Program in Literature for Children and Young Adults, Master of Arts (M.A.)

The M.A. program in Literature for Children and Young Adults in LLSI is interdisciplinary and capitalizes on the academic expertise and research of scholars across departments. Students in this program pursue disciplined and rigorous inquiries in the history, development, and literary critical trends in children’s and young adult literature.


The Literature for Children and Young Adults program offers graduate students opportunities to pursue in-depth research in the history, theory, and development of children’s and young adult literature. This research includes:

  • literary theory and its links with multicultural and international children’s and young adult literature;
  • the role children’s literature plays in understanding the broader contexts of literacy as a learning process, a text, and the critical application of interpreting, exploring and investigating to support learning;
  • as well as the study of how children and young adults read and respond to this literature.

Students study literature as an art form that emanates from and reflects historical and contemporary discourses. They also closely analyze social context, social relationships, and genres.

Additional focus is devoted to the analyses of written and visual forms of literacy, genres, and content in children’s and young adult literature. Students also examine the meaning of this literature for youth and adults in and out of school settings. Students also are especially interested in theoretical lenses that inform the relationships between texts and readers within and outside the school setting.

This course of study also provides opportunities for exploring topics that include genres and topics such as:

  • historical perspectives and genres;
  • picture books;
  • fantasy and poetry for children and young adults;
  • relationships between popular culture and children’s and young adult literature;
  • censorship issues;
  • selection and evaluation of literature for children and young adults;
  • opportunities for students to respond to literature through creative writing, drama, and art; and
  • exploring the integration of literature across classroom content areas.

Courses focusing on literacy education stress the importance of engaging motivation for reading through the holistic use of quality literature and creating meaningful and aesthetic reading experiences across the life span.

Students and faculty in the Literature for Children and Young Adults program are engaged in the systematic study of picture book forms, multicultural literature (African American, Latino, and Native American), international literature, poetry, and literature for young and middle school-aged children and for young adults. Students in the program integrate their work in the program with research in history and literary critical theory and researching topics such as child-authored novels, visual literacy, genres, reader response, and young adult dystopian texts.

The program is designed to provide pathways to additional areas of study in the Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership such as Literacy in Early and Middle Childhood; and Adolescent, Post-Secondary, and Community Literacies.