RLA 525: Children S Literature: the Art of the Picture Book

RLA 525: Children S Literature: the Art of the Picture Book

RLA 525: Children’s Literature: The Art of the Picture Book

Eastern Connecticut State University

Summer I, 3 Credits

Tuesday & Thursday, 4-7:20 p.m., May 26-July 2, 2009

Webb 113

Dr. Susannah Richards

ECSU Phone: (860) 465-5210

Office Hours: By appointment or call me 860-429-9633 (h) or 860-985-5226 (c)

Course Description

An exploration of the picture book and its role in the lives and education of children. Includes the history of the picture book as well as a study of picture book styles, art elements and artistic media and techniques, authors and illustrators, classroom connections and children's response to picture book

Course Purpose

The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of the parts of the picture book, the world of publishing a picture book and strategies to use picture books with students.

Learning Outcomes/Course Objectives

Students will:

  1. Identify and define the components of the picture book.
  2. Establish and utilize criteria to critique the relationship of text and illustrations in creating the picture book.
  3. Establish and implement criteria to critically evaluate picture books as a whole.
  4. Develop, identify and implement strategies to connect kids and picture books.
  5. Evaluate and implement strategies to use picture books to enhance and strengthen content area learning at the elementary and secondary school level.
  6. Identify and evaluate print, human, and electronic sources for information about picture book titles and how to incorporate the picture books to support students to read and meaningful engage with picture books to increase achievement.
  7. Recognize and summarize major awards that recognize quality picture books including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Ezra Jack Keats, and other awards.
  8. Identify and integrate distinguished picture books that reflect and support diversity.
  9. Develop significant knowledge about children's book creators including Mitsumasa Anno, Molly Bang, Quentin Blake, Ashley Bryan, Nancy Ekholm Burket, Eric Carle, Tomie dePaola, Jane Dyer, Mordicai Gerstein, Trina Schart Hyman, Robert Ingpen, Steven Kellogg, Betsy Lewin, Leo Lionni, Petra Mathers, Wendell Minor, Barry Moser, Jerry Pinkney, Alice Provensen, Robert Sabuda & Matthew Reinhart, Maurice Sendak, David Shannon, Lane Smith, Gennady Spirin, Chris Van Allsburg, Rosemary Wells, David Wiesner, & Paul O. Zelinsky.
  10. Develop a plan to present information on picture books students, parents, and or colleagues.

For a comprehensive description of each standard please visit:

Connecticut Common Core of Teaching (CCTE)


NCATE IRA and NCTE Standards

INTASC Principles

ECSU Education Unit

IRA / NCTE / NCATE / INTASC / CCTE / ECSU Education Unit
2.3.1-2.3.4 / 3.1: 3.5-3.5.4; 4.1-4.8 / Standard 4b / Principles 1-10 / ELA I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII / Content Knowledge; Diversity

Standards for English Language Arts (NCTE/IRA)

While the course will address all of the standards in course activities, the focus will be on these standards.

  • (#1) Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • (#2)Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
  • (#3) Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • (#6) Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.
  • (#9) Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.

CT Position on Language Arts Relevant Standards


A quality language arts education should therefore be part of the core curriculum for all Connecticut

students. PreK-12 language arts education program should enable students to achieve the goals and standards outlined in Connecticut’s Common Core of Learning and the Connecticut Language Arts Framework.

By the end of high school, all graduates should be able to:

Develop and communicate informed opinions through reading, interpreting and evaluating various texts;

Read and respond to a variety of authors, texts and genres, and share responses to extend understanding and enjoyment;

communicate with others to create interpretations and evaluations of written, oral and visual text; and

appreciate the influence that contemporary and classical artists and authors have on human thought.

Teachers and schools play an essential role in ensuring quality language arts education by:

providing a quality language arts program which includes reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing;

setting high expectations for all students to ensure earlier and more equitable opportunities to

learn to read and write;

 providing a rigorous study of language arts skills and concepts and their applications to reading and writing in real-world contexts;

creating classrooms that are rich learning environments that foster literacy in all students;

providing more active student involvement with language arts, including: reading and writing that relate to students’ current world and their future career needs and

demands; and using a variety of skills to foster effective communication and lifelong love of reading and writing;

fostering more systematic and appropriate use of technological tools to enhance instruction in

language arts;

providing students with evaluations that are continuous and based on many sources of evidence;

using a variety of teaching strategies to guide students in developing literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities;

serving as role models in speaking and writing.

Required Texts

Artists to artist: 23 major illustrators talk to their children about their art. (2007). New York: Philomel.

Bang, M. (2000). Picture this: Perception & composition. New York: SeaStar.

Evans, D. (2008). Show and tell: Exploring the fine art of children’s book illustration. San Francisco: Chronicle.

Supplemental Readings

Lima, C., & Lima, J. (2006). A to zoo: Subject access to children's picture books. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

Marcus, L. S. (1998). A Caldecott celebration: seven artists and their paths to the Caldecott Medal. New York: Walker.

Marcus, L. S. (2007). Golden legacy: How Golden Books won children’s hearts, changed publishing, forever, and became an American icon along the way. New York: Random House.

Marcus, L. S. (2007). Pass it down: Five picture-book families make their mark. New York: Walker.

Developmental Considerations in Selecting Books for Children at

What makes a good young children’s book located at

Guidelines for Creating Your Own Award at

Top Ten Picture Books of All Time at

Online anthologies of Little Red Riding Hood, Charles Perrault (early 1700’s); Cinderella, or the Glass Slipper, Charles Perrault, Aschenputtel (Cinderella), Brothers Grimm (mid 1800’s)Little Red Cap, Brothers Grimm,The Frog Prince, Brothers Grim, Blue Beard, Charles PerraultThe Girl and the Wolf, James Thurber (1939) The Little Mermaid, Hans Christian AndersonHansel and Gretel, Brothers Grimm Rumpelstiltskin, Brothers Grimm The Little Match Girl, Hans Christian Anderson (mid-late 1800’s)file://localhost/from http/::stenzel.ucdavis.edu:180:anthology:default.html

Internet Resources

Organization/Title / URL
International Reading Association /
National Council of Teachers of English /
Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development /
Read, Write, Think /
Reading Rockets /
TeachingBooks /
Charlotte Zolotow /
Children's Book Council /
Connecticut’s Blueprint for Reading Achievement /
New Literacies /
Picturing Books /
Vandergrift’s Reader Response Criticism /
Bookplates and More /
Picturing Picture Books /
What makes a good young picture book /
NY Times Best Illustrated Books 2008 /
E.B. White Read Aloud Award /
Picture Books Through Time /
Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art /
Picture Book Design /
Picture Book Glossary of Terms /
Picture Book Database at Miami University /
Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black for Excellence in Children’s Literature /

Picture Book Creators (Note: These creators are not featured in the course texts)

RLA 525, Summer 2009, page 1


Verna Aardema

Graeme Base

Ludwig Bemelmans

Michael Bond

Jan Brett

Margaret Wise Brown

Anthony Browne

Virginia Lee Burton

Margaret Chodos-Irvine

Joanna Cole

Barbara Cooney

Floyd Cooper

Donald Crews

Doreen Cronin


Leo and Diane Dillon

Lois Ehlert

Ed Emberley

Mem Fox

Wanda Gag

Stephen Gammell

Gail Gibbons

Bob Graham

Emily Gravett

Eloise Greenfield

Robie Harris

Kevin Henkes

Steve Jenkins

Ezra Jack Keats

Eric Kimmel

William Joyce

Norton Juster

Barbara Lehman

Helen Lester

Ted Lewin

E. B. Lewis

Grace Lin

Anita Lobel

Arnold Lobel

James Marshall

Bill Martin, Jr.

Barbara McClintock

Robert McCloskey

Gerald McDermott

Emily Arnold McCully

Kate McMullan

Susan Meddaugh

Lynn Munsinger

Jon Muth

Iona Opie

Helen Oxenbury

Beatrix Potter

Chris Raschka

Marc Simont

Robert San Souci

Allen Say

William Steig

Janet Stevens

James Stevenson

Mark Teague

Bernard Waber

Vera B. Wiliams

Mo Willems

Karma Wilson

Audrey & Don Wood

Jane Yolen

Ed Young

Charlotte Zolotow

RLA 525, Summer 2009, page 1

Technology: All writing should be word-processed. Papers should be double-spaced with one-inch margins and 12-point font. The ability to communicate by e-mail and send electronic documents by Word attachment will facilitate the dissemination of class specific information and conversation. The use of the Internet is an important resource for all writing and presentation projects. The Eastern library is a valuable source of electronically based information. You should check Vista regularly, at least once a week between classes, and are accountable for engaging in learning through WebCT activities.

Global Perspective:Regular discussions will occur to place the learning of this course into a global perspective. As members of a multi-cultural and diverse nation, students will initiate and respond to conversations about the implications of course topics to the health and well being to the world community.

Attendance and Participation: As our community of learners develops, your regular and punctual attendance is crucial to your success and the success of others in this course. Come to class prepared to participate. I will do my part to have your learning be meaningful, hands-on, and participatory. If you miss a class, you are responsible for the material that was covered. If you will miss more than one class, you may have to complete a relevant assignment to demonstrate your understanding of the material. The following rubric will be used as a guideline for evaluating your participation in class.

Grading Scale

RLA 525, Summer 2009, page 1

RLA 525, Summer 2009, page 1

94-100 A





77-79 C+


70-73 C-




RLA 525, Summer 2009, page 1


Class participation (including WebCT) & disposition20%

(10 points for live class and 10 points for WebCT)

This includes complete the two student responsibilities (participating in a literary event and registering for TeachingBooks.net).

Assignment Total80%

AssignmentsPercentage of Grade

Assignment #120%

The World of the Caldecott

Due June 2, 2009

The Caldecott Award is the most coveted award for a picture book. Each year hundreds of books are considered by the 15-member Caldecott Award Committee elected or appointed by the Association of Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. Your task in this assignment is to consider the elements that the committee would have considered for the books that won the Caldecott Medal and Honor Medals for a particular year. You may find the criteria for the award at You may also want to read the press releases for annual Press Conference at the Midwinter meeting when the awards are announced.

  • Review a list of the Caldecott award and honor books for one year between 1990-2008, choose one year and read all of the books that were named Award or Honor books for that year. Remember that the books that won in a year were published in the previous year.

Assignment #220%

Picture Book Creator Presentation

Due June 18, 2009

Identify a children’s picture book creator who is NOT featured in Artist to Artist, Show & Tell or Molly Bang, author and illustrator of Picture This. Research that children’s book creator and present a

The total presentation will be 10 minutes including at least 5 minutes for questions and discussion. You want to make sure that you share information about the children’s book creator, You will need to provide a one page (double-sided) handout to accompany the presentation. This should include basic biographical information, a bibliography of works by the picture book creator, a list of resources (print and electronic for information on the picture book creator, and teaching suggestions. You will post this on WebCT.

Assignment #320%

Choose one (1) of the following.

Due June 25, 2009

  • Review the Children’s Notable Books list for one year between 2000-2009 (available at and read all of the picture books on the list and present a table that includes the bibliographic information for the text and a 1-2 sentence summary of the book, an analysis of the book as a whole (story, text and illustrations) and 3-5 suggestions for how to use the book to support student learning.
  • Using the criteria from Picture This, analyze 10 picture books in terms of how the illustrations work.
  • Identify a grade level and plan an outline for picture books to share with students.
  • Identify a grade level between 4-8th grade and locate at least 24 picture books to supplement the curriculum. The books may be used to introduce concepts, units, or lessons.
  • Choose one picture book from each decade-1950, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and the 2000s and present an analysis of the changing nature of the picture book. Be sure to address how the production of picture books has changed.
  • Create your own 32-page picture book with text and illustration.

Assignment #425%

Picture Book Library Development

Due July 2, 2009

Locate and read at least 25 (twenty-five) picture books and provide an analysis of each of the picture books that includes:

  • Bibliographic information for each book
  • Analysis of the picture book with regard to the text and the illustrations
  • Strategies to connect the book and children
  • Discussion techniques to help students make text and text, text-self, text, to world connections.

Student Responsibilities

1.) As part of your participation in this class, you need to participate in at least one (1) children's activity/event and share a brief description (2-3 minute presentation on the highlights) of the event with the class before July 1, 2009.

Suggested activities include:

Visit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (exit 19 off Interstate 91 in Amherst, MA) and view the three exhibits as well as visiting the reading library and the art room. For more information visit

  • Birthday Bash and Children's Book Festival
    with Western Massachusetts Illustrators’ Guild
    June 13, 2009
    10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Free with Museum Admission
    Celebrate, connect and create!
    In honor of Eric Carle’s 80th birthday and the 25th anniversary of the
    Western Massachusetts Illustrators' Guild (WMIG), The Carle is hosting a day
    filled with book-signings, readings, demonstrations, hands-on activities,
    music, raffle, silent auction, art sale, and an exhibit of original art by
    some of New England’s favorite illustrators.

Visit Orchard House (Louisa May Alcott's home) in Concord, MA or another literary home such as Mark Twain house in Hartford, CT.

Attend a presentation on children's literature and or on strategies to support students to connect with literature. Visit for more information.

Attend a workshop or a presentation at the Eric Carle Museum. Visit for workshop schedules.

Spent 1-1/2 hours in bookstore/library reading and reviewing children's and young adult books published from 2003-2009 and talking to the children’s book buyer or librarian about trends in children’s and young adult books.

Attend a presentation by a children's/young adult author/illustrator.

Participate in a web-based interview of a children's/young adult author/illustrator.

Interview an author/illustrator of children's picture book creator.

2.) Subscribe to TeachingBooks.net. This is free to ECSU students and you should set up your subscription before June 1, 2009.

Information on the TeachingBooks subscription
(Be sure to enroll and make use of this wonderful resource.)

Eastern Connecticut State University has purchased a license to TeachingBooks.net for everyone associated with Eastern CT State Univ. to freely use TeachingBooks from school, home or library.
COMPLETE EDUCATOR ACCESS: Click on the following link and fill out the profile for unlimited access to customized and comprehensive K-12 book and author materials:

Or, easily access thousands of author programs, book guides, book readings and author websites without registering by visiting:

Password = ECSU
TeachingBooks.net is a diverse and constantly growing online collection of author programs and K-12 book-related materials.

  • Original movies revealing the book creation processes (filmed in the studios of award-winning authors and illustrators!),
  • Audio excerpts of professional book readings, and
  • Book guides and engaging resources, which span thousands of children's, YA and non-fiction titles.

Available online, anytime, all TeachingBooks materials facilitate the discussion and integration of books throughout the K-12 curriculum.