Children's Literature

Instructor: Chi-Fen Emily Chen, Ph.D. 陳其芬

Department of English, National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology, Taiwan


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Introduction
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Poetry for Children
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Folk Literature
Fantasy
Realistic Fiction
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Fantasy

 

 Please read Chapter 10 from Russell, D. L. (2009). Literature for children: a short introduction.

Introduction Characteristics Types Values Alice in Wonderland

Introduction

Definition:

  • Fantasy is any story of the impossible, but it is presented as if they were possible. Moreover, the fantasy element has to be fresh and original. It may include magic, talking animals, time travel, the supernatural, adventures in alternative worlds – any feature that is contrary to the laws of nature as we understand them.

  • Fantasy is a highly imaginative story about characters, places, and events, yet it is believable. Good fantasy is rooted in reality and in human nature. Modern fantasies often contain truths that help the reader to understand today’s society, though the events they describe cannot happen in real life.

The imaginary world captures us; its underlying reality moves us.”

(Russell, 2009, p. 217)

 

Comparison between Folk Literature and Modern Fantasy:

  • Fantasy traces its roots to the folktales, legends, and myths of ancient peoples. However, traditional tales are from the oral tradition of stories passed from generation to generation by word of mouth, while modern fantasies are original stores that come from the imaginations of known authors and its transmission is through the written medium.

  • Both folktales and fantasies contain fantastical elements. However, folktales are always set in a familiar world; they have stock characters, conventional plots, and traditional motifs, whereas writers of fantasy create a new world with something unusual and its own possibilities. Therefore, a fantasy’s settings, characters, and plots tend to be much more complex than those of the folktales.

“Reading fantasy is not so much an escape from something as a liberation into something, into openness and possibility and coherence.”

 (O’Keefe, 2003, p. 11; cited in Russell, 2009, p. 213)