Department of English

University of Toronto

CCR199H1F L0901

CCR199H1F    L0191   R2-4 
1st Year Seminar: Canadian Children’s Books: the Groundwood Archive
Professor Deirdre Baker
Office Location: JHB 829
Email address: df.baker@utoronto.ca  
Office Hours and/or Leave Status: TBA.

Brief Description of Course: What goes into the creation of Canadian children’s literature? Do children’s books emerge illustrious and complete from the brains of their creators? How might a publisher’s ideals change over time? We’ll use the Groundwood Archives and other holdings in the Osborne Collection at Toronto Public Library to explore these questions. Original manuscripts, illustrations, drafts, editorial correspondence, design decisions, reviews, fan letters — we’ll look at them all in relation to works by some of Canada’s foremost writers and illustrators for kids (Brian Doyle, Marie-Louise Gay, Sarah Ellis etc.). How do the publisher’s aesthetic and political aims, its ideas about children and the market, play out in the works it produces? How do the behind-the-scenes conversations between writers, artists, editors and designers affect work that ultimately becomes formative for young readers? What can reviews, fan letters and post-publication material tell us about Canadian culture for children? Part of this course will take place in the Osborne Collection, where we’ll be doing hands-on, original research.

Required Reading: Picture books, children’s and YA novels TBA.

First Three Authors/Texts: TBA.

Method of Instruction: Lecture, discussion, and guided research in the Groundwood archive in the Osborne Collection, Toronto Public Library. 

Method of Evaluation: Short essay, short presentation, research essay, class discussion.


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