Children’s Literature Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Children’s Literature?

Children’s Literature is the body of written works and accompanying illustrations produced in order to entertain or instruct young people.

Children’s Literature encompasses a wide range of works, including acknowledged classics of world literature, picture books and easy-to-read stories written exclusively for children, fairy tales, lullabies, fables, folk songs, and other primarily orally transmitted materials.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Children’s Literature in the following subject areas:

  • Children’s Literature – A broad introduction to the vibrant field of children’s literature studies encompassing eighteenth-century fairy tales to examples of contemporary fiction illustrating current trends.
  • MA In Children’s and Young Adult Literature – This programmed offers students the opportunity to study children’s and young adults.
  • Certificate in Literature and Cultural Studies – An introduction to psychology and the cultural & social history that allows for the understanding of the world of literature.
  • English Literature Appreciation – This popular course offers a friendly, relaxed and stimulating journey through some great works of literature.
  • Modern English Literature – Gain knowledge and appreciation of English literature and contemporary critical theory

Studying Children’s Literature

There are many courses in Children’s Literature that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favorably by employers. You can break into the profession by winning local or national writing competitions. These include fiction, poetry, screen and playwriting and usually can be found by a simple web search of ‘creative writing competitions,’ or ‘screenwriting competitions.’

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a Children’s Literature course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of research skills and a passion for sharing the written word.

As a writer, you’ll be involved in the creation and development of works of fiction and non-fiction. New media is also opening doors for writers in areas such as mobile phone content and computer game scripts.

Most writers work freelance and are self-employed. As income from writing may be low and unpredictable, most writers supplement their income with other related activities such as author visits, workshops and events. Some writers may find avenues to diversify their writing and write in different forms, such as published novelists also writing reviews and literary criticism.

In addition, many writers manage their writing work alongside full or part-time jobs, which may be related to their writing (such as lecturing on creative writing courses) or entirely unrelated. While the majority of writers are self-employed freelancers, they may be taken on for short-term contracts in television, radio, screen or theatre. There are also some opportunities to be employed as writers in residence in particular communities or organizations.

Working hours typically include regular unsocial hours. Writers often use weekends and evenings to work, fitting their responsibilities around other employment commitments. However, some writers may adopt a disciplined approach, keeping strict office hours and working away from home to avoid distractions.

Related jobs include:

  • Writer
  • Digital copywriter
  • Editorial assistant
  • English as a foreign language teacher
  • Lexicographer
  • Magazine journalist
  • Newspaper journalist
  • Private tutor
  • Publishing copy-editor/proof-reader
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Web content manager
  • Academic librarian
  • Advertising copywriter
  • Archivist
  • Arts administrator
  • Education consultant
  • Information officer
  • Learning mentor
  • Marketing executive
  • Media researcher
  • PPC specialist
  • Primary school teacher
  • Public relations officer
  • Records manager
  • Social media manager

Further study

After completing a course in Children’s Literature, you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as Communication and media studies, Creative writing, English language, Journalism or Performing arts.


What is the importance of Children’s Literature?

Literature helps to promote learners’ essential language learning opportunities and expanding their language awareness.

Literature acts as a form of expression for each individual author. Some books mirror society and allow us to better understand the world we live in. Literature is a reflection of humanity and a way for us to understand each other.

What skills could be helpful for a career in Children’s Literature?

To succeed as a writer, you’ll need: literary skills, imagination, a clear, entertaining style, excellent written English skills, the ability to work to tight deadlines, while maintaining attention to detail, excellent research skills, self-discipline and time management skills and the ability to work alone for long periods of time.

Other skills that will be necessary when trying to market yourself or your work include verbal communication and networking skills in order to develop media contacts, marketing skills and an understanding of new media as a tool for self-promotion, commitment and the desire to succeed, the ability to understand and accept criticism, persistence, determination, resilience and enthusiasm.

Where can I study Children’s Literature?

Explore your options here

 Did You Know?

  • Although it is nearly impossible to come up with an exact number, according to Google, there are around 130 million published books.
  • If you read 20 minutes a day, you would have read 1.8 million words in a year.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the girls’ name Wendy existed before J. M. Barrie wrote Peter Pan.
  • In 2006, the writer of the Babar the Elephant books released a book called Babar’s Yoga for Elephants. It has sold 100,000 copies.
  • The first Mr. Men book, Mr. Tickle, came about when author Roger Hargreaves was asked by his son what a tickle looked like.
  • Dr. Seuss’ first book was rejected by over 20 publishers; his books have now sold over 500 million copies worldwide.

Mariza Halliday

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