Discuss about the Children Classics and Fiction Structure.
The learning about a child and their associated literature is the childhood literature. The literature has a direct influence on the children and governs the need for questioning the ideologies and concepts that the literature delivers. The children’s literature in its enlightening view values the strength to educate, provide self-cultivation and guidance for the future (Galda, Liang and Cullinan 2016). Children are regarded as the force for good. Their goodness, innocence and vision help to restore the moral norms and well being of the society (Richter 2015). The literature is delivered in a transformative way that helps to improve the social norms and rise the childhood to an advanced level preparing them for the future. The literature on childhood stimulates their imagination, providing them visual experience and enhances the development of language skills (Van Hoorn et al. 2014). The children’s literature provides them a scope to get exposed to diverse languages, develop critical thinking skills and overall development that are the foundations of learning (Van Coillie and Verschueren 2014). The reading of picture books and fictions are the reading strategies that help to know what the words mean and project them through their ideas. The reading of fiction books is a learning strategy that helps them to know the experiences of the characters of the fiction and compare them with their lives (Smith 2015). It is a medium of learning through fun and helps them to appreciate the beauty of language. The popular fiction books like “Charlotte’s Web," “The Witches” and “We Have a Great Task Ahead of Us!” Child-Hate in Roald Dahl’s The Witches is some of the classic fictional books for children that offer to deliver the theme of childhood literature and learn about circumstances and emotions of humans.
Thinking is a road to education and nurturing the early years of childhood is important for them. The fictions help the children to learn about language presentation and skills, inculcate thinking skills and understand the inner truth of different characters depicted in the fiction (Jackson, McGillis and Coats 2013). The fictions help them to know the factors like good, evil, friendship, disappointment, sorrow and other emotions that are depicted through the different fictional characters (Tan and Campbell 2014). The fictions are based on the real life that helps them in their life experiences. It also helps them to know about the diversity of the world and compare them with their life. The fictions are a way of learning in a simple way and teaching them through play. The fictions help in developing imagination, introducing new ideas and part critical thinking in children (Locke 2013). The children learn to consider that books are a source of information and a companion on whom they can completely rely on (Beckett 2013).
During the eighteenth century, the idea of children as a separate category of people and including them in the literature emerged. The childhood was considered as the most crucial and decisive period to prepare them for the next phase of life. The childhood literature provides a supporting medium for correlation between exposure and development of language in their latter life (Lapp et al. 2013). The literature imparts knowledge from different perspectives; some children furnish the books as a way to gain knowledge and deliver that to the world around them (Nikolajeva 2015). Some children relate the stories to their lives or image feelings or conflicts and ways to resolve them. Every book carries different messages and imparts different perspectives. This helps them to develop critical thinking skills and enhance their imagination. It is important for children to get familiar with literature as soon as possible so that they learn to inculcate the literary genres in their life (Lascarides and Hinitz 2013).
The childhood literature provides immense satisfaction to the children as it helps them to learn and apply them in their life. The literature helps the children to access literary sources and make them learn the meaning of the words in the broadest sense (Wolf 2014). From a global perspective, childhood literature is a gruesome activity that is not only decoding the written text but also a child understands the reading and integrates into their life (Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi 2014). The literature on children analyzes the personal experiences in a critical way and makes a stand on what they have read. On deep reading, children are able to land on a real and integrated literary world. The road to literary world through reading fiction books awakes the children to the universe of learning and developing language skills (Harrison 2016). The book reading helps them to identify the real objects that are given in the book and relate them to their daily life. The picture books are the first step to childhood learning (Marantz and Marantz 2014). It develops the skill of a child through symbolic representation (Sipe 2015). This learning is multi-staged; firstly, the child learns to point out objects that interest them, secondly naming of those objects and relating them to their real life. At this point of time, the child’s language becomes narrative. It is not necessary for the child to name the objects rather name the picture’s elements that help to them to make stories relating to their life. Finally, the child can detach himself from the personal life and know the difference between his personal story and the story depicted in the book. Lastly, the child is able to point the set of images in support of their reading and provide narrative language in telling the entire story in the book (Nikolajeva and Scott 2013).
The criticism about childhood literature consists of the general discussions about childhood literature, related theories and literary analyses of childhood literature. The critics in childhood literature are aimed at knowing the learning aspects of the child regarding literature and in recommending books for children (Nelson 2015). Some people argue that books should be child-centric and some argue that the child books should include other disciplines (Oittinen 2014). Some argue that children should not be considered as one group as they have different cultural backgrounds. There are arguments regarding the fact that the children are identities created by their parents and they speak on behalf of their children (Hermans 2014). They do not allow the children to speak and therefore the books are the best way for the children to express their feelings and emotions while conveying their readings. Arguably, the children literature is a source of literature studies addressing the text and not focusing on the targeted audience (McGillis 2013). Some authors specify that the childhood literature is the synthesis of text and depicted through picture books (Bennett and Royle 2016). Concisely, the literature for children is developed from a textual point of view. Some authors also investigate the childhood literature from a cultural perspective.
A child’s unconscious mind is affected by the stories and helps to shape the perceptions while guiding their development. Some children psychoanalysts argue that child literature depicted through pictures in books have an important and everlasting impression on them (Butler and Reynolds 2014). The first five years of a child is crucial for their development of individual characteristics. Their interaction with the picture books has a great impact on their skill development and in providing information regarding their surrounding world (Crane 2014). Some critics of children’s literature say that the books portray the ethnicity and cultural background of the author. They consider books as bias because it is intended to structure and inculcate the values of a particular society to the children through language. They claim that the literature on childhood address children as a social concept. The children's literature forms the basis for their behavior that is socially and culturally accepted by the society. It constructs the child to look and behave in a proper way. The childhood literature ideologies are a way to shape the children in a social construct (Wilkie-Stibbs 2013). The books are a way of internalizing the experiences the children encounter in their real life.
The adults try to exert their control over the children and at the same time they inspire the childhood condition. This ambiguity is resolved in the children’s books that represent a simple world through storytelling and help them to grasp the knowledge at their level (Tilley 2013). It masks the ego of the book’s author and its focus is on the children from a child’s perspective. The children’s literature is identified as variation and repetition. The characters, plots and language patterns are recurring demonstrating repetition in the children’s literature (Read 2014). This repetition is done for depicting it as a pedagogical device that is efficient and the repetition in order to deepen and emphasize the reader’s learning (Coats 2013). The books are aimed at developing ideas and develop critical thinking through the implementation of difficult ideas. The books provide a way for the children to seek information and achieve literacy.
The fictional books are useful for the children to identify the characters of their age, expand their imagination skills beyond their interests and horizon and realize the related problems (Temple, Martinez and Yokota 2015). The children think that the books are all about them. The often relate themselves to the characters in the meanwhile enjoy reading the book comprising of children of their age. The feelings of affection, friendship, hatred and other emotions are projected through the stories in the book. They are able to expand their imaginations beyond the horizon by reading fictional books. The children relate the fictional characters according to their likes and dislike that help to know their personal interests and feelings (Walker, Gopnik and Ganea 2015). The literature books are popular among the children because they think that the books are about them and their life. Below mentioned are some of the famous fictional children books that are aimed at providing classic literature for the children.
A great author Roald Dahl in his book The Witches 2007 uses a child’s perspective to make the readers land in the childhood narrating in the form of first person (Dahl 2007). The theme of youth is discussed in the paper where the book is written for the young people and their point-of-view. There is a lot of talk of youth and the protagonist is young. There is observation of youth from a young person and mature insights into these observations. It is a fantastic children’s novel that describes a young boy’s experiences and his Norwegian grandmother in a secret world where the children are hated by the evil witches. The theme of hate is also depicted in the book that illustrates witches hate children in their truest form and wants to wipe them out. There is hatred theme without any cause. The book tells the story as if it happened to the author. In some parts of the story, the narrator addresses in second person telling the witch are living next door. Although, the narrator just narrates his story with referring to others. This kind of narration is important in children’s literature as the readers are able to read the story from a child’s perspective and it would be scary as well as exhilarating. The first person narration is helpful for the children to add wonder to the story and be close to the narration as much as possible. The story helps to relate to those people who had experienced witches. The story is about the witches described by his grandmother as horrific creatures who are intended to kill children. She also tells her grandson that there were five children who were cursed by the witches and how to recognize those children. She demonstrated that the witches take the shape of human women and act like human beings. She described the witches as bald headed with wigs, clawed hands hidden under the gloves, large nostrils, blue spit and toe less foot that makes them hard to wear pretty shoes. She also informed the young boy that English witches is cruellest and notorious turning children into creatures that are loathsome killed by unsuspecting adults. This also depicts the theme of hatred and witches hate children and want to get rid of them turning into other creatures.
There is criticism regarding the book as different authors suspect it from different perspective. Some authors consider the book as misogyny and some critics considered it as sexist as the book depicts to develop boys into men who learn to hate women (Roy 2013). Some critics say that the book directs to belittle women and to make them portray as evil human beings. Arguably, some authors say that the book represents a balanced message that projects learning from past surface inspirations (Cheetham 2016). The book “The Witches” qualifies in writing for the children as from the beginning the readers are able to point out the witch and avoid being caught by it (Richter 2015). This imparts fun to the children as well as adults while reading it. The book beautifully balances the adventure and fantasy. The theme of awe and amazement is exhibited in this book in certain chapters when little boys or girls are turned into mice. Every statement ends with an exclamation and narrator is enthralled by his Grandma’s witch’s stories. It also leaves the readers in awe and amazement by depicting a world where witches live and readers have shock reactions for it. There is a sense of awe as the author writing style is flashy with unbelieving tone and vocabulary. Adventure is exciting as well as risky. Fantasy is something that does not exist in real world. In the beginning, the narrator has made it clear that it is not a fairy tale. The story makes the readers land in a world where witches exist and they turn little boys into mice. When the narrator says that the witches have blue saliva, it depicts excitement and curiosity in the minds of the readers. The book also depicts pangs of laughter when he mentions that he could hear shrieks of laughter when stuck in the cook’s pant leg. The main theme discussed in this piece of literary is transformation. The witches change the little boys and girls into slugs, chickens and oil painting figures and mice. This physical transformation theme is depicted in this story illustrating that there is no internal or emotional transformation attached with it. The author, Roald Dahl says that it is not only transforming one from inside, but changing for the betterment is actually called physical transformation.
Roald Dahl has a light-hearted attitude that provides enjoyment to the readers and at times feelings of violence and darkness. The theme of violence is depicted in the narrator when poisoned with mouse-maker. The witches in the book taught about different violent ways on how they kill the children, although it is light-hearted. It is written in a playful way and is very popular among children as it is funny and enjoyable. He used colourful similes while describing the witches that strike a reader’s imagination and makes sense as the readers are not familiar with those similes (Dalton et al. 2016). Roald Dahl is emphatic as he repeats the important ideas in various forms. He used words like rasped, scraped, grated; growled and shrieked that depicts the witch’s voice. These repetitive words put emphasis and make pictures vivid. It also helps the readers to picture the world where strange things do happen. The author is successful in drawing the attention of the readers by lightning up words and lands them into a fantastical world that the author was intended to create (Van Coillie and Verschueren 2014).
The title of the “The Witches” is just apt in conveying the message and spot attention of the readers towards the witches that he was aimed at. It is a simple book and there is no twisting plots, deep thoughts or complex characters. He was good in making up words that recognize his style of writing like frumptious, tom fiddling, fantabulous and blabber snitch. These words are easy to figure out Dahl’s style of writing (Astiti 2016). The book is a smooth ride and clearly a success in explicating emotions and excitement that the author wished for. The narrator introduces the book with a world where real witches exist. Therefore, he was successful in transforming the readers to a new world and in recognizing them. The book helps to impart literature to the children by enhancing vocabulary through repetition of words, helps them to be imaginative and in expressing their feelings and emotions. The children are scared when they discover that the witches are killing children that was a big issue in the book (Treglown 2016). The theme of fear is also discussed in the book where children are feared of things and when humans are turned into mice or other creatures. Moreover, the story opens with Grandma’s real-life experiences and fear of unknown that scares the children while hearing stories.
The book “The Witches” also encounters complication in which The Grand High Witch turns the boy into a mouse that makes tough for the narrator to solve the initial problem of the witches killing the children. The main theme of the book is physical transformation where changing oneself from within is not enough, one has to change for better and not only any kind of internal or emotional transformation. The book also imparts climax to the readers when the Mouse-Maker formula transformed the witches into mice when they had their food mixed with it. In the next moment, the witches become crazy trying to kill each other with knives and created chaos. This creates suspense and excitement in the readers. The suspense is experienced much before the climax when he narrates the Mouse-Maker formula in the food leaving the readers to wonder what is going to happen next. There is also denouncement shown as after the climax when the readers are relaxed and calmed down; then the narrator reveals that witches are still there. Concisely, the book “The Witches” by Roald Dahl is a popular book among children and has a unique style of writing. It has a lot of rhyming and the author is successful in conveying what the characters are like. Moreover, the book is taught us that we should not judge people by their appearance as the Grand High Witch seemed pretty outside but it was a different story inside (Dahl 2007).
Similarly, another famous book Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White 1963 is also a tender novel that is liked by the children (White 1963). The story is about a pig named Wilbur and his friend spider named Charlotte. Charlotte writes messages in her web praising Wilbur when he was in danger of getting slaughtered by the farmer. It is a classic children’s literature and was the best selling among children. The main theme in the paper is admiration. There is so much fun when Wilbur enjoys attention when Charlotte weaves the words in the web. Wilbur gets the attention and extra slop with lots of admirers. However, the admiration is not only about games and funs it also means survival. When Wilbur get great attention, his owners want him to live. The book tells about various aspects of life like love, friendship, life and death that people could relate to their life. There is theme of friendship where Charlotte and Wilbur are great friends. They were loyal to each other and made sacrifices for their friendship. The theme of friendship shows us that friendship is important and it is everlasting as it was depicted in the book after Charlotte was gone. It describes the natural world very well and the creatures in the novel talk. Wilbur is fascinated by the way Charlotte catches her prey but she can talk like humans. Fern, daughter of John who was Wilbur’s first owner was capable of understanding the conversation of non-humans. It beautifully depicted the survival of the fittest in nature. When Fern was worried about Wilbur getting cold, her father said that there is nothing to worry and watches what he does. Wilbur with the help of his snout dug a tunnel inside the straw in order to keep him warm. When the words first appear on the web, people considered it a miracle but the web was a miracle. There is theme of communication and language when the spider is coming with new words and influential language. It made a great impact when the words were written on the spider’s web. Although, readers have no idea how the words were written, however the written language on the web was powerful and made a great impact on the readers. The novel also showed the beautiful change in nature. Wilbur was born during the renewal season spring and Charlotte died during autumn. The them eof time is extra important in the farm where the Zuckermans and Arables paid attention to the changing annoying seasons. When the things are growing, they have to look for the farm tasks in the spring. Another job comes up when farmers have to prepare for fall, winter having a lot of work. This changing season was bad for Wilbur, the pig as he was going to be food for winter. This depicts that time was not on Wilbur’s side and also not on anyone’s side.
The novel showed theme of friendship between Charlotte and Wilbur. Charlotte saved the life of Wilbur by writing words on her web. She also showed immense love for Wilbur and wrote words on her miraculous web to save Wilbur’s life. In all these aspects, White beautifully depicted the combination of skilled writing and a heart that are the essentials of a writer. The ending of the story was heart drenching when Charlotte died leaving a gift for Wilbur and the author White leaves a gift for the readers. Both of them die leaving an impression in the heart of the readers through their crafted words. The readers could sense the spider Charlotte speak in human language weaving words in her web that shows creativity and a big heart of Charlotte. The novel shows that words should be read with a fresh perspective always and that makes the novel more exciting to read. The use of third person depicting omniscient depicting what the characters are thinking and when Charlotte died we get to feel the sad moment and be with her. The book contains lots of young kids and growing animals that are well enjoyed by the young children (White 1963).
Some authors criticized the book saying that the book is unsentimental depicting life and death (Johnson 2014). The egg sac of Charlotte shows that the nature replenishes itself and it is a sign of renewal. The theme of perseverance is also depicted where it says that if you do not succeed at first, try repeatedly. In the book, many characters work hard when the times are tough. Charlotte works hard on her web and tries to save Wilbur’s life. The tone of the book is just perfect as during Charlotte’s death the tone becomes more sympathetic. The readers feel sad when Charlotte is dying and she should live as she is having a good heart. The book gives a detailed description of the five senses overdriving with words like monkey wrenches, lawn mowers, grinders, ax handles, water buckets and many other kinds of stuff to visualize in describing the barn. This use of sensory style gives us a detailed analysis and repetitions that are useful in understanding the real life farm (Caldwell et al. 2016). Moreover, the animals talking in the story is also exhilarating. The Charlotte's web with words like "some pig," "radiant," "terrific" and "humble" have a great impact on the storyline and is amazing to read and imagine. The Charlotte’s web is a game-changer and saves the life of Wilbur, the pig from being slaughtered. The story has a bitter as well as sweet ending. It has a happy and a sad part at the end. Charlotte dies at the end making the readers sad and has children that color the readers happy with lots of new baby spiders. The theme of mortality was depicted when Charlotte died and left the readers in shock thinking that Wilbur might end up as dinner for Christmas. This theme explains that there is fighting for the good and accepting the fate as it is. This theme explains that death is inevitable and part of life that does not last forever. The story starts with Wilbur’s birth during the spring and ends with the death of Charlotte in autumn that depicts the circle of life and death. The last paragraph reminds us that though there are new spiders but nobody could replace Charlotte spider as she is kind and brave. At the end of the story, Wilbur is happy with new spiders but also sad as Charlotte is gone.
E.B. White used simple language and words that are easy to understand and makes the story easy to understand. As the story talks about death a lot, some critics considered the tale as a bit downer. The story is well written depicting roller coaster ride of the human emotions like rising and falling actions. When Wilbur was about to get slaughtered by the farmer, it imparts feelings of fear and suspense in the minds of the readers. At last, when Charlotte dies, the readers feel sympathetic and sad. The story had a climax when Wilbur's life was saved. The story showed strong theme of bonds of friendship between Wilbur and Charlotte. The friendship between Wilbur and Fern is appreciating and inseparable. When Wilbur fails to spin the web, it showed Charlotte and Wilbur is different in their genetic makeup and will follow different paths of life. The novel also showed the inevitable loss and that every creature will die one day and veils the truth of life that life is solitary. The Charlotte’s character conveys the message that good deeds make life worth living and without love life is empty (Ratelle 2014). There is theme of coming of age as there is depiction of growing of two different character types that is not easy. For Wilbur, being an animal, growing up means making new friends and learning to stand on one’s own feet. Fern growing up means spending time with friends and spending less time with animals. All the characters depicted different story with their own difficulties.
“We Have a Great Task Ahead of Us!”: Child-Hate in Roald Dahl’s The Witches is a book written by Curtis 2014 spoke about the maltreatment of children by adults (Curtis 2014). The hatred of children is illustrated in the book “The Witches” by Roald Dahl is an eye opener depicting the explicit child hatred. Roald Dahl not only showed the hatred of children but also characterized the grandmother who valued the stages of childhood. The themes of transformation, awe and amazement, violence, hatred, youth, fear are beautifully illustrated in the book by Dahl. Moreover, Dahl narrated that the child hatred is not extinct but a prevailing phenomenon. This hatred is masked by benevolence. Dahl also illustrated child protection and hatred in his book “The Witches” that is a central concern in children’s literature. He also narrated the ambivalent treatment of the child protagonist and audience. The grandmother of the young child in the book “The Witches” is very sensitive while handling her grandson. Dahl also conveyed that the people have moved to a culture where children are valued and at times considered as sacred. The culture teaches us to value the childhood phase and treat every stage of childhood with empathy.
The witches hidden under the beautifully dressed women illustrated that people are masked under the veil of goodness hating children. The novel also depicted the cruel and abusive measures of the witches in the treatment of the children. These measures give an indication of the cruel treatment of the adults towards the children. Curtis argued that child hatred is hidden in the process of acting well for the child’s interest which is a present danger. Curtis also proved that Dahl exposes the frustration of the adults in admiring and maltreating them because of which the children are not able to regain their innocence. The extreme hatred and neglect by the witches take the form of child hatred. The grandmother countered this feeling where she is empathetic towards her grandson and listens to his ideas and opinions. The troubling connection between the child protection and hatred is uncovered by the book as pointed out by Curtis. This ambivalence is troubling for the adults while treating the children (Curtis 2014).
The childhood literature is important for their development of the cognitive skills and ensures creativity and emotional intelligence. The childhood studies and literature focuses on the child’s desires and experiences in the human world. It also helps them to project their opinions and views about a particular topic. The children books are a medium of studying the childhood dilemmas in a world where adults do not hear the calls of a child’s distress. The childhood literature is helpful in providing knowledge to the children and assists them in transferring the gained knowledge to the world. The children portray an image of their daily life or the emotions and conflicts they experience. The children books help them to learn about literary genres and therefore it is important for the children to get familiar with them as soon as possible in their life. A deeply rooted reading and complete education would help the children to advance to the next level of life. Famous books like “The Witches” by Roald Dahl, “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White and “We Have a Great Task Ahead of Us!”: Child-Hate in Roald Dahl’s The Witches by Curtis are popular books among the children explicating excellent literature and childhood education. These books are written well depicting a child’s feelings, emotions and experiences that are important to study the child psychology and behavior.
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