literacy before entering the labor force. We will consider in this class how changing cultural conceptions of childhood interrelate with the history of children's literature. We will also examine how the child reader emerged as a new marketing category in the modern era, and will look at the remediation of children's classics into multiple print and visual forms. In the final weeks of our class, we will consider a vital question for children's literature today: How should children's literature respond to or represent climate change? We will consider this question while reading two recent dystopian novels for young readers and viewing Disney's "Frozen" (2013).

Writing Expectations
This course meets UC Davis's Upper-Division Writing Requirement and also fulfills the Writing Experience GE. You should expect to do quite a bit of writing in the course including frequent in-class writing and at least ten pages of formal writing in guided writing assignments completed in stages, as well as essay exams.


- weekly in-class writing
- two formal papers
- essay exams


Bud Not Buddy, Christopher Paul Curtis
Alice?s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi
Peter and Wendy, J. M. Barrie
Anne of Green Gables, L. M. Montgomery
The Last Cuentista , Donna Barba Higuera
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson