LIBR 271A-10
Genres and Topics in Youth Literature
Topic: Canadian Youth Literature
Spring 2010 Greensheet

Dr. Joanne de Groot
Office Phone: 780-960-5554
Office Location: Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada
Office Hours: by phone or e-mail as necessary

Greensheet Links
Textbooks and Readings
Course Requirements
ANGEL Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

ANGEL Information: This course has an ANGEL site.  The course will be available to students beginning on January 26.  The enrollment code for ANGEL will be distributed to all students by the first day of the semester via MySJSU messaging.

Course Description

Various topics and genres in Canadian literature for children or teens will be examined in depth, such as graphic novels, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, publishing trends, and picture books.

Course Prerequisites: LIBR 200 required.

Course Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes
At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify important authors and titles in genres or subgenres in Canadian youth literature
  2. Discuss the value of a genre or subgenre of Canadian youth literature, how it might be used, and major authors and titles in it
  3. Identify the characteristics, authors and illustrators and significant titles, and resources for librarians and teachers related to children’s literature in unique Canadian regions.
  4. Discuss issues and topics in Canadian youth literature, including trends in publishing and content, and issues such as censorship and stereotyping.
  5. Discuss how issues and topics in youth literature are seen differently in different library settings and communities

LIBR 271A supports the following MLIS Core Competencies:

  • recognize the social, cultural and economic dimensions of information use
  • understand the nature of research, research methods and research findings; retrieve, evaluate and synthesize scholarly and professional literature for informed decision-making by specific client groups
  • demonstrate oral and written communication skills necessary for group work, collaborations and professional level presentations
  • contribute to the cultural, economic, educational and social well-being of our communities 

Top of Page

Course Requirements

This course requires a variety of assignments designed to introduce students to the concepts covered in class, as well as to practical applications of methods. Students will work individually and participate in group discussions on Angel.

Students accumulate 100 points to determine the course grade. See Grading below for details. Details for the assignments will be given during the first week of classes and requirements for each will be posted under the Course Documents area on Angel.

  • Assignment 1: Reading Log (20 points)
    Develop a collection of materials including at least 30 print sources, with detailed information on each, that reflect your knowledge of the diversity of Canadian material for youth. Students are expected to read and report on their reading of novels, picture books, and nonfiction Canadian titles. To assist you with this assignment, I will give you a list of suggested authors and/or titles that you can use as a starting point for your reading. (Learning Outcomes A, B)
  • Assignment 2: Group Project (20 points)
    The class will be divided into groups and each group will be responsible for creating a wiki that introduces one Canadian literary region to the rest of the class. Your regional wiki will serve as a clearinghouse for anything related to children’s literature in that particular part of Canada. Specific criteria for these wikis, as well as more information about the assignment will be provided during the first week of class. (Learning Outcomes A, C, D, E)
  • Assignment 3: Illustrator Assignment (15 points)
    This assignment asks individual students to research, prepare, and present a visual presentation that presents the life and work of one Canadian children’s book illustrator. This assignment can be presented in any way that is appropriate, but should be a visual presentation (e.g. Voicethread) and should include at least one image from one of the illustrator’s work. (Learning Outcome A)
  • Assignment 4: Book Trailer (15 points)
    Working with a partner, you will create a book trailer for one book of your choosing. It can be one of the books that we discuss in class or it can be one that you have read for the reading log assignment. Pairs of students will use any format and medium to create and share a book trailer for the book. Sample book trailers will be shared in class.
  • Assignment 5: Final Paper (20 points)
    This paper will be submitted at the end of the term and will be a reflection of your experiences in this course. Your final paper should include a discussion of “What is Canadian?” (in other words, what makes Canadian literature for children unique) and should also include links to course readings, connections to class discussions, reflections on the regional issues presented in the group assignment, and specific references to books you read for our class discussions and for the Reading Log assignment. You should consider as well “who you were at the beginning of the semester and who you are now” as part of this reflective paper. (Learning Outcomes C, D, E)
  • Class Participation (10 points)
    Students are expected to participate fully on the Angel discussion site, particularly as we discuss specific books each week of the course. A complete list of those books is available at the end of this document. Students are also expected to participate fully in other parts of the course, including the group project and by responding to and commenting on other students’ assignments.

Class Format
This is a graduate level class, and it will be taught as a seminar, with students contributing and creating the major portion of the class content. As a result, students will be generating new content, synthesizing and sharing information, and contributing ideas to group projects and whole class discussions. Much of the in-class work will focus on book discussions of particular books, supplemented with information, background, and content related to specific genres, formats, and authors. Students are expected to be prepared for these book discussions and participate fully in them.

Course Calendar
The following outline is only an example and is not meant in any way to limit or define the total possible content of the course.

  • Week 1
    Introductions and Course Information
    The Reading Environment and The Critical Blueprint (recorded podcast lecture)
  • Week 2
    History of Canadian Children’s Literature
  • Week 3
    Background: Genre and Format
  • Week 4
    Work week—work with your group on the wiki project
  • Week 5
    Presentation and discussion of group wiki projects
  • Week 6
    Book Discussions: Eastern Canada
  • Week 7
    Book Discussions: Quebec
  • Week 8
    Book Discussions: Ontario
  • Week 9
    Book Discussions: Ontario (cont’d)
  • Week 10
    Spring Break (March 29-April 2)
  • Week 11
    Topic for Discussion: Canadian Youth Literature by and about First Nations
  • Week 12
    Book Discussions: Prairies (cont’d)
  • Week 13
    Topic for Discussion: Issues in Canadian Youth Literature (censorship, stereotypes, etc.)
  • Week 14
    Book Discussions: British Columbia
  • Week 15
    Book Discussions: The North
  • Week 16
    Topic for Discussion: What is Canadian?
    Course Wrap Up
    Classes end on May 17

Course Grading
Deadlines have been set to help you keep up with the course. Being a distance learner is hard work because you are doing it on your own. Deadlines are firm. If you need an extension because of illness or death in the family or some other issue that arises, please contact me as soon as possible. Extensions may be granted for these reasons.

Late assignments will be accepted with a penalty of 10% per day for this first 3 days and then will no longer be accepted.

Textbooks and Readings

There are no required textbooks for this class.  There will be some articles and other readings that will be posted on the course ANGEL site.  In addition, students will be required to read and discuss a wide variety of Canadian literature for children and young adults.  See the list of these books below.

  • Eastern Canada (Maritimes & Newfoundland and Labrador)
    • Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
    • Hold Fast by Kevin Major
    • Boy of the Deeps by Ian Wallace (picture book)
  • Quebec
    • The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier (picture book)
    • Jacob Two Two and the Hooded Fang by Mordecai Richler
  • Ontario
    • Coyote’s New Suit by Thomas King (picture book)
    • Rex Zero and the End of the World by Tim Wynne Jones
    • Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
    • Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
    • The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
    • The Complete Essex County by Jeff Lemire
  • Prairies (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta)
    • Louis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography by Chester Brown
    • The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade
    • Caribou Song by Tomson Highway (picture book)
    • Orphan Boy by Tololwa Mollel (picture book)
  • British Columbia/West Coast
    • Shi-Shi-Etko by Nicola Campbell (picture book)
    • The Lightkeeper’s Daughter by Iain Lawrence
    • Dead Man’s Gold and Other Stories by Paul Yee
  • The North
    • Curse of the Shaman: A Marble Island Mystery by Michael Kusugak
    • Alego by Ningeokuluk Teevee

No Textbooks For This Course

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work;
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation.  You must repeat the class the following semester. If -on the second attempt- you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

General Expectations, Rights and Responsibilities of the Student

As members of the academic community, students accept both the rights and responsibilities incumbent upon all members of the institution. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with SJSU's policies and practices pertaining to the procedures to follow if and when questions or concerns about a class arises. See University Policy S90-5 at More detailed information on a variety of related topics is available in the SJSU catalog at In general, it is recommended that students begin by seeking clarification or discussing concerns with their instructor. If such conversation is not possible, or if it does not serve to address the issue, it is recommended that the student contact the Department Chair as a next step.

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semester's Catalog Policies section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes.

Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor's permission to record the course and the following items to be included in the syllabus:

  • "Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor's permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material."
    • It is suggested that the syllabus include the instructor's process for granting permission, whether in writing or orally and whether for the whole semester or on a class by class basis.
    • In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.
  • "Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent."

Academic integrity

Your commitment, as a student, to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The University Academic Integrity Policy F15-7 at requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

icon showing link leads to the PDF file viewer known as Acrobat Reader Download Adobe Acrobat Reader to access PDF files.

More accessibility resources.