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Reading Children’s Literature

Many of us have a book we read or had read to us when we were children that shaped us in important ways. We may revisit these stories with our children as parents, grandparents, teachers and in other roles. We may also turn to children’s books for the joy and deep truths they offer us throughout life. This course returns adult readers to those roots and asks questions about the meaning and purpose of children’s literature. The serious study of children’s literature is a relatively new phenomenon in academia. Children’s literature expert Joshua Eyler, Ph.D., serves as this course’s guide, exploring how literary analysis and personal meaning can illuminate this powerful genre. Join us for a journey through Oz, Pooh Corner, the Sahara, medieval England, Hogwarts and 1950’s Georgia, all the way back to your own childhood.

Topics will include the following:

  • L. Frank Baum, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”
  • A. A. Milne, “The House at Pooh Corner”
  • Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “The Little Prince”
  • T. H. White, “The Sword in the Stone”
  • J. K. Rowling, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”
  • Cynthia Kadohata, “Kira-Kira”


Joshua Eyler, Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and an adjunct associate professor of humanities at Rice University. Dr. Eyler was previously a faculty member in English at Columbus State University in Georgia. Later he served as affiliate associate professor of English at George Mason University, where he also worked as associate director of the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence. He has published broadly on medieval literature and children’s literature. His eclectic research interests include Oz, Chaucer and disability studies.

Course Details

Daytime Reading Children’s Literature
  • Joshua Eyler, Ph.D.
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Six meetings
March 7-April 11
Day of the Week
Course Format
0.9 CEUs
Time of Day
1-2:30 p.m.
Tuition Fee
If registering by Feb. 21: $180
After Feb.21: $190
For Rice alumni: $171