Clearly organized and beautifully written, Interpreting Literature With Children is a remarkable book that stands on the edge of two textbook genres: the survey of literature text and the literary criticism text. Neither approach, however, says enough about how children respond to literature in everyday classroom situations. That is the mission of this book.
It begins by providing a solid foundation in both approaches and then examines multiple ways of developing children's literary interpretation through talk, through culture, class, and gender, as well as through creative modes of expression, including writing, the visual arts, and drama. The result is a balanced resource for teachers who want to deepen their understanding of literature and literary engagement.
Because of its modest length and price and its ongoing focus on how to increase student engagement with literature, either pre-service or practicing teachers can use this text in children's literature, language arts, or literacy and language courses.
"this book would be an excellent supplementary text for use in children's literature classes….Each chapter is concise, well organized, and highly readable….This book should be a part of any children's literature instructor's personal professional library."
"Shelly Wolf offers an enticing new construct to demonstrate that literary response and interpretation deepen the reading experience. This book can serve as a bridge between the study of literature in an English class and in an education methods course and would also be a superb tool for classroom teacher professional development study groups."
"If you remember a favorite teacher's story about a magical moment in a child's learning, this book is for you. Embedding learning in the wisdom of intuition, the rigor of research, and the joys of children's literature, these accounts from teachers will stick with every reader as a reminder of why teaching is a profession that makes not 'a difference,' but all kinds of difference."
—Shirley Brice Heath
"To me the key to the book is interpretation. That's a piece of children's literature instruction that is difficult to teach well. Shelby hands it to readers on a delicious platter. Its strength is the expression and description of teaching strategies coupled with Shelby's deep knowledge of literary forms. It promises to be a powerhouse book."
Ohio State University
Contents: Prologue: Engagement Beyond the Edges of the Earth. Part I: Salutations! Learning About Literature. Critical Perspectives. Literary Elements in Prose & Poetry. Part II: Ways of Taking From Literature. Talking About Literature. Culture & Class in Children's Literature. Gender in Children's Literature. Part III: Ways of Doing Literature. Interpreting Literature Through Writing. Interpreting Literature Through the Visual Arts. Interpreting Literature Through Drama. Epilogue: How Like the Mind.