A note on the buying and finding of texts
Please note that prospective students may wish to check with us which books it may be useful for them actually to buy and/or read as course preparation: students should be aware that – as with any reading lists – course materials vary over time and are used to differing extents during an actual course. In the past, some students have gone out and bought books in advance, despite this warning, and then been frustrated that they were not actually used on the course, so don’t buy without asking us, unless you are prepared to take this risk!
One further note: unfortunately, specialist books in children’s literature tend to go out of print rather quickly. Because they are essential, however, we include them here, but getting hold of them may involve being prepared to hunt through libraries, share books, or scour second hand bookshops! For the MA in Children’s Literature at Reading we make sure that we hold sufficient copies of these out-of-print materials for our students in our Reading University library at the Whiteknights campus or at the Special Collections at the University archives at the Museum of English Rural Life. Remember also to use the resources of the internet further: take a look, for instance, at our CIRCL Other Interesting Sites web-page.
If you are looking for second hand texts, useful links to second hand-bookstores or internet delivery and/ or book search companies include
Some course texts are available on the Web:
Classics for Young People (this is a site on ‘The Children’s Literature Web Guide’ (see on the ‘Other Sites’ page), with a large range of classic children’s texts on the web: this link takes you directly there. For the rest of the site, click on the link listed on the ‘Other Sites’ page).
For a wider audience too we hope these lists may help to provide a guide for their own reading in the rapidly developing and exciting field of Children’s Literature Studies. Enjoy your reading!
M(Res.) in Children’s Literature Reading Lists
The three core modules — Theory of Children’s Literature, Nineteenth Century Children’s Literature, and Twenty- and Twenty-first Century — are obligatory, and consist of twenty weeks of one-hour classes.
Three options modules (ten weeks of one hour classes for each course) are selected from the several possibilities available by the students themselves before the start of each academic year.
For a list of past MA dissertations see the MA dissertations page.
My one year’s visit in CIRCL is the most rewarding academic experience that I have ever had. I found the [M(Res.)] seminars very stimulating. With “positive reinforcement”, all the participants are encouraged and involved. I am always encouraged and inspired by the discussions that were held in the seminars, which are though-provoking and very interactive, heated sometimes yet always in a very pleasant and harmonious atmosphere. I am greatly indebted to Karin, Neil and Sue for their wonder...JIANG Jianli (Tina), Associate Professor, Qingdao Technological University, China, CIRCL Academic Visiting Fellow 2016-17
Sara Zadrozny (then: Sara Broad), CIRCL MA 2003-4
“I thoroughly enjoyed the course. Always challenging, the course approached and encouraged me to deal with many issues in a rigorously academic way. The work on the course was always innovative and now I can see how the course changed the way I can think about problems and solutions in both academic and non-academic contexts. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to deal with their own and other’s assumptions in a thoughtful and explorative way."Christopher Johnson, CIRCL MA 2015-2016
'I gained much more than I had expected from the MA. The course was not just about children's literature; it led me to reconsider the way I read, think, and argue. It prepared me for my PhD research and had an influence on my whole life. I can sincerely say that the MA in Children's Literature at Reading is worth attending, even if you need to travel all the way from the other side of the earth (which is more or less what I did, as an international student).'Yuko Ashitagawa, CIRCL MA 2001-2, CIRCL PhD 2002-5
'Studying the Children’s Literature MA at Reading was a hugely challenging and rewarding experience for me. When I began the course I had no idea how much my own thinking, reading and argument would develop, so much so that by the end I considered continuing with a PhD. A year after completing the MA I won University Studentship funding to undertake a PhD at CIRCL. I would recommend the Children’s Literature MA to anybody who wishes to develop their critical thinking in any subject area, n...Helen Ainslie, CIRCL MA 2004-5, CIRCL PhD 2006-9
'The Children’s Literature MA has aided my development of extensive academic skills and has introduced me to complex and fascinating theoretical approaches, which can be used to question supposedly obvious or accepted ideas encountered not just in Children’s Literature but across all types of literature. However, I also feel the MA has provided me with some essential skills including problem-identifying and solving by working out the implications and effects of the claims made by others, ...Gemma Budd, CIRCL MA 2010-11
'With great support from the tutors and friends I have had a wonderful year in exploring and reconsidering the way I have been thinking all my life. In many ways it is my personal journey during which I have learnt a lot, not only about how to (or not to) find an answer but also about how to raise a question. As an international student I would like to say that the MA is very challenging, yet very liberating.'Sireethorn (Pam) Simawathna, CIRCL MA 2012-13
Dr Haiya Dong, CIRCL Visiting Scholar 2018-19 Interview
The [M(Res)] seminars I attended in CIRCL during my one year’s visit are always inspiring and profound, which have greatly improved my research skills and changed my mindset for doing research in children’s literature. The seminars taught me to find the perspectives in the text we analysed and develop my own judgment, which is the most challenging yet most rewarding thing in doing research. From my own experience as a teacher, such seminars are most effective in forging critical and indepe...XU Derong (David), Associate Professor, Ocean University of China, CIRCL Academic Visiting Fellow, 2016-17
Lisa Stallard, CIRCL MA 2011-12
'My undergraduate degree was English Literature with Education Studies at the University of Cambridge and as part of that course I took a module in Children's Literature and absolutely loved it. I therefore decided to research MA courses so that I could further develop my interest. I was advised by my tutors at Cambridge that the most rigorous course was the one offered by the University of Reading and I was thrilled to be offered a place. During the MA the tutors were friendly and support...Hannah Smith (now: Anglin-Jaffe), CIRCL MA 2001-2, CIRCL PhD 2005
'The Reading MA in Children's Literature was a stimulating and thoroughly enjoyable experience for me. The course is intellectually demanding and wide-ranging in its approach to the field of children's literature and its cultural context. Though it focuses on the child in literature it is not restrictive. Many of the issues raised during the course of study are pertinent to all kinds of literature. There are ample opportunities for students to engage in discussion and to make their own con...Hilary Fraser, CIRCL MA 1999-2000, CIRCL PhD 2009
'Studying the MA in Children's Literature was an excellent introduction to and preparation for academic practice and further research as it provided me with an opportunity to engage in discussions surrounding the issues addressed by current researchers during CIRCL seminars in a nurturing and supportive environment.'Catrin Edwards, CIRCL MA 2006-7, CIRCL PhD 2010