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Exploring Children's Literature


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Table of Contents

Part 1: Children's Literature and Reading: What Counts as Knowledge? Chapter 1: Knowledge and Skills: The Contested Space Chapter 2: Reading Teachers Chapter 3: Patterns of Children's Reading Part 2: Knowing Children's Literature Chapter 4: Narrative and Story Chapter 5: Aspects of Fiction Chapter 6: Traditional Stories and Fairy Tales Chapter 7: Fantasy Chapter 8: Realism Chapter 9: Back in Time: Revisiting the Past through Children's Literature Chapter 10: Classic Children's Books Chapter 11: Picturebooks Chapter 12: Illustrated Fiction, Comics and Graphic Novels Chapter 13: Non-fiction Chapter 14: The Pleasure of Poetry Chapter 15: Humour: A Serious Business Part 3: Into Practice Chapter 16: The Reading School: Developing a Reading Culture Chapter 17: The Reading Classroom

About the Author

Nikki Gamble is Director of Just Imagine, an organisation which seeks to promote literacy using high-quality children's literature. Formerly a university lecturer and teacher, Nikki has worked in education for 40 years. She continues to work in schools on research and development projects. Nikki is co-author of the awards winning Guiding Readers: layers of meaning (UKLA Academic Book of the Year 2017).


This accessible, research-informed book speaks right to the heart of teachers. In this inspiring update, Gamble challenges us to question and debate to consider how we create passionate readers. What a delight to be encouraged as trainee teachers and primary practitioners to reflect on our personal reading journeys, to promote a culture of reading and to develop a love of literature.

-- Nicky-Jane Kerr-Gilbert

Having an in-depth understanding of children's literature is one of the most important aspects of teachers' subject knowledge. Being in a position to support and enrich children's development as engaged readers is equally important. This book is not only an extraordinary exploration of children's literature, from picturebooks and graphic novels to nonfiction and poetry, but also a supportive and knowledgeable guide to the development of a whole school reading culture. This is essential reading for every student, teacher and school leadership teams.

-- Tracy Parvin
The best way to develop young readers is to ensure they get access to materials that engage and inspire them. This book explores how children's literature can be used in teaching, and is supported by a range of extra online resources, including further book recommendations. Aimed at teachers based in primary education, this resource will be very useful for teachers within secondary education, as well, as it covers materials suitable for older readers. -- Jan Beechey * Dyslexia Review *

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