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Literature > Children's Literature

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Rediscovering Nancy Drew Cover

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Rediscovering Nancy Drew

“Rediscovering Nancy Drew is a rich collection of literary memories and insightful cultural comments.�—Journal of Children’s Literature “Nancy, especially the Nancy of the original story, is our bright heroine, chasing down the shadows, conquering our worst fears, giving us a glimpse of our brave and better selves, proving to everybody exactly how admirable and wonderful a thing it is to be a girl. Thank you, Nancy Drew.�—Nancy Pickard “Nancy Drew belongs to a moment in feminist history; it is a moment, I suggest, that we celebrate, allowing ourselves the satisfaction of praising her for what she dared and forgiving her for what she failed to undertake or understand.�—Carolyn G. Heilbrun “Rediscovering Nancy Drew lights up the territory. It informs, delights, and acknowledges through love and scholarship a debt long overdue.�—Dale H. Ross In 1991, women staff and faculty at the University of Iowa discovered that the pseudonymous author of the original Nancy Drew books, Carolyn Keene, was none other than Mildred Wirt Benson, the first person to earn a master's degree in journalism at Iowa. The excitement caused by their discovery led to the 1993 Nancy Drew Conference, which explored the remarkable passion for Nancy Drew that spans a wide spectrum of American society. The result: a lively collaboration of essays by and interviews with mystery writers, collectors, publishers, librarians, scholars, journalists, and fans which presents a spirited, informative, totally enjoyable tribute to the driver of that blue roadster so many readers have coveted.

Riley Child-Rhymes with Hoosier Pictures Cover

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Riley Child-Rhymes with Hoosier Pictures

James Whitcomb Riley. Illustrated by Will Vawter

First produced in 1890, this charming book includes 39 of James Whitcomb Riley's signature poems, such as "Old Aunt Mary's," "Little Orphant Annie," and "The Raggedy Man." Graced by noted Brown County artist Will Vawter's illustrations of scenes such as "The Nine Goblins," "The Circus Day Parade," and "Barefoot, Hungry, Lean Ornery Boys," Riley Child-Rhymes with Hoosier Pictures recalls simpler times gone by. This Library of Indiana Classics edition reproduces the 1905 edition. A must-have for Riley enthusiasts everywhere, this book offers a look at how childhood was lived a century ago.

Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories about Teens in the Arab
                World Cover

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Santa Claus in Baghdad and Other Stories about Teens in the Arab World

Elsa Marston

What is it like to be a young person in the Arab world today? This lively collection of eight short stories about Arab teenagers living in Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and a Palestinian refugee camp engagingly depicts young people's experiences growing up in the Middle East. The characters, drawn from urban and rural settings and from different classes as well as a mix of countries, confront situations involving friends, family, teachers, and society at large. Along with some specifically Middle Eastern issues, such as strife in Iraq, the hardships of life in a Palestinian refugee camp, and honor crimes, the young people deal with more familiar concerns such as loyalty to friends, overcoming personal insecurities, dreams of a future career, and coping with divorcing parents. Coming of age in a complicated world, they meet life with courage, determination, and, not least of all, humor. With accompanying notes that provide contextual information, Santa Claus in Baghdad brings a fresh perspective to youth literature about the Arab world.

The Shark and the Jellyfish Cover

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The Shark and the Jellyfish

More Stories in Natural History

Stephen Daubert

In this sequel to the acclaimed Threads from the Web of Life, Stephen Daubert presents twenty-six new stories that pull the reader into the mystery and immediacy of ecological processes ranging from the microscopic to the tectonic. Many show surprising intersections of creatures from different realms or the hidden interplay of evolving organisms. These gripping stories contain a level of intimacy and detail not usually encountered in other styles of natural history writing. Praise for the first collection of stories: “Stephen Daubert's Threads from the Web of Life is written in the tradition of Aldo Leopold and Bernd Heinrich. It teaches by drawing you into the drama, excitement, and beauty of nature.” –-Don Glass, host of the NPR-syndicated program “A Moment of Science” “Threads from the Web of Life is a uniquely wide-ranging combination of scientific research and literary imagination that takes the reader on journeys through time and space that even the most elaborate television programs still can’t provide. Stephen Daubert’s grasp of a variety of botanical, zoological, geological, and climatological disciplines is impressive, and he presents them and their interactions with grace and authority.” --David Rains Wallace, author of The Klamath Knot, The Monkey’s Bridge, and Beasts of Eden “Each of these happenings is a thread in the intricate web of life, and Daubert, a molecular scientist at the University of California, Davis, demonstrates that these threads are easily broken by humans. . . . Instructive and entertaining." --Publishers Weekly “Threads from the Web of Life takes readers on a journey around the globe as the author describes unique and unusual ecological processes. It is ideal for casual reading as well as a source of selections to read aloud (!) or to link literature with the study of natural history.” - NSTA Recommends “Highly recommended. . . . The stories are as much enjoyable as they are informative.” - Science Books& Films “In these sixteen stories of the interplay of organisms, weather, and geophysics, many a being succumbs to predation, and many another endures. Evolution happens as species learn the hard way. There is often a tragic element in these fascinating tales. . . . These vivid, poetic tales . . . afford good teaching. Threads from the Web of Life will appeal to any reader whose heart is in the living world.” - ForeWord

Sigurd and His Brave Companions Cover

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Sigurd and His Brave Companions

A Tale of Medieval Norway

Sigrid Undset


Inspired by tales of the hero Vilmund Vidutan and his fellow knights, Sigurd Jonsson and his young friends Ivar and Helge set out to reenact these exploits on their medieval Norwegian farm. They carve swords and lances and spend hours making shields. With a little imagination, a pasture becomes a battlefield, an old boar their greatest foe, and they pass many hours jousting and dueling. But when the summer is nearly over, the three boys stumble into real trouble and must prove their courage in an adventure all their own.


Written during Sigrid Undset’s time in New York, Sigurd and His Brave Companions will make medieval Norway come alive for young and old readers alike.


Slavery in American Children's Literature, 1790-2010 Cover

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Slavery in American Children's Literature, 1790-2010

Paula T. Connolly

Long seen by writers as a vital political force of the nation, children’s literature has been an important means not only of mythologizing a certain racialized past but also, because of its intended audience, of promoting a specific racialized future. Stories about slavery for children have served as primers for racial socialization. This first comprehensive study of slavery in children’s literature, Slavery in American Children’s Literature, 1790–2010, also historicizes the ways generations of authors have drawn upon antebellum literature in their own re-creations of slavery. It examines well-known, canonical works alongside others that have ostensibly disappeared from contemporary cultural knowledge but have nonetheless both affected and reflected the American social consciousness in the creation of racialized images.

Beginning with abolitionist and proslavery views in antebellum children’s literature, Connolly examines how successive generations reshaped the genres of the slave narrative, abolitionist texts, and plantation novels to reflect the changing contexts of racial politics in America. From Reconstruction and the end of the nineteenth century, to the early decades of the twentieth century, to the civil rights era, and into the twenty-first century, these antebellum genres have continued to find new life in children’s literature—in, among other forms, neoplantation novels, biographies, pseudoabolitionist adventures, and neo-slave narratives.

As a literary history of how antebellum racial images have been re-created or revised for new generations, Slavery in American Children’s Literature ultimately offers a record of the racial mythmaking of the United States from the nation’s beginning to the present day. 

A Slave's Tale Cover

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A Slave's Tale

Erik Christian Haugaard

A Slave’s Tale, the sequel to Hakon of Rogen’s Saga, is told from the point of view of a slave girl, Helga, who stows away on the longship when Hakon, the young Viking chieftain, sets sail for France on a voyage to return Rark, a freed slave, to his homeland. The voyagers’ journey is perilous—they narrowly escape capture by an invading fleet, and their ship is severely damaged by a storm. Upon reaching France—where the Vikings are now hated, not feared—only tragedy ensues.

Song of My Life Cover

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Song of My Life

A Biography of Margaret Walker

by Carolyn J. Brown

Margaret Walker (1915–1998) has been described as “the most famous person nobody knows.” This is a shocking oversight of an award-winning poet, novelist, essayist, educator, and activist as well as friend and mentor to many prominent African American writers. Song of My Life reintroduces Margaret Walker to readers by telling her story, one that many can relate to as she overcame certain obstacles related to race, gender, and poverty.

Walker was born in 1915 in Birmingham, Alabama, to two parents who prized education above all else. Obtaining that education was not easy for either her parents or herself, but Walker went on to earn both her master’s and doctorate. from the University of Iowa. Walker’s journey to become a nationally known writer and educator is an incredible story of hard work and perseverance. Her years as a public figure connected her to Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Alex Haley, and a host of other important literary and historical figures.

This biography opens with her family and those who inspired her—her parents, her grandmother, her most important teachers and mentors—all significant influences on her reading and writing life. Chapters trace her path over the course of the twentieth century as she travels to Chicago and becomes a member of the South Side Writers’ Group with Richard Wright. Then she is accepted into the newly created Masters of Fine Arts Program at the University of Iowa. Back in the South, she pursued and achieved her dream of becoming a writer and college educator as well as wife and mother. Walker struggled to support herself, her sister, and later her husband and children, but she overcame financial hardships, prejudice, and gender bias and achieved great success. She penned the acclaimed novel Jubilee , received numerous lifetime achievement awards, and was a beloved faculty member for three decades at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.

The Teller's Tale Cover

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The Teller's Tale

Lives of the Classic Fairy Tale Writers

Intriguing, updated portraits of classic fairy tale authors. This book offers new, often unexpected, but always intriguing portraits of the writers of classic fairy tales. For years these authors, who wrote from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, have been either little known or known through skewed, frequently sentimentalized biographical information. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were cast as exemplars of national virtues; Hans Christian Andersen’s life became—with his participation—a fairy tale in itself. Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, the prim governess who wrote moral tales for girls, had a more colorful past than her readers would have imagined, and few people knew that nineteen-year-old Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy conspired to kill her much-older husband. Important figures about whom little is known, such as Giovan Francesco Straparola and Giambattista Basile, are rendered more completely than ever before. Uncovering what was obscured for years and with newly discovered evidence, contributors to this fascinating and much-needed volume provide a historical context for Europe’s fairy tales.

Telling Children's Stories Cover

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Telling Children's Stories

Narrative Theory and Children's Literature

Edited by Mike Cadden

The most accessible approach yet to children’s literature and narrative theory, Telling Children’s Stories is a comprehensive collection of never-before-published essays by an international slate of scholars that offers a broad yet in-depth assessment of narrative strategies unique to children’s literature. The volume is divided into four interrelated sections: “Genre Templates and Transformations,” “Approaches to the Picture Book,” “Narrators and Implied Readers,” and “Narrative Time.” Mike Cadden’s introduction considers the links between the various essays and topics, as well as their connections with such issues as metafiction, narrative ethics, focalization, and plotting. Ranging in focus from picture books to novels such as To Kill a Mockingbird, from detective fiction for children to historical tales, from new works such as the Lemony Snicket series to classics like Tom’s Midnight Garden, these essays explore notions of montage and metaphor, perspective and subjectivity, identification and time. Together, they comprise a resource that will interest and instruct scholars of narrative theory and children’s literature, and that will become critically important to the understanding and development of both fields.

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