Department of English

University of Toronto

CCR199H1F - L0192

CCR199H1F L0192 R2-4
First Year Seminar: Canadian Children's Books: The Groundwood Archive
Professor Deirdre Baker
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Jackman Humanities Building, Room 829

Brief Description of Course: This course focuses on documents relating to a particular children’s publisher, Groundwood Books and addresses some of the following questions: 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. Close literary analysis and attention to diction, phrasing, rhetorical figures etc. are central to this course’s methods.

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

First Three Authors/Texts: TBA

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

Method of Evaluation: Prose analysis, document study, short presentation, research project and essay, class discussion.

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