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Exploring Children's Literature

Exploring Children's Literature
Reading for Knowledge, Understanding and Pleasure

Fourth Edition
  • Nikki Gamble - Founder and Director, Just Imagine Story Centre and Associate Consultant at UCL, Institute of Education
Additional resources:

June 2019 | 368 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Having a good working knowledge of children's literature is vital for primary teachers; the best way to develop switched-on young readers is to ensure they get access to high-quality age-appropriate material that engages and inspires them. This book explores the rich and varied world of children's literature and how it can be used in teaching to promote reading for pleasure and create lifelong readers. This new edition has been completely updated to include: 

- 5 brand new chapters covering Knowledge & skills, Classics, Illustrated fiction & graphic novels, Non-fiction, and Humour 
- New expert voice features providing commentaries from educators, literary experts and authors such as Lucy Worsley 
- Up to date book lists featuring recent and more diverse literature and authors 
- New practical activities and case studies show casing children's books and how to use them in the classroom
- Further reading links to take students further


Part 1: Children's Literature and Reading: What Counts as Knowledge?
Chapter 1: Knowledge and Skills: The Contested Space
Chapter 2: Reading Teachers
Chapter 3: Patterns of Children's Reading
Part 2: Knowing Children's Literature
Chapter 4: Narrative and Story
Chapter 5: Aspects of Fiction
Chapter 6: Traditional Stories and Fairy Tales
Chapter 7: Fantasy
Chapter 8: Realism
Chapter 9: Back in Time: Revisiting the Past through Children’s Literature
Chapter 10: Classic Children's Books
Chapter 11: Picturebooks
Chapter 12: Illustrated Fiction, Comics and Graphic Novels
Chapter 13: Non-fiction
Chapter 14: The Pleasure of Poetry
Chapter 15: Humour: A Serious Business
Part 3: Into Practice
Chapter 16: The Reading School: Developing a Reading Culture
Chapter 17: The Reading Classroom

This accessible, research-informed book speaks right to the heart of teachers. In this inspiring update, Gamble challenges us to question and debate to consider how we create passionate readers. What a delight to be encouraged as trainee teachers and primary practitioners to reflect on our personal reading journeys, to promote a culture of reading and to develop a love of literature.

Nicky-Jane Kerr-Gilbert
Primary SCITT Course Leader, Nottingham Institute of Education

Having an in-depth understanding of children’s literature is one of the most important aspects of teachers’ subject knowledge. Being in a position to support and enrich children’s development as engaged readers is equally important. This book is not only an extraordinary exploration of children’s literature, from picturebooks and graphic novels to nonfiction and poetry, but also a supportive and knowledgeable guide to the development of a whole school reading culture. This is essential reading for every student, teacher and school leadership teams.

Tracy Parvin
Programme Director BA Primary Education, Canterbury Christ Church University

The best way to develop young readers is to ensure they get access to materials that engage and inspire them. This book explores how children’s literature can be used in teaching, and is supported by a range of extra online resources, including further book recommendations. Aimed at teachers based in primary education, this resource will be very useful for teachers within secondary education, as well, as it covers materials suitable for older readers.

Jan Beechey
Dyslexia Review
Dyslexia Review

An excellent book, that both myself and my students refer to regularly, would highly recommend this book.

Mrs Rebecca Clare Ovenden
Wiltshire College, Wiltshire College
October 7, 2022

An excellent text to inspire students to become lovers of reading and how to enthuse children to become readers too...

Mr Scott Fisher
Education, University of St Mark And St John
October 22, 2020

A perfect support to the Primary English ITE curriculum. This book would also support early career teachers and English subject leads in school.

Mrs Catherine Carden
Faculty of Education, Canterbury Christ Church University
November 1, 2019

Part 1 is relevant for our year 2/3 students as it discusses the importance of subject knowledge and the current education climate. Part 2 will be useful for subject specialist modules in regards to narrative viewpoint and story structure. Part 2 also has useful sections on features of different genres.

Miss Hannah Chasteauneuf
Faculty of Education, Brighton University
November 12, 2019

An informative book that gives different perspectives on children's literature.

Mrs maureen eyers
Education Health & Community, Liverpool John Moores University
February 13, 2020

This fourth edition is a key text for reading early years and primary teachers who continue to explore and gain a deeper insight of Children's Literature.

Mrs Janet Douglas Gardner
Department of Education, London Metropolitan University
January 6, 2020

This is an excellent book for updating teacher knowledge about children's literature and how to support reading for pleasure. The sections on comics, graphic novels and picutre books are especially good.

Mrs Jan Beechey
Education and Training, Dyslexia Action
July 29, 2019