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Graduate Certificate in
Children's Literature


Penn State's online Graduate Certificate in Children's Literature program is designed for teachers, school librarians, and aspiring authors and illustrators who want to help children discover the joys of reading.

In the courses in this program, you will:

  • explore classic works of children's literature
  • study the best works by modern-day authors
  • learn more about the use of picturebooks, folklore, and myths

Potential for Growth

All credits earned in this 15-credit graduate certificate program (with the advanced assistance from a student services adviser) may be applied toward the online Master of Education degree program in curriculum and instruction. Completion of the certificate program does not guarantee admission into the master's program. Please contact a student services adviser at the start of your certificate program for more information about the master's program and your interest in transferring credits.

Convenient and Flexible

Each course is taught using a blend of web technology, print, and other media to maximize flexibility while maintaining teacher and student interaction. As a Penn State World Campus student, you have the opportunity to learn when and where it's most convenient for you.

Course List — Graduate Certificate in Children's Literature 

Required Course (3 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Studies in Literature for Children LL ED 502

Study of various genres of children's literature, from various critical perspectives. Emphasis on role of literature in children's lives.

3 credits
Electives (12 credits — select four courses)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Theories of Childhood CI 560 The study of childhood from cultural, historical, psychological, and philosophical perspectives. 3 credits
The Art of the Picturebook LLED 462

In this course we will read and discuss the art of picturebook and visual storytelling.  We will attempt to stretch our own repertoire of strategies for reading picturebooks, and we'll be looking at how we can help children find meaning in picturebooks as they deepen their understanding of how visual art regardless of words also tells story.

3 credits
Nonfiction Literature for Children and Adolescents LLED 464 A study of nonfiction literature for children and adolescents with an emphasis on inspiring curiosity and agency.

3 credits

Fantasy Literature for Children LLED 465

Good fantasy literature can be critical to children's understandings of themselves and the world. This course will examine work by writers of classic fantasies (H. C. Andersen, A. A. Milne, etc.) written for children, as well as the work of some contemporary authors (J. K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, Tomi Adeyemi, Nnedi Okorafor, etc.) and popular comics. We will also look at the role of the imagination in the lives of children and the important ways children may transform their private spaces into spaces of wonder that allow them to flourish and reimagine their possibilities.

3 credits
Literature for Adolescents LLED 520

A critical study of adolescent literature, its diversity of cultural voices, and designs for its use in secondary school classrooms to foster inclusive communities

3 credits
Cultural Pluralism in Children's and Adolescent Literature LLED 561 Reading, discussing, analyzing, and reflecting on diverse literature from multicultural and critical multicultural perspectives to demonstrate how such ways of readings not only expand literacies but center issues of social justice. 3 credits
Myths and Folktales in Children's Literature LLED 563

An in-depth study of myths and folktales shared with children and how these stories are remade across different modes and disseminated today across multiple communities of practices.

3 credits
Writing for Children LLED 564 Supervised workshop in the craft and techniques of writing picture books, short stories, longer fiction, and nonfiction literature for children. 3 credits
Doing Research in Children's Literature LLED 568

This course addresses the different research approaches for doing research in children's literature. Specifically, it discusses research methods and topics in a wide range of theoretical and practical fields — including psychoanalysis, literacies, genre studies, critical pedagogies, biographical studies, critical race theory, and reader responses — guiding learners on how to conduct original research around any topic of choice. It also addresses research methods for doing research on creative writing.

3 credits

*Note: Only two of the four additional courses can be at the 400 level.
No more than 15 nondegree graduate credits may be transferred into a graduate degree program.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

Penn State World Campus Student

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