Introduction to Children’s Literature


Children’s literature has been a neglected component of child education for some time now especially in Nigeria. Yet, it has the potential of teaching all the subjects on the school time-table through a more acceptable manner to the child. Many effective teachers just like the early educators – Plato, John Locke and Jean Jacque Rousseau – have passed through some facets of children’s literature, especially the oral form, to impart knowledge to children. Unfortunately, compartmentalisation of knowledge has stripped children’s literature of its continued use as a method. to the benefit of educational practice. However, children’s literature has content which when exploited, offers a rich formative potential to the contemporary child. In realization of the above, children’s literature is silently adopted as part of the integrated English language approach in our schools. Contrary to expectation, the literature aspect of this approach is ofen neglected either because of ignorance of its potentials or out of incompetence at its exploitation.

This book is thus an attempt to make children educators to understand the signi?cance of children’s literature and the potency it holds towards the education of the child. lnaddition, steps to take in using literature as a tool to educate the child have also been discussed herein. The book therefore promises to be of particular benefit to student teachers from Colleges of Education and Universities as well as their teachers and education administrators. In fact, in writing the book, it was intended to be and it actually is a text and a reference material to every child educator while at the same time sewing as a source of inspiration to all who are interested in writing for children as well as in proper child up-bringing.

I would like to acknowledge the assistance I received from many individuals during the course of writing this text. In the ?rst place I would love to express my sincere thanks to my smdents, past and present. Teaching them a?brded me the opportunity of researching into the area of children’s literature, which this text is a testimony. Secondly, I thank all members of my family, my colleagues in the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education, University of Uyo and those in the entire Faculty of Education whose behaviours have given me continuous-peace during the course of writing this book.

In particular, Dr. Imeyen A. Noah of the Department of Foreign Languages, University of Calabar, deserves special mention for his acceptance to edit and introduce this book. To Mrs. Bassey J. Bassey and Theresa Udoh, Iapprcciate your love and sel?ess service to me not only during this write up but throughout my tenure as the Head of Department. To all these people and several others too numerous to mention on this page, I say thank you. May the Good Lord bless you all.


September, 1997


Table of Contents
Chapter One
Literature Meaning, Scope and Children‘s Literature – Introduction
– The Meaning of Literature
– The Scope of Literature
– Children’s Literature
– Historical Background To Children’s Literature
– The Development of Children’s Literature In Nigeria
– Conclusion
Chapter Two
The Essence Of Children’s Literature
– Speech Training
– Diagnosis
– Proper Body Functioning and Coordination
– Motivation
– Cognitive Exposure
– Development of Morals and Character
– Pleasure and Relaxation
– lnformation Source
– Self Concept Development
– Conclusion
Chapter Three
The Components Of Cl1ildren’s Literature
– Introduction
– Prose
– Roetry
– Drama
– Conclusion
Chapter Four
Selection Of Literature For Children
– Introduction
– Personal Factors
– Content Factors
– Environmental Factors
– Conclusion
Chapter Five
Instructional Strategies And Children’s Literature
– Introduction
– Teaching Method
– Basic Methods of Teaching Children’s Literature
– Conclusion
Chapter Six
Stylistic Analysis Of Children’s Literature
– Introduction
– Content
– Style
– Language Analysis
– Repetition
– Conclusion
Chapter Seven
Children’s Literature In Nigeria: Problems And Prospects.
– Introduction
– Problems Facing Children’s Literature In Nigeria
– Recommendation Towards Improved Status
– Conclusion

Prof. Queendoleen Obinaju

Prof. Queendoleen Idongesit Obinaju is a long standing lecturer, researcher, consultant, editor and scholar. In particular, she has made impact in the development and education of children from conception up to early stages of secondary education. Her focus is Child Psychology and Early Childhood Education. She has been a consultant to several agencies and organizations such as UNICEF, USAID, CIVITAS, State and Federal Governments.

She is presently a Professor of Child Psychology & Early Childhood Education at Department of Early Childhood & Special Education,University of Uyo. She is a member of several professional bodies she is married with children.
Her personal Knowledgebase can be accessed via, where you’ll get to know more about this great scholar and access all her publications.

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