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Uniting USC's children’s literature community

Students who want to study children’s literature and have an interest in graphic novels, writing for children, children’s theater, storytelling and French children’s books might think they would have to travel the country to find courses in all of these areas.

At the University of South Carolina, they can find it all.

USC offers 37 children’s literature courses to undergraduate and graduate students in six different departments – art, English, education, Language, Literature and Cultures, Library and Information Science, and theater and dance.

In 2011, several of USC’s children’s literature faculty across the university decided that it was time to bring faculty in these areas together. Sara Schwebel, associate professor in English, spearheaded the effort. Dianne Johnson, English professor and College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Children’s Literature, and Michelle Martin, Augusta Baker Chair in Childhood Literacy in the School of Library and Information Science, helped get the Carolina Children’s Literature Consortium started.

During the past year, the CCLC held a monthly book club to discuss children’s and young adult books and criticism, collaborated on conference presentations in our disparate disciplines, supported the establishment of a faculty research grant in children’s literature at the Hollings Library and held a mock Caldecott Award election.

“Many of us teach the same students but rarely communicate about what we do in the classroom or discuss our research interests,” Martin said. “The results of the disciplinary cross-pollination have been wonderful, and our students benefit from our knowing what they’re experiencing in other departments.”

The group will host the 2014 Children’s Literature Association Conference at USC, welcoming 350 to 400 association members to Columbia. Established in 1973, ChLA exists to “encourage high standards of criticism, scholarship, research and teaching in children’s literature.”  The conference, scheduled for June 19-21, 2014, will highlight the Hollings Library, the Augusta Baker Collection and other research resources, the art and literature of Anita Lobel, and more.

Members of the USC community interested in taking part in the Carolina Children’s Literature Consortium should contact Sara Schwebel at; those interested in participating in the 2014 conference should email Michelle Martin at for more information.


Children's literature courses at USC



Karen Heid



Undergraduate and Graduate (MAT) Courses

ARTE 530 - Art of Children
A study of prominent theories of the artistic development of children from infancy through adolescence. Students will examine children’s art from various age groups and apply theoretical explanations to these observations.

ARTE 535 - Children’s Artistic and Aesthetic Development
Theories of the artistic development of children (including special needs) from infancy through adolescence. Apply theoretical explanations to observations made in art classrooms.



Susi Long

Julia Lopez-Robertson

Mary Styslinger

Lemuel Watson
Dean of the College of Education



Masters in the Art of Teaching (MAT)

EDSE 547 - Teaching Middle and High School English
This course is designed to provide an intensive examination of methods utilized in the teaching of English language arts grades 7-12. The course structures the opportunity for pre-service teachers to review and focus their content knowledge of English studies with an eye towards teaching

Early Childhood Education (Ph.D.)

EDEC 815 - Advanced Study of Early Childhood Curricula
An analysis of early childhood curriculum alternatives that focus on theoretical orientation, related research, societal needs, and the student’s philosophy of education.

Language and Literacy (ME.D./Ph.D.)

EDRD 600 - Foundations of Reading Instruction
An overview of reading and its curriculum implications: grades K-12 and adults. Emphasis is placed on current trends and issues and related methodologies.

EDRD 650 – Teaching Reading with an Emphasis on Literature
Integrating appropriate literature into traditional and alternative reading programs. Identifying appropriate literature for classroom use and recreational reading. Use of literature as a means of developing and reinforcing reading skills.

EDRD 715 - Instructional Strategies for Reading
Demonstration and critical evaluation of teaching strategies and materials in reading.Prerequisite - EDRD 600.

EDRD 719 - Developing and Guiding the Reading Program
Design, management, and evaluation of reading programs at the classroom, school, or district levels.Prerequisite - EDRD 715.

EDRD 720 - Capstone Seminar in Language and Literacy
Synthesis, critique, and evaluation of current research and educational practice in language and literacy.Prerequisites - EDRD 600, 715, 716, 718 and 719.

EDSE 728 – Advanced Study of the Teaching of English in Secondary Schools
This course is designed to promotion the disposition and provide experience which contributes to the growth of the professional Language Arts educator.

EDSE 786 - The Teaching of Literature in Secondary Schools
This course is designed to provide an intensive examination of issues, approaches and methods utilized in the teaching of literature for practicing teachers of secondary students.

EDRD 801 - Critical Perspectives on English/Language Arts
Issues of literacy from a variety of critical stances such as democratic values, gender roles, and multiculturalism.

EDCS 824 – Seminar in Advanced Studies of Children’s Literature
Special Topics



Dianne Johnson-Feelings

Sara L. Schwebel



Undergraduate Courses

ENGL 365Q: Graphic Narratives (Special Topics)
Whether we refer to them as comic books, comix, graphic novels, manga, fumetti, or bande desinées, all graphic narratives use the dynamic interplay of sequential art and text to tell stories. In this course, you will examine the distinctive ways in which comics create meaning through a scholarly study of the medium’s formal and aesthetic evolutions with particular emphasis on texts written since 1985.

ENGL 431a - Children’s Literature
Literature written for children in a variety of historical periods and geographical regions, illustrating the nature of the genre.

ENGL 431b - Picture Books
Literature written for children and young adults that communicates through interdependent visual and verbal modes.

ENGL 432 - Young Adult Literature
Post-World War II literature in a variety of genres whose primary audience is young adults.

ENGL 433 - Special Topics in Children’s and Young Adult Literature
Intensive study of a genre, historical period, geographical regions, author, or theme in Children’s or Young Adult Literature. May be repeated as content varies by suffix and title.

Graduate Courses (M.A., MAT, MFA, Ph.D.)

ENGL 616 - Writing Children’s and Young Adult Literature
Critical study and practical crafting of literature for children and/or young adults, exploring the demands of these genres both through the reading of representative works and relevant secondary sources and through the writing of creative works.

ENGL 762 - Literary and Historical Approaches to Children’s Literature
Critical approaches to literature written for children in a variety of historical periods and geographical regions.

ENGL 763 - Literary and Historical Approaches to Young Adult Literature
Critical approaches to literature written for young adults in a variety of historical periods and geographical regions.

ENGL 862 - Special Topics in Children’s and Young Adult Literature
Special topics selected by instructor for specialized study. May be repeated as content varies by title and suffix.



Daniela Di Cecco

Alexander Ogden



** Note: all courses currently offered as Special Topics.**

Undergraduate Courses

SCCC 363E - Representations of Adolescence in French and Francophone Literature and Film
Adolescence, as we know it today, is a relatively recent concept. Since the first psychological and sociological studies of adolescence, novels and films depicting this period of development have flourished in the French-speaking world. The objective of this course is to study the fictional construction of adolescence in a selection of 20th century novels, paying particular attention to the socio-cultural contexts that produced them. In addition to the novels, we will view several films in order to compare literary and cinematic representations of adolescence. How has the portrayal of adolescence evolved? Which characteristics of adolescence are integrated, emphasized in these works? How are male and female roles constructed? Is the depiction of adolescence in novels and films produced in Quebec different from the French models? What distinguishes the representation of adolescence in novels written by adolescent authors or in novels aimed specifically for adolescent readers?

Discover the world of Russian fairy tales and other genres of folklore, both in their original form within an oral tradition and as reworked in Russian art and literature. Learn to recognize the recurring plots, characters, and elements of folktales; distinguish among genres of folklore; and examine differences between folklore and other forms of artistic creation in composition, structure, and perspective. Readings will include comparative material from Western European folk traditions, and will also survey Slavic and Eastern European folklore beyond Russia to investigate the rich vein of vampire and werewolf sto. All readings in English translation.

FREN 450/SCCC 363O – Special Topics: Children’s Literature
“Children’s Literature of the French-Speaking World”
Designed as an historical survey of literature written for children, this course will examine representative children’s texts and changing attitudes towards children and their books from the 17th century to the present. A wide variety of genres (fairy tales, comics, picture books and novels) from France, Quebec and Belgium will be explored comparatively in order to study the place of children’s literature in these Francophone societies and the cultural currents that influenced its evolution. Comparisons will also be drawn between Francophone texts and children’s literature written in English, as students will be encouraged to use their own (past) experience as “child readers” during class discussion. In addition to the study of the form, themes, messages and their implications, we will discuss the authors’ objectives as well as the role played by books in the lives of child and adolescent readers.

FREN 595 – Special Topics
« Tendances actuelles dans la littérature pour la jeunesse de la francophonie »/“Current Trends in Francophone Children’s Literature”
A travers contes, albums et romans, ce cours vise à donner aux étudiants des connaissances fondamentales sur la littérature de jeunesse contemporaine de langue française et à développer des connaissances théoriques globales des différentes approches littéraires. Après un bref aperçu historique, nous passerons à l’étude comparative des textes produits en France et au Québec. A travers l’analyse comparative des romans de jeunesse français et québécois, nous dégagerons les tendances actuelles au niveau de la qualité de l’écriture, des thèmes, des messages et des implications. Une attention particulière sera portée aux objectifs des auteurs eux-mêmes ainsi qu’au rôle du livre dans l’univers des jeunes.



Patricia Feehan

Karen Gavigan

Michelle H. Martin

Donna Shannon



Undergraduate Courses

SLIS 325 – Children’s Literature
A study of materials for children from birth to elementary school (age 13) with emphasis on the evaluation, selection and use of those materials to meet the educational, cultural and recreational needs of children.

SLIS 523 - Materials for Early Childhood
Media resources and techniques for children from birth to nine years. Reading interests and developmental needs of young children. Authors, illustrators, indexes, bibliographic tools, evaluation sources, and professional literature. Not open to students enrolled in the MLIS program.

SLIS 525 - Materials for Children
Media resources for children. Reading interests of children and their curricular and independent needs for information. Authors, illustrators, indexes, bibliographic tools, and sources of evaluation of materials for children. Techniques and literature for read-aloud programs and storytelling. Not open to students enrolled in the MLIS program.

SLIS 527 - Materials for Adolescents
Media resources for adolescents. Reading interests of adolescents and their curricular and independent information needs. Study of relationships of media to information needs and critical comparison between classic and contemporary materials for adolescents. Indexes, bibliographic tools, and sources of evaluation of materials. Not open to students enrolled in M.L.I.S. program.

Graduate Courses

SLIS 600 - Storytelling: Theory, Practice, and Development
Storytelling methods, techniques, and materials encompassing heritage, art, literature, and programming.

SLIS 718 - History of Children’s and Young Adult Literature
Historical overview of the literary content, illustration, and social values of children’s and young adult literature written in English. Examines the influence of movements such as Romanticism, Rationalism, and postmodernism, as well as changing trends over time.

SLIS 754 - Library Programming for Children and Young Adults
The nature, philosophy, and development of non-curricular programs for children and young adults in the school and public library. Among the types of programs to be discussed are storytelling, film programs, reading programs, programs for parents, and other activities associated with library service to young people. Students will study the principles and problems involved in designing, implementing, and evaluating programs of this nature.

SLIS 756 - Children’s Materials
A study of materials intended for children of elementary school age (6-13) with emphasis on the process of evaluating them to meet the educational, cultural, and recreational needs of children.

SLIS 757 - Young Adult Materials
A study of materials for young adults (13-19) with emphasis on the process of evaluating them to meet the educational, cultural, and recreational needs of young adults.

SLIS 759 - Materials for Early Childhood
A study of picture books and audiovisual materials intended for the very young child through age 9 with emphasis on the process of evaluating these materials to meet the educational, cultural, and recreational needs of very young children.

SLIS 760 - Materials and Services for Latino Youth
Introduces a wide range of print and non-print materials appropriate for Latino youth. Provides resources for librarians and educators serving young Latinos literacy needs.



Peter Duffy



Undergraduate Courses

THEA 526 - Children’s Theatre
Special problems in producing plays for child audiences

Graduate Courses (MAT in Theater)

THEA 720 - Dramatic Literature for Youth
This course is designed to expand pre-service theatre teachers’ exposure to the canon of plays written for young audiences and actors.  Students will gain insight into issues surrounding creating plays for young audiences.

  Columbia, SC 29208 803-777-3858