The Politics of Children's Literature (Q3326)

15 credits, Level 5

Spring teaching

George Orwell once wrote that ‘many people who would consider themselves extremely sophisticated and “advanced” are actually carrying through life an imaginative background which they acquired in childhood.’ This module examines the political lessons children’s books encode about what childhood is, and about which children matter and why. You will read children’s texts from a range of genres and forms – including fantasy, school stories, picturebooks, and domestic fiction – written between the late eighteenth century and the present day.

Key focuses include agency, gender, race, class, and the environment. The final assessment optionally involves creative writing for children.


100%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Portfolio)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: