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A Literature of Questions


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Table of Contents

ContentsIntroduction: The Literary Study of Children's Nonfiction1. Beyond Authority: Questioning the Literature of Facts 2. Voice and the Seamless Narrative of Knowledge3. Nonfiction's Unfinished Characters: The People Who Are Wrong, Flawed, and Incomplete4. Inquiry at and in the Margins: How Peritexts Encourage Critical Reading5. Seeing Photographs: Breaking the Authority of Nonfiction's Favorite Medium6. The Pursuit of Reliability in Almost Astronauts7. The Empathy of Critical Engagement: Emotion and Sentimentality in Children's NonfictionConclusion: Critical Engagement's Moral ImperativeAcknowledgmentsNotesBibliographyIndex

About the Author

Joe Sutliff Sanders is professor of English at Kansas State University. He is author of Disciplining Girls: Understanding the Origins of the Classic Orphan Girl Story and editor of The Comics of Herge: When the Lines Are Not So Clear.


"A Literature of Questions is a groundbreaking work of criticism not only because it covers an area of children's literature that is largely unexamined but also because it provides the field with new language and a new set of critical lenses, which scholars, educators, and writers can use in the future to analyze, evaluate, teach, and create works of nonfiction for younger readers."-Annette Wannamaker, Eastern Michigan University"Not many courses about children's literature that are offered in English departments include nonfiction titles on the reading lists. A Literature of Questions will irrevocably change this situation. In the wake of Joe Sutliff Sanders's book, it will no longer be possible to teach an undergraduate or graduate course about literature for young readers without including a section on children's nonfiction. Every individual working in the field will want to add a copy of A Literature of Questions to their campus library and even to their personal book collection. Additionally, they will want to assign this text their students. Sanders's work is a new classic."-Michelle Ann Abate, author of Bloody Murder: The Homicide Tradition in Children's Literature

"A welcome addition for school librarians eager to provide upper elementary, middle, or high school students with tools for evaluating the intricacies of nonfiction."-Library Journal

"Sanders offers a literary analysis of informational children's books. The well-researched and insightful book is required reading for those interested in children's literature." -CHOICE

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