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Exploring Children's Literature


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Table of Contents

Developing Personal Knowledge about Books Reading for Purpose and Pleasure Reading and Responding Narrative, Narration and Structure Aspects of Narrative: Character, Setting and Themes Traditional Stories and Fairy Tales Fantasy and Realism Time and Place in Children's Fiction Words and Pictures The Pleasure of Poetry Reviewing Book Provision and Policy: Schools and Classrooms

About the Author

Nikki Gamble is Director of Just Imagine, an organisation which seeks to promote literacy using high-quality children's literature. Formerly a university lecturer and teacher, Nikki has worked in education for 40 years. She continues to work in schools on research and development projects. Nikki is co-author of the awards winning Guiding Readers: layers of meaning (UKLA Academic Book of the Year 2017).


'Nikki Gamble's love of children's books, extensive knowledge and respect for authors and their craft all come together in this latest edition.

For children to become lifelong readers, they need teachers who love reading and are confident in exploring themes and ideas that are crucial in quality children's literature. This book supports both the experienced teacher and those new to the profession in encouraging informed and enthusiastic readers'
- Liz Chamberlain, University of Winchester

'Nikki Gamble's revised edition of this key text is informed and comprehensive in its coverage of subject knowledge of children's literature as well as addressing current priorities in the reading curriculum.

Nikki Gamble's new edition of Exploring Children's Literature is as well written and informed as ever. With extended chapters and current priorities addressed, this text continues to be an essential addition to all educators interested in the place of children's books in the reading curriculum.

Professionals and student teachers alike will respond to Gamble's passion and understanding of the role that children's books play in today's reading curriculum. A key text for all those interested in children's books and their role in fostering a love of reading'
-Pamela Lewis, University of Brighton

'Essential reading for every teacher, student and qualified. Whilst the primary intention of the text is to support student teachers in developing a deep knowledge and understanding of children's literature, essential to promoting reading for pleasure and purpose, this is a text that should be freely available in every staffroom. I have recommended it to students since its first edition, and incorporated a number of its suggested activities into my taught courses. I particularly welcome the increased emphasis on reading for pleasure in this third edition'
- Liz Broad, PGCE Primary Programme Leader, Kingston University School of Education

Praise for the First Edition:

'[T]his book provides a comprehensive and readable exploration of the topic of children's literature for both the specialist and the interested general reader'

- Literacy
'[This] book covers everything from picture books to poetry and every conceivable kind of fiction and informs all key stages. It gives children's literature the deserved courtesy of reading it in the context of modern critical theory...[and] guides us brilliantly through the riches of literacy experience as learning'
- English Drama Media
'This book is primarily designed for student teachers and gives an excellent overview of the wide range of texts that children can and should be expected to encounter in school...It is a fascinating read for those of us who continue to be interested in children's literature'
- Speaking English

This is a useful guide for teachers who want to look at children's literature beyond the mechanics of reading. It provides useful updated subject knowledge and ideas for activities: vital for teachers who want to know more about the subjects they teach in order to enthuse and engage young readers. -- Branwen Bingle

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