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Graduate Certificate in
Children's Literature


Penn State's online Graduate Certificate in Children's Literature 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 online 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 Picturebooks are a peculiar form of literary and visual art. They appear to be simple to read, but are they really so simple? In this course we will read pictures. 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. 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 contemporary authors (J. K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, etc.). We will also look at the role of the imagination in the lives of children. 3 credits
Literature for Adolescents LLED 520 Critical study of adolescent literature, its diversity of cultural voices, and designs for its use in secondary school classrooms. 3 credits
Cultural Pluralism in Children's and Adolescent Literature LLED 561 Reading/discussing literature from multicultural/critical multicultural lenses and how this impacts literacy. 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 and disseminated today. 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 to children's literature—specifically, research methods and topics in a wide range of theoretical and practical fields—including psychoanalysis, literacy, genre studies, teaching in children's literature, biographical studies, and reader responses. 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.

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