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Exploring Children's Literature
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Exploring Children's Literature
Reading with Pleasure and Purpose

Third Edition
  • Nikki Gamble - Founder and Director, Just Imagine Story Centre and Associate Consultant at UCL, Institute of Education


June 2013 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This book introduces the role of children's literature in promoting reading for pleasure and creating lifelong readers. Focusing on a range of fiction relevant to the National Curriculum, it covers genres such as poetry, non-fiction, traditional stories and picture books. Concepts and terminology are explained through a wide range of examples.

This revised edition includes

-Investigative activities and practical exercises for personal or classroom use

-Examples from world literature and work in translation highlighting the range of diverse material available for teaching inspiration

-Coverage of social, cultural and political reading practices to increase understanding of factors that influence children's reading experience

-Coverage of disability and equality issues to help inform teaching strategies that overcome barriers to learning.

This book is essential for students on PGCE, BEd and BA Education courses, and for teachers undertaking CPD in English, literacy or children's literature. It provides useful support material for language coordinators and literacy consultants, and can be used to support distance-learning, as an aid to self-study, or as a course text.

 
Developing Personal Knowledge about Books
 
Reading for Purpose and Pleasure
 
Reading and Responding
 
Narrative, Narration and Structure
 
Aspects of Narrative: Character, Setting and Themes
 
Traditional Stories and Fairy Tales
 
Fantasy and Realism
 
Time and Place in Children's Fiction
 
Words and Pictures
 
The Pleasure of Poetry
 
Reviewing Book Provision and Policy: Schools and Classrooms

'Nikki Gamble's love of children's books, extensive knowledge and respect for authors and their craft all come together in this latest edition.

For children to become lifelong readers, they need teachers who love reading and are confident in exploring themes and ideas that are crucial in quality children's literature. This book supports both the experienced teacher and those new to the profession in encouraging informed and enthusiastic readers'
- Liz Chamberlain, University of Winchester


'Nikki Gamble's revised edition of this key text is informed and comprehensive in its coverage of subject knowledge of children's literature as well as addressing current priorities in the reading curriculum.

Nikki Gamble's new edition of Exploring Children's Literature is as well written and informed as ever. With extended chapters and current priorities addressed, this text continues to be an essential addition to all educators interested in the place of children's books in the reading curriculum.

Professionals and student teachers alike will respond to Gamble's passion and understanding of the role that children's books play in today's reading curriculum. A key text for all those interested in children's books and their role in fostering a love of reading'
-Pamela Lewis, University of Brighton


'Essential reading for every teacher, student and qualified. Whilst the primary intention of the text is to support student teachers in developing a deep knowledge and understanding of children's literature, essential to promoting reading for pleasure and purpose, this is a text that should be freely available in every staffroom. I have recommended it to students since its first edition, and incorporated a number of its suggested activities into my taught courses. I particularly welcome the increased emphasis on reading for pleasure in this third edition'
- Liz Broad, PGCE Primary Programme Leader, Kingston University School of Education



Praise for the First Edition:

'[T]his book provides a comprehensive and readable exploration of the topic of children's literature for both the specialist and the interested general reader'

- Literacy


'[This] book covers everything from picture books to poetry and every conceivable kind of fiction and informs all key stages. It gives children's literature the deserved courtesy of reading it in the context of modern critical theory…[and] guides us brilliantly through the riches of literacy experience as learning'

- English Drama Media


'This book is primarily designed for student teachers and gives an excellent overview of the wide range of texts that children can and should be expected to encounter in school...It is a fascinating read for those of us who continue to be interested in children's literature'

- Speaking English



This is a useful guide for teachers who want to look at children's literature beyond the mechanics of reading. It provides useful updated subject knowledge and ideas for activities: vital for teachers who want to know more about the subjects they teach in order to enthuse and engage young readers.

Branwen Bingle
Worcester University

An engaging and accessible text to help Primary school teachers think about how to explore themes and other aspects of literature.

Dr Louise Campbell
School of Education & Social Work, Dundee University
February 5, 2019

This is an excellent text which uses a wide range of children's literature to explore the genre. The appendices enable the students to challenge their own thinking but also give ways for them to continue to do this after the course.

Ms Yasmin Stefanov-King
Education, Coventry University Scarborough Campus
June 9, 2017

A key book in developing knowledge and understanding of reading and the crucial role of books in children's learning. Gamble's extensive knowledge of books, authors and their craft inspires a love of reading and how to nurture it.

Mrs Kate Voss
School of Education, Hertfordshire University
February 9, 2016

This is a core text used in the second year of the undergraduate programme and beyond. It comprehensively looks at the place of children's literature in enthusing young readers and writers and develops students' subject knowledge too - great resource.

Mrs Colette Ankers de salis
Faculty of Educ, Community & Leisure, Liverpool John Moores University
June 2, 2015

This is a great read for anyone who loves children's books.

Mrs Emma Constantine
School of Education and Community, Glyndwr University
May 1, 2015

Well structure and accessible book that would be useful for student's undertaking Initial Teacher Training and for existing teachers who are keen to get the most out of children's literature.

Dr Tracy Whatmore
Department of Education, Birmingham University
March 5, 2015

Well structured and accessible book that would be useful for student's undertaking Initial Teacher Training and for existing teachers who are keen to get the most out of children's literature.

Dr Tracy Whatmore
Department of Education, Birmingham University
March 5, 2015

The new edition will be used as a core text for this MA module - it is a good starting point.

Margaret Perkins
Institute of Education, Reading University
February 9, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One: Developing Personal Knowledge About Books


Preview this book

Nikki Gamble

Nikki Gamble is Director of Just Imagine, an organisation which seeks to promote literacy using high-quality children’s literature. Formerly a university lecturer and teacher, Nikki has worked in education for 40 years. She continues to work in schools on research and development projects. Nikki is co-author of the awards winning Guiding Readers: layers of meaning (UKLA Academic Book of the Year 2017). More About Author

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