ENG 302: World Literature for Children

Course Description

This course will focus on a survey of literature available to children around the world, starting with folk and fairy tales and moving to modern novels. The course will consider cultural assumptions about childhood, and differences among the literatures and countries. Special consideration will be given to illustration and translation of literature into English. (3 credits)


  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
  • ENG 102: English Composition 2

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Read novels and short stories carefully, with understanding, attention to details, tone, audience, cultural assumptions, both of his/her own culture and at least three other cultures.
  2. Find pleasure in reading.
  3. Respond to prompts in written English that is clear and mechanically sound. Answers will be elaborated with evidence from the readings.
  4. Draw conclusions from the readings.
  5. Reflect on and revise previous assumptions about children, literature, other cultures.
  6. Show evidence of changes in values and assumptions about literature, based on literature read from other cultures.
  7. Understand the different expectations of different audiences of readers-children vs. adolescents vs. adults.
  8. Access and evaluate literature-related websites using an evaluative rubric.
  9. Recognize the role of editing in the literature read and in his/her own writing.
  10. Understand cultural, ethnic, and national differences.
  11. Understand cultural, ethnic, and national similarities.

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading


Participation in Weekly Discussion Boards


Mid-term Exam


Final Exam




Required Textbooks

Available through Charter Oak State College's online bookstore

  • Aardema, Verna. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears. Penguin Random House Llc, 1975. ISBN-10: 0-14-054905-6 or ISBN-13: 978-0-14-054905-8
  • Erdrich, Louise. Birchbark House. Hachette Book Group USA, 1999. ISBN-10: 0-7868-1454-3 or ISBN-13: 978-0-7868-1454-1
  • Haley, Gail E. Story, a Story: An African Tale. Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1970. ISBN-10: 0-689-71201-4 or ISBN-13: 978-0-689-71201-2
  • Harris. Complete Tales of Uncle Remus. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002. ISBN-10: 0-618-15429-9 or ISBN-13: 978-0-618-15429-6
  • Macaulay, David. Mosque. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2003. ISBN-10: 0-547-01547-X or ISBN-13: 978-0-547-01547-7
  • Phelps, Ethel Johnston. Tatterhood. Perseus Distribution, 2016. ISBN-10: 1-55861-929-1 or ISBN-13: 978-1-55861-929-6
  • Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Scholastic, Inc., 1997. ISBN-10: 0-590-35342-X or ISBN-13: 978-0-590-35342-7
  • Singer, Isaac Bahevis. Stories for Children. MacMillan Higher Education, 1984. ISBN-10: 0-374-46489-8 or ISBN-13: 978-0-374-46489-9
  • Steptoe, John L. Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale. HarperCollins Publishers, 1987. ISBN-10: 0-688-04045-4 or ISBN-13: 978-0-688-04045-1




Course Schedule

PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE ARE TWO LESSONS DUE EACH WEEK, THURSDAYS AND SUNDAYS. Specific course due dates are listed separately in the course.

WeekSLOsReadings and ExercisesAssignments



Lesson 1: Introduction to the Course; The Bible as Children's Reading

Week 1:

Introduction to the class. Please post an introduction of yourself to the class so we can all get to know each other. This is also the time to order books for the future and to get started on the first lesson.

For this week: Get a Bible, preferably one in a modern translation [not King James-usually the title page or the spine of the book will tell what the translation is].


  • The whole books of Genesis and Exodus, at the beginning of the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures.
  • Psalm 23
  • Luke 1 and 2
  • Matthew 1 and 2
  • Matthew 19:13-15

Link and audio available in the course.

Lesson 2: The Brothers Grimm and the German Fairy Tale

Week 1:

The Brothers Grimm-folktales from Germany:

  • “Sleeping Beauty”
  • “Snow White”
  • “Little Red Riding Hood”
  • “Cinderella”
  • “Hansel and Gretel”
  • “The Bremen Town Musicians”
  • “The Frog King”
  • “Rapunzel”
  • “Rumpelstilzchen”
  • “The Brave Little Tailor”

Link and audio available in the course.

  • Read assigned material
  • Participate in Discussions
  • Evaluate websites



Lesson 3: Charles Perrault and the French fairy Tale

Week 2:

Charles Perrault-tales from France: Read all eight stories of Perrault's, all available in good English translation. Here is a site that will get you the tales you need for this lesson.

Link and audio available in the course.

Lesson 4: Women in Fairy Tales: Tatterhood

Week 2:

Tatterhood, ed. Ethel Johnston

Reminder: This is a hard book to find. Start looking early! There is one copy available at openlibrary.

  • Read assigned material
  • Participate in Discussions
  • Evaluate websites



Lesson 5: Hyphenated Americans : Stories from Jewish Americans and Mexican Americans

Week 3:

  1. Isaac Bashevis Singer, Stories for Children
    Reminder: This is a hard book to find! Audio available in the course.
  2. Joe Hayes, The Day It Snowed Tortillas- link in the course.

Lesson 6: Hyphenated Americans, Part II: African-American Stories and Uncle Remus

Week 3:

  1. Anansi the Spider stories - Links in the course.
  2. Joel Chandler Harris, Tales of Uncle Remus - Link and audio in the course.
  • Read assigned material
  • Participate in Discussions
  • Evaluate websites




Mid-term exam questions will be released during week 3 and are due back by 11:59 pm (ET)

  • Complete and submit the Mid-term Exam



Lesson 7: Native American Literature: Louise Erdrich, The Birchbark House and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hiawatha

Week 5:

  1. Louise Erdrich, The Birchbark House. Reminders:Kindle and audio versions available, but not by link in the course. This is a book to buy or borrow
  2. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hiawatha - Link and audio in the course.

Lesson 8: African Literature for Children and the Picturebook

Week 5:

  1. Translated tales, link available in the course.
  2. Three picture books by Americans
    • Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe (1987)
    • Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale by Verna Aardema (1975)
    • A Story, a Story: An African Tale by Gail Haley (1999)
    • Note: Youtube versions of these stories are available in the course

Lesson 9: Brazil and South America
1. Elsie Spicer Eells, Fairy Tales from Brazil - Link and audio available in the course

2. Other Brazilian Folktales - available by link in the course

3. Translated by Monica Mansoldo-Silva, the tales of Monteiro Lobato. Available in course documents

  • Read assigned material
  • Participate in Discussions



Lesson 10: Literature from the Far East: Mulan, Momotaro, and Walt Disney

Week 6:

  1. The story of Fah Mulan in the course documents.
  2. The story of Momotaro, Peach Boy and other stories from Japan. - In course documents.
  3. The Chinese Cinderella, the original tale. Link will be provided in course.
  4. After you have done the reading, view the Disney movie "Mulan"

Lesson 11: Literature about the Middle East

Week 6:

Before Islam, Middle-Eastern folktales

  1. "Aladdin," "The Princess Farmer" - a Hindu story, "The Iraqi Cinderella"

Links in the course

The basic, authentic stories of Islam:

2. The Muhammad story, located in Course Documents, left column.
3. The Quran, selections, audio and text in the course

Two informational books; authors and/or books recognized by the Middle East Book Awards

4. Rukhsana Khan, The Big Red Lollipop, link in the course

5. David Macaulay, Mosque.

6. Finally, a less serious Islamic story, “Dad’s Brownies” Link in the course

  • Read assigned material
  • Participate in Discussions



Lesson 12: Australian Literature for children
Week 7:
Historical works by white authors, Aboriginal stories, Modern Picturebooks
All available by links in the course

Learning Unit 13: British Literature? Global Literature? Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
By Week 8:
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

  • Read assigned material
  • Participate in Discussions
  • Evaluate websites




Final exam questions wll be released on Sunday of Week 7

By the end of Week 8:

Final exams are due back by 11:59 pm (ET)

  • Read assigned material
  • Participate in Discussions
  • Evaluate websites
  • Complete and Submit Final Exam
Final Exam
SLOs 1-10

Additional Information

What former students have said about this course:

"When you begin this class plan to enjoy the stories but always look at why the stories are similar or different than the other ones that we have read. It might be helpful to keep a running list of differences and similarities. If I were to take this course again I would take better notes throughout the course. I would try to look at the course more globally instead of looking at one assignment at a time."

About the books and the reading, from former students, in their words:

"Make sure you can access the required books either from your local library or can purchase them from Amazon.com or halfprice.com."
"Get your books early; some are more difficult than others to find in a library and you may need to order them for purchase. There are multiple warnings in the lecture material and several times during the announcements. Heed the warnings. In addition, the books are not expensive."
"Collect the books ahead of time. It was much easier and relaxing, reading them in bed, couch, waiting for your appointment, or when you take a break from work. That’s what I did and it worked great. Good luck."
"The reading is very interesting and provocative. None of it is particularly hard to understand, but there is much to be learned from it. This course will expose you to children’s literature from different cultures. Most of Professor MacDonald’s questions are not simple questions you can answer by rote. They will require you to think, analyze and reflect on the readings. You will be called upon to look for similarities and differences between cultures, to evaluate literature, look at social issues such as censorship, and to examine your own viewpoints, opinions and philosophies."
"The most important thing I have learned it to enjoy reading again. I was not looking forward to the stress of having to read a book in a very short period but found out that the reading actually relaxed me, and most of all entertained me. I caught myself telling my husband and best friend about the stories I had read. I bought a copy of The Birchbark House and gave it to my friend to read."
"I am now sharing books with my twelve-year old daughter and we are discussing them as a family. I will admit that I had no interest in reading any Harry Potter book prior to this course. Now that I have read the first book, I am hooked and have already purchased the second book to read."

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.