ENGL213-24S2 (C) Semester Two 2024

Children's Classics: Popular Children's Texts and their Representation on Film

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 15 July 2024
End Date: Sunday, 10 November 2024
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 28 July 2024
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 29 September 2024


Children's Classics teaches the genre-specific nature of children's literature, its socio-historical contexts, and the significance of its re-readings as film. It introduces a selection of enduring children's texts, illustrating the importance to literary production of changing cultural context, demonstrating the importance of intertextuality in children's literature and how texts change when filmed, and promotes the skills of reading and writing.

This course introduces the genre of film as a key medium for the representation of children’s literature.  We will take a number of children’s ‘classics’, as well as three key 21st century novels for young readers, and will consider how they have been adapted and interpreted in diverse ways, using varied film technologies, as entertainment objects for children, family and adult audiences. Topics will include: the emergence of cinema as a storytelling tool; development and impact of animation and special effects technologies; the importance of fairy tales in the development of children’s media; theories of adaptation; child-centred storytelling; theories of audiences and spectatorship; genre; fantasy; gender; humour and the grotesque; horror and the uncanny; and contemporary dystopian film and fiction. The course and its assessment will focus on both written and visual material.

This course can be used towards an English major or minor. BA students who major in English would normally take at least two 100-level 15 point ENGL courses (which must include at least one of the following: ENGL117, ENGL102 or ENGL103), at least three 200-level 15 point ENGL courses, and at least two 300-level 30 point ENGL courses. Please see the BA regulations  or a student advisor for more information.

Learning Outcomes

  • In this course you will learn:
  • to introduce and justify a selection of the most enduring texts for children;
  • to illustrate the importance to literary production of changing cultural context;
  • to demonstrate the importance of inter-textuality in children’s literature;
  • to further demonstrate how texts can be translated and transformed by their interpretation on film;
  • to promote the skills of critical reading and writing.

    By the end of this course, students will be expected to have learned the following:
  • how to assess the worth of the ‘canon’ as it may apply to children’s literature;
  • how to read children’s literature in context-specific ways;
  • basic cinematic qualities and techniques as they may apply to viewing films for children;
  • that the intended audience for children’s films is one which constantly negotiates between child and adult viewer.


Any 15 points at 100 level from ENGL, or
any 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA.


Equivalent Courses

Timetable 2024

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 14:00 - 15:00 E16 Lecture Theatre
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 14:00 - 16:00 E16 Lecture Theatre
15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Daniel Bedggood


Erin Harrington


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Two short reflective writing tasks 10%
Analytical essay 25%
Adaptation exercise 25%
Take-home test 40%

Textbooks / Resources

Our core texts are:
•  J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999) and its 2004 cinematic adaptation
•  Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) and various cinematic adaptations
•  Neil Gaiman’s Coraline (2002) and the 2009 film
•  Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games (2008) and the 2012 film
•  Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls (2011) and the 2017 film

Theoretical texts and some literary texts (such as short stories, poems and original versions of fairy tales) will be provided via Learn. Students are encouraged to start reading the novels prior to the course’s start date.

(Image: "Coraline and some Button-eyed fellow" by Ben VanderVeen, licensed under CC BY 2.0.)

Course links

Library portal

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $844.00

International fee $3,950.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.

For further information see Humanities .

All ENGL213 Occurrences

  • ENGL213-24S2 (C) Semester Two 2024