06386 - Children's Literature

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Educator in Childhood Social Services (cod. 9083)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student knows:

  • the cultural context in which children's literature has historycally found itself;
  • the children’s books and the complexity and ambiguity that characterizes them;
  • knows and analyzes the imagery and interprets the textes;
  • knows and analyzes the classic and contemporary novels, picture books, fairy tales, and numerous examples of books for childrens.
  • knows how to propose the storytelling languages, and the student knows different comunication modes in the educational relationship.
  • is able to make informed choises in publishing children's books.

Course contents

- Children's literature, childhood and representations of early childhood.

- Children's literature, lullabies and nursery rhymes, fairy tales, adventures, stories, characters, plots, literary genres, classical and contemporary authors.

- Childhood finds herself in the literary metaphors. The fairy tale: a special literary genre with Hard themes; Anthropological and cultural roots.

- Childhood and stereotyping; Childhood and the right to artistic research.

- The fairy tale: a special literary genre with hard themes; - Anthropological and cultural roots;

- Children's literature between education and artistic motivation;

- Children's literature and childhood point of view;

- Storytelling and reading;

- Film, theater and relations with the imaginary;

- Adults narrators and relationship to early chialdhood;

- Educational settings and storytelling;

- The stories, the body, the voice, the word, the expressive gesture, the symbolic play;

- Affective aspects of reading and storytelling.



The program includes:

- basic knowledge of the fundamentals of Children’s literature and its theoretical aspects;
- a monographic part about fairy tale and its ramifications, which will be discussed in the lessons and which is linked to the narrative texts as noted below.

Critical essays

All students must study the following 1 critical essay + 1 short essay:

Milena Bernardi, Letteratura per l'infanzia e alterità. Incanti, disincanti, ambiguità, tracce. FrancoAngeli, Milano, 2016,

M. Bernardi, All’improvviso qualcosa accade! Osservare il racconto, raccontare l’osservazione, contributo in volume, in L. Balduzzi, T. Pironi, (a cura di), L'osservazione al nido, una lente a più dimensioni per educare lo sguardo, FrancoAngeli, Milano, 2016,

 To know more. Each student must choose one (1) critical essay to study among the following:

- M. Bernardi, [https://cris.unibo.it/handle/11585/738325], Pisa, Edizioni ETS, 2019 -

- M. Bernardi, Infanzia e metafore letterarie, Bononia University Press, Bologna, 2009

- E. Beseghi, G. Grilli, a cura di, La letteratura invisibile, Carocci, Roma, 2011

- W. Grandi, Gli ingranaggi sognati. Scienza, fantasia e tecnologia nelle narrazioni per l'infanzia e l'adolescenza, Milano, FrancoAngeli, 2017,

- Grilli, Negri,Cantatore, ed altri, Incerca di guai, Junior edizioni

- Ortu E. (a cura di) Oltre lo specchio delle bugie, Junior Edizioni

All students must read the following narrative texts:


The student is asked to bring the narrative books (that must be in their full version) with him/her to the exam.

It is important to read the introductions, the prefaces, the afterwords of critical essays and narrative texts.

Collection of fairy tales: Italo Calvino, Fiabe itlaiane.

All students must readat least 15 fairy tales.

 1 Picture books or 1 illustrated book to be chosen from the following:

A. Lindgren, K. Crowther, Mentre tutti dormono, case editrice Il gioco di leggere.

F. Negrin, Alfabetiere delle fiabe, ed. Giunti

M. Sendak, Minarik, Storie di Osacchiotto, ed. Adelphi

1 Novel to be chosen from the following:

- P. Ridley, Dakota delle bianche dimore, Salani

- D. Almond, Il selvaggio, Feltrinelli


  1. Erasmus student: Critical essay, Milena Bernardi, Letteratura per l'infanzia e alterità. Incanti, disincanti, ambiguità, tracce. FrancoAngeli, Milano, 2016.  + collections fairy tales I. Calvino, Fiabe Italiane, ED. Einaudi.

Teaching methods

Lectures. Brainstorming, discussion and debate abaut literature, movie, theater, media. Storytelling.

Assessment methods

Oral test. The test will include the books indicated and, in addition, the student will have to prepare a personal reflection about a topic chosen among those treated.


- knowledge learned on discipline; the theoretical and interpretative references concerning children's literature;

- critical and methodological skills;

- interdisciplinary knowledge useful to analyze the children's literature;

- knowledge of educational contexts for early childhood.

Final score based on ../30 (18 is considered the minimum to pass the exam).

Inscription to the exam on Almaesami website.

If rejected at the exam, it is possible to have a second chance.

Teaching tools

Teaching tools

Reading aloud, Storytelling, books, picture books, videos, etc

Office hours

See the website of Milena Bernardi


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This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.