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Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism

4.48  ·  Rating details ·  25 ratings  ·  26 reviews
We are surrounded by narratives, in fiction and in our everyday lives. In this colorful collection of ideas, the author argues that understanding the components of our favorite children's stories can lead to a lifetime of critical thinking.

Beginning with the elements of the universal coming-of-age narrative, "Kid Lit" shows young readers and general readers alike how to re
Paperback, 220 pages
Published October 27th 2020 by Empire Studies Press
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Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
A nice introduction into going deeper into a piece of literature than just the text using children's literature as the main examples. Short, which both makes it a breezy overview but also makes it somewhat superficial at points. Focuses a lot on the Campbellian hero's journey, which makes sense given the coming of age narratives of a lot of children's literature. It also has a major focus on Orientalism and the literature of empire, which is very interesting. I liked how the book was split into ...more
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an Advance Reader Copy

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and wish it had been around for my teachers when I was still in school!!
While I am no longer in school I am looking forward to doing the exercises myself and seeing where it takes me.

As a mother (who because of COVID) has resorted to badly teaching my children this is a resource I think I will be keeping handy for the foreseeable future. I will also be recommending it to the school board when school issues have been resolved (I am
Dec 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Insightful and Helpful. This book really has three sections in many chapters. The first section is an introduction. The second section was insightful. As a teacher I can see how this section would be helpful for an English teacher in middle or high school. It offers many examples and explanations for terms as well as types of stories that exist. The third section offers assignments that a teacher could give to students learning to write. The lesson could also be given in relation to a story stud ...more
Tom Durwood’s “Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism” represents the latest in a growing body of work reflecting the author’s ongoing interest in history and literature as well as his experience as an editor of an open-access journal and a professor of composition and literature.

Durwood most recently taught composition and literature at Valley Forge Military College, where he won the Teacher of the Year Award five times. One colleague, Pat Murray, Ph.D., has described him as a professo
LitPick Book Reviews
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism by Tom Durwood is informative and interesting to read. It begins by briefly defining children’s literature, kid lit for short, and highlights its history. It covers coming-of-age resources well, so plans for future editions include adding information about picture books and some international literature too. The book is divided into three sections. The first clearly summarizes concepts such as identity, gender, social class, trauma, and war as they ...more
Jul 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
In the Author’s Welcome, Tom Durwood states - I hope you will disagree with my ideas. I think one of his goals for this book is to stimulate critical thinking. I will say this for his book - it did make me think and it did stimulate some interesting conversations with my adult children who are better versed in pop culture than I am. Some of the ideas presented in the book seemed far-fetched to us. We couldn’t see the same connections as the writers. We also wondered when comparisons were made to ...more
Julie Porter
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
There are many who don't think that literary criticism is necessary, beyond saying whether a work is good or bad. They especially are wary of criticizing Children's Literature, thinking that this form of literature is for kids and should just simply be recognized on that superficial level.
But what many don't realize is that whether they are aware of it or not, they criticize and analyze children's Literature. When they make comparisons between the Hunger Games' characters' rebellions against the
Tamera Mcmahon
Jan 31, 2022 rated it really liked it
“Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism” is a 238 page text book/syllabus, from Empire Studies Press, that I would have loved to have during my years as a middle school reading teacher.

The text begins with a useful “lit crit tool box.” The tool box provides, among other things, characteristics of the coming of age story , details about the role nationality has in a story’s makeup, the three act structure used in movies (that can be related to literature), and an approach for analyzing t
Sep 19, 2022 rated it it was amazing
As a total nerd and someone who took a literary criticism class for fun, I was very excited to see a book like this. It probably would’ve helped my in-class analyis of various works and helped with my thesis project. There is a breakdown of the elements of different genres that he explains to introduce the common themes and differences in stories.
Addresses ideas of story structure, The Other (yes, I meant that capitalized), mysteries of what our English teachers say, gender theory (the not so hi
Kim Kitson
Apr 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
As Tom Durwood says, "Who tells the stories wins." Durwood's book Kid Lit: an Introduction to Literary Criticism is all about empowering students to understand the perspective and intention of those who tell the narratives in our lives. This is something many students don't know how to do, and, quite often, don't want to explore. The three sections are logical, thoughtfully summarised and accessible. The Lit Crit Toolbox is set at an appropriate and engaging level for teenagers and the lessons i ...more
Lisa's Reading
Jul 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Tom Durwood is a masterful teacher, keeping us interested and entertained in his new ebook, Kid Lit: An Introduction to Literary Criticism. As an educator, books that teach theory are some of my favorites. Not being a specialist in literary criticism or literature in general, I love how he went back to the basics. Every imaginable is explained in a way beginners can understand.

I’m sure his students have loved his classes, because he takes things that are complex and makes them simple and underst
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Emily Ann
Jul 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book really got me thinking about some of mine and the children in my class' favourite books. Raised some really interesting ideas about gender, class and sexuality and how these are portrayed in childrens' literature. I will definitely think a bit more carefully about these ideas when choosing class texts to read now, especially in terms of making sure I represent all groups across the year. Unfortunately, as a primary teacher I don't think many of the techniques mentioned would be appropr ...more
Erica (The Literary Apothecary)
No matter where we turn, narratives are at every corner.

The author brilliantly places the various components of classic stories in a realm accessible by youth.

From the typical coming-of-age stories to the magical tales that captivate young minds, Kid Lit provides the foundation necessary to read between the lines of any fictional narrative and extract the message.

This was my favorite nonfiction book of the year by far. Kid Lit forced me to step back and look at literature as more than just an ar
Steph Anie
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance copy of Kid Lit via Voracious Readers Only in exchange for an honest review. Aimed at students but just as useful for anyone interested in literature, this resource essentially teaches the reader how to think critically while consuming stories. The format of the book encourages the reader to engage with the content while moving through the text. Complex ideas are presented clearly and convey that the author has both thorough knowledge of the subject matter and skill in teac ...more
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Love this book! I wish this had been around when I was in college; I think it would pair well with any theater, film or lit class (classic, adult, childrens, etc...). It really explains well what makes a great story in easy terms. So concise. Doesn't talk down to students, but leads them to actual critical thinking of what they are watching or reading. Kudos Tom Durwood- well done!

I received a Kindle arc from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
May 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Love this as an introduction to Critical Literacy for young readers. As a teacher of English Extension, I find that students are often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of readings and criticism they come across, especially if they begin this subject in senior study. This is an easy-to-read and enjoyable text which gently eases them into the subject matter with popular texts and recognisable characters. Love it!
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this book from the author via Voracious Readers Only in exchange for an honest review.

I read this book to learn more about English literature. I enjoyed reading this and the in-depth view and perspective it gives. It was a different way of looking at literature and the books I had read growing up, and the deeper view and further comprehension was interesting to read.

I would recommend this to those who want to learn more about English literature.
Emma Nelson
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Although aimed at secondary school pupils, Kid Lit has opened my eyes to some of the literature I've read, so that its viewed from a different perspective.
Very well written, critically of course- Kid Lit also shares detailed lesson plans and ideas for the examination of the literature children read.
Airy M.
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent take on learning. I read an advanced copy of this and it assists with comprehension and aspects of the literary world from a different angle than most instruction. Definitely helpful and I wish when I was taking English in school I had had this book
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very good book for those looking to further their understanding of the English language. Not really a book that you sit down and read in one sitting. Rather, it’s more a book you read for help and references. Overall very helpful and nice to read!
Jan 11, 2022 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the pedagogic aspect of it. And all the examples of stories with different angles to look at them and dissect then.
Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Dora Yang
Nov 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, arc, kids-education
Interesting book! I think it might be more for the teacher and parent than the kid.
Teaching kids to have critical thinking and communication skills from a young age using literature = YES!
J.D. DeHart
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kid Lit is an absolutely valuable scholarly resource. Durwood’s work is useful for both student and teacher, and is ripe for dialogue and engagement around journeys through text.
Tianne Shaw
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not exactly what I thought it would be like. This book deleted deeper and followed a better narrative than I was expecting. Worth reading but was not as gripping as I wanted to have it take me.
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