Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism

Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism

Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism

Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism


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We are surrounded by narratives, in fiction and in our everyday lives. In this colorful collection of ideas, the author argues that understanding the components of our favorite children’s stories can lead to a lifetime of critical thinking.

Beginning with the elements of the universal coming-of-age narrative, “Kid Lit” shows young readers and general readers alike how to recognize story structure, class, gender, symbolism, trauma and Orientalism in children’s narratives.

Of value to all teachers, students, librarians, readers, literature lovers, and moviegoers.

Tom Durwood is the best English instructor I have seen in my thirty-two years of teaching.

-- Professor Patrick Murray, Valley Forge Military College

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781952520044
Publisher: Empire Studies Press
Publication date: 11/26/2020
Pages: 220
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Tom Durwood is a teacher, writer and editor with an interest in history. Tom most recently taught English Composition and Empire and Literature at Valley Forge Military College, where he won the Teacher of the Year Award five times. Tom has taught Public Speaking and Basic Communications as guest lecturer for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group at the Dam's Neck Annex of the Naval War College. Tom has followed his interest in history, literature and empire into several ambitious ventures. He is editor and publisher of an online scholarly journal, Empire Studies Magazine ( Peter Suber, Berkman Fellow at Harvard University, an advocate of the open access movement, praises Empire Studies as "a new opportunity for overcoming access barriers to knowledge and research." Dr. Julian Fisher of Scholarly Exchange has also applauded Tom's efforts. "Creating valuable academic content and then hiding it behind financial firewalls-the traditional scholarly publishing model-runs counter to the essence of scholarship, learning and sharing," according to Fisher. "To see Empire Studies breaking that mold is exciting." The magazine features interviews with a diverse group of scholars, including Anne Knowles, Mark Bowden, Tabish Khair and Jane Tompkins, among many others, and currently posts over forty features. "Empire and Literature," Tom's ebook, matches global works of film and fiction to specific quadrants of empire, finding surprising parallels. Literature, film, art and architecture are viewed against the rise and fall of empire. In a foreword to Empire and Literature, postcolonial scholar Dipesh Chakrabarty of the University of Chicago calls it "imaginative and innovative." Prof. Chakrabarty writes that "Durwood has given us a thought-provoking introduction to the humanities." Tom's ambitious new historical fiction series has earned positive reviews from early readers. "This has all the makings of a wonderful literary property," writes Sherri Smith of Park Road Books. "It's like The Da Vinci Code meets Kidnapped." Gina Glenn of Malaprop Bookstore offers, "It's a clever premise, to have teenaged heroes coming of age and changing history, aided by the mysterious Society of Navigators ... I place the writing with Steve Berry, Bernard Cornwell, A J Hartley, and even a little Dan Brown." Tom's newspaper column "Shelter" appeared in the North County Times for seven years. Tom earned a Masters in English Literature in San Diego, where he also served as Executive Director of San Diego Habitat for Humanity.

Todd Whitaker is a professor of educational leadership at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. He is a leading presenter in the field of education and has written more than 40 books, including the national bestseller, What Great Teachers Do Differently. He regularly presents at conferences such as the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), the Academy of Management Learning and Education, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).

Table of Contents

Author’s Welcome Introduction Overview: A Brief History of Kid Lit PART ONE: YOUR LIT CRIT TOOLBOX The Coming-of-Age Matrix 23 Identity and the Other 32 The Building Blocks of Literature 37 Gender 42 The Three-Act Structure 47 Class and Trauma 50 Billy Wilder’s Rules 56 Images of War in Children’s Literature 60 Empire 64 PART TWO: IN-DEPTH STUDIES “The Lion King” and Its Message of Social Darwinism 72 Star Wars and Government 82 How We See ‘The Other’ in Tintin 92 Imperialism in the “Tarzan” Franchise 103 Empire and Higher Education in Nnedi Okorafor’s “Binti” 113 Phillip Pullman, Polar Bears and the Real Arctic 124 Pixar Gender, Pixar Rules 136 Philosophy in Comics 147 PART THREE: RESOURCES Nine Things to Know About Prof. Durwood’s EN 210 Class 159 Our Mission 162 Index 204

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