INFO 263-01
Materials for Children Ages 0-8
Fall 2021 Syllabus

Penny Peck

Syllabus Links
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning  August 19, 2021, 6 am PDT unless you are taking an intensive or a one-unit or two-unit class that starts on a different day. In that case, the class will open on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

I will send more information about course access as we approach this date through MySJSU.

Course Description

Survey of materials in a variety of formats including nonfiction, beginning chapter books, fictional genres, paperback series, and electronic resources, and how they can help meet developmental needs. Collection development tools and techniques for this material will also be included.

Note: This course will also cover "toy" books, board books, picture books, easy readers, and various media and technology appropriate for the age group of 0-9 years, and how they can meet developmental needs.

Course Requirements

Course Format
This is a web-based course. All of our interaction will take place on the iSchool Canvas site. Course materials will be available primarily through the Canvas site, children’s books from your public library, and journal articles available on the SJSU library database. Assignments for the course should be posted electronically. Our class discussions (worth 20 percent of your grade) will be conducted using the Canvas Discussion Forum - your responses to a different discussion question posted each week. You will be graded on both the content of your posts (not just “I agree”) and meeting the minimum of posting at least once a week.

Class Discussion
Our class discussions (worth 20 percent of your grade) will be your responses to a different discussion question posted each week. Always post to the Discussion Question by the dates listed under each discussion forum.  You will be graded on both the content of your posts (not just “I agree”) and meeting the minimum of posting at least once a week. Last day to post to the Discussion Forum is Friday, Dec. 3, 2021.  Related competencies:  F, J. Related Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs): 14.

Standards: All assignments should be in your own words (no descriptions or reviews copied from other sources – no cutting and pasting of descriptions of events, programs, books used, etc.). All assignments must demonstrate research was done and a list of sources must be at the end of each paper. Also, spelling and grammar count.

Students are expected to participate fully in all class activities.  It is expected that students will be open-minded and participate fully in discussions in class and debate in a mature and respectful manner.  Use of derogatory, condescending, or offensive language including profanity is prohibited.  Disagreement is healthy and perfectly acceptable.   Expressing disagreement should always include an explanation of your reasoning and, whenever possible, evidence to support your position. In accordance with San José State University's Policies, the Student Code of Conduct, and applicable state and federal laws, discrimination based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability is prohibited in any form.

COVID-19 Accommodations: Most of our assignments ask you to evaluate materials for our age group; if local library closures due to the virus make this difficult, you may use eBooks or other electronic resources. The instructor can give you suggestions if you need online materials to evaluate, such as Tumblebooks, BookFlix, online film and video, online magazines, eBook resources,, etc. The instructor is happy to assist and make changes so that everyone can complete the course safely.

All assignments should be a Word file posted to the Canvas site in the assignment dropbox by 11:59 pm Pacific Time of that due date.  All assignments must use APA format for sources, and all assignments MUST have sources to demonstrate that research was done. 

  • Assignment 1:  Due Wednesday, September 22, 2021
  • Assignment 2:  Due Wednesday, October 20, 2021
  • Assignment 3:  Due Wednesday, November 3, 2021
  • Assignment 4:  Due Wednesday, November 24, 2021
  • Assignment 5:  Due Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Course Assignments

  • Assignment 1:  Board Books and Picture Books
  • Goal of this assignment is to show familiarity with the current state of publishing of books for children ages 0-5, which are books read to young children and used in library storytimes. Choose five board books and five picture books to read and evaluate (total of ten books).  Write a book review of each book.  Each book review should be at least 100 words in length, not counting the bibliographic information.  Give full bibliographic information.  Look at our Sample Assignment 1 for a model.  These are evaluative reviews, not just plot descriptions.  Evaluate the text and the illustrations, commenting on the media used for the illustrations and how (or if) the text and illustrations work well together. If the board book is derived from a picture book, compare the two.  Would the book be good for Storytime and how would you use it (would it inspire a craft, or is it participatory)? There is a clear explanation of the difference between Board Books and Picture Books in the lectures, but feel free to email me if you are not sure a book “fits” for this assignment. List all your sources.  Related competencies: F, J. Related Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs): 2, 5.
  • Assignment 2: Easy Readers and Transitional Fiction

    Goal of this assignment is to show familiarity with the current state of publishing of books for children learning to read (ages 5-6) and children practicing their reading skills to read chapter books (ages 7-8) to become independent readers.  Choose four easy readers to read and evaluate and four Transitional fiction chapter books to read and evaluate (for a total of eight books).  Write a book review of each of the eight books.  Each book review should be at least 150 words in length (or longer), not counting the bibliographic information.  Give full bibliographic information.  Look at reviews in School Library Journal or Horn Book for a model (or our Sample Assignment).  These are evaluative reviews, not just plot descriptions.  Evaluate the text and the illustrations, commenting on the media used for the illustrations and how (or if) the text and illustrations work well together.  The Easy Readers should be aimed at the age group that reads Green Eggs and Ham, Frog and Toad, or Are You My Mother?  Make sure these are not picture books (see Chapter 4 in Peck’s Readers’ Advisory for Children and Tweens).  For the Transitional fiction chapter books, see the definition in Horning’s From Cover to Cover, pages 132-137, or Chapter 5 in Peck’s Readers’ Advisory for Children and Tweens, and the Lecture marked “Transitional Fiction.” If you are not sure, email me the title so I can okay it. Related competencies: J.  Related Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs): 2 ,3.

  • Assignment 3: Children’s Media

    Goal of this assignment is to show knowledge of current entertainment media used by children in our age group (ages 0-8), so you can do collection development and use media in library programming. Watch five television programs, films, and/or DVDs intended for children ages 0-8. You need a minimum of two feature films (rated G or PG); the other three can be TV series  or DVDs/downloads for our age group. Watch widely; have only one item by any one producer or performer.  Write a review of each program/movie, keeping in mind the intended audience. Was the show well-produced (high-quality acting, music, sets, lighting, cinematography, costumes, etc.)? Will the show add to a child’s vocabulary or knowledge? Is the show suitable for a library program or school classroom (if not, it is not a good choice for this assignment). How might it fit into the primary grade curriculum?  How (in what way, what craft relates, what books relate) could it be used in a library program?  List important information for each DVD such as actors featured, original production dates, network on which it aired, is it based on a book? List all your sources.  Related competencies: F, J. Related Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs):  3, 4.

  • Assignment 4: Informational/Nonfiction Books

    Goal of this assignment is to show you can choose nonfiction for our age group to add to your library, a common collection development skill. Choose a nonfiction/Dewey Decimal numbered subject area to do a “collection development” project.  This area should be somewhat limited; i.e. “Insects and spiders,” not animals, or “Baseball,” not sports.  Other topics could include poetry from a specific culture (African-American, Latino, Asian-American, etc.), history from a certain time period (the American Revolution, Ancient Egypt), biographies of a specific focus (great African-Americans, Notable American Women), etc.  Select nine books to suggest for purchase on that subject, for children grades Preschool through Grade 4, and one free website made for children. All of the items must be “in print,” meaning for purchase new (not used) from the publisher or major library vendor (not “out of print”). Compile these into a list, with each item having full bibliographic data and a one-paragraph annotation that includes both what the item is about and why you chose it.  Write up a 2 or 3-page description of the selection tools, review journals, and other sources you used to select the books; which were most helpful?  What tool(s) did you use to determine if an item is still in print? How did you decide what to choose?  How does the topic relate to the curriculum? What did the local library have or lack in this area?  Which items did you actually read or see? How did you choose the website (what led you to it, don’t just Google)?  Be sure to give a list of all the sources you used.  Related competencies: F, J. Related Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs): 2, 3, 4.

  • Assignment 5: Reader's Advisory Notebook/Database

    Goal of this assignment is to demonstrate wide knowledge of library materials for children ages 0-9 and their families. Create an entry for 50 items (books and media but not websites or videogames) appropriate for children ages 0-9. Each entry should include the bibliographic information, a brief plot description, description of artwork, your personal thoughts on the book (yes, you need to read each book), and mention of other books that are similar in style, content, theme or characters. Also, include any of the following items that you think might help you with reader's advisory activities in the future: 

    • Subjects/themes
    • Awards
    • Series Information
    • Character names/descriptions
    • Programming/Storytime/lesson ideas
    • Anything else you'd like to add

    Complete project should include entries for all different book genres and reading levels discussed in class, and media. Complete project should include several recent (2000+) award-winning titles (such as Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpre, or Caldecott Award picture books, Geisel or Siebert Award or Honor books, California Young Reader Medal nominees, etc.). Be sure to talk about how a picture book could be used at storytime.

    Entries must be formatted using Microsoft Word. You may not use any of the books used in your other assignments.  These are 50 other books or media besides those.  They can be a mix of board books, picture books, easy readers, transitional fiction chapter books, folktales, picture books for older readers, graphic novels, DVDs, nonfiction, poetry, magazines, or audio recordings for our age group (but not websites or games). There should be many items reflecting the cultural diversity of the children we serve. List all your sources.  Related competencies: F, J. Related Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs): 35.

Course Grading

Class discussions are worth 20 percent of your grade; Assignments 1, 2, 3 are worth 10 percent each, Assignment 4 is worth 20 percent, and Assignment 5 is worth 30 percent. Assignments submitted late are not accepted.

Extra Credit
No extra credit options are available.

Late Work
Penalty for late or missed work – Missed work is an "F;" late work is ONLY allowed by agreement of the instructor BEFORE the due date; late work must be turned in no more than two days late and that is ONLY if the instructor has agreed ahead of the due date and you will be penalized one letter grade for being late.

Assigned Readings (for textbooks--see below):
Be sure to see the Canvas site for the list of the assigned readings for the class, including the journal articles assigned for the class.  You will also see a sequence of lectures, the weekly topic for the discussion question, and more extensive descriptions of the assignments. You will also want to visit your local public library to find the children’s books you will use for the assignments as well as reading book reviews in School Library Journal, Horn Book, Booklist, and Publishers’ Weekly.

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

INFO 200, INFO 260A or INFO 261A

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the external (societal) and internal (developmental) forces that influence children's choices of recreational and informational sources and materials.
  2. Evaluate selection tools, and demonstrate the ability to use appropriate resources to develop a collection of materials for the preschool and elementary school-aged children (ages 0-9), including all appropriate formats.
  3. Critically examine representative materials designed for the pre-school and elementary school-aged child (ages 0-9), including but not limited to books, television, movies, and the Internet, and apply criteria to evaluate them in relation to child development, multicultural concerns, and creating a collection that meets the informational and recreational needs of this age group.
  4. Evaluate children's digital resources to determine the most developmentally appropriate ones to recommend to parents, and identify ones that are less appropriate or useful.
  5. Assist parents and caregivers with questions about appropriate materials for their children 0-9 years old.

Core Competencies (Program Learning Outcomes)

INFO 263 supports the following core competencies:

  1. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  2. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors and how they should be considered when connecting individuals or groups with accurate, relevant and appropriate information.


Required Textbooks:

  • Horning, K. T. (2010). From cover to cover: Evaluating and reviewing children's books (Rev. ed.). HarperCollins. Available through Amazon: 0060777575 arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Peck, P. (2010). Readers' Advisory for Children and 'Tweens Libraries Unlimited. Available through Amazon: 1598843877. arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

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 or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — 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 if you wish to stay in the program. 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.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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

More accessibility resources.