Children's Literature

ENGL 237/3.0

This online English course is a critical study of literature written for children or appropriated by adults for the nursery. The emphasis will be on distinguishing the characteristics and cultural significance of a variety of works from the medieval to the modern period.


This course takes as its focus the history of children's literature in Britain from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, with an emphasis on nineteenth-century works for children.

The first half of the course concentrates on texts included in the anthology From Instruction to Delight and on John Bunyan's seventeenth-century allegory The Pilgrim's Progress, and is designed to survey the development of a literature shaped specifically for children from its beginnings to the Golden Age of the nursery in the mid-nineteenth century.

The second half of the course will explore one dominant genre in children's literature of the twentieth century: fantasy. Central to our study will be an examination of the construction of childhood across the centuries, consideration of the intersections and relationships between literature, politics, philosophy, commerce, religion, economics, art, and other cultural sites, and an investigation of the dynamic between literature written for adult audiences and books read by children.

As we work through our course we will interrogate hackneyed clichés and popular assumptions such as that the primary function of books read by children (past or present) is to stimulate the imagination of the child, that children's literature is simplistic, conservative, or moral, and that children are naturally sweet, innocent little angels.


This course is a critical study of literature written for children or appropriated by adults for the nursery. The emphasis will be on developing critical reading and writing skills, and on distinguishing the characteristics and cultural significance of a variety of works from the medieval to the post-modern period.


  • A sample exam is included in the course notes, and exams for previous sessions available through the Exambank are equally indicative of the kind of exam you can expect to write for this course.
  • Students who lack the pre-requisite must contact the Department of English Chair of Undergraduate Studies (, tel 613-533-2153 or 613-533-6000 ext. 74402).
  • If the course is full, students should check SOLUS frequently for space availability; the course instructor cannot add students to a fully-subscribed course, nor can she add students who lack a pre-requisite or other requirement. The last date to add a Fall course is September 20, 2013. For more information, please call 613-533-3322.


Winter 2017
Course Dates: 
Jan 9 - Apr 7, 2017
Exam Dates: 
Apr 13 - 27, 2017


1 short formal comparative, argumentative essay15%
3 online Discussion Forum (Moodle) exercises10%
1 formal comparative, argumentative essay25%
Final Proctored Exam50%

** Evaluation Subject to Change **

Assignments are to be submitted through Moodle in the assigned order. Both essays must be submitted prior to the exam date for a student to be eligible to write the final exam. A student must submit both essays to pass the course. Rewrites of the assignments are not permitted.

Late Penalty

Late assignments are penalized 2% per day on the assignment grade.

Final Examination

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.


Professor Heather Evans (

Instructor message

Dr. Evans from the Department of English will be your instructor for the course. Although her primary area of specialization is late Victorian and early twentieth-century literature, particularly women’s writing, war literature, and literature relating to food and appetites, she has also been involved with both on-campus and correspondence sections of this course for several years.

Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend, on average, about 10 - 12 hours per week on the course.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

OnQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into Moodle to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the OnQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

  • Laptop or Desktop computer purchased within the last 5 years. (mobile devices are not supported)
  • Windows Vista SP2/Mac OSX 10.9 or higher
  • Up to date versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari. Please note that Google Chrome is not recommended for use in our courses.
  • Most recent version of Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash

 See also Getting Started.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for 2016-17 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Canadian students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $648.40; for a 6.0-unit course, $1296.80. See also Tuition and Fees.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.