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College of Professional and Global Education · School of Information

Genres and Topics in Youth Literature - Fantasy

  • Fall 2023
  • Section 10
  • 3 Unit(s)
  • 08/21/2023 to 12/06/2023
  • Modified 07/19/2023

Canvas Information

This course will be available on Canvas beginning August 21st, 6 am PT.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Contact Information

Jonathan Hunt
Office Hours: Occasional Zoom office hours will be offered, but please e-mail any time.


Course Description and Requisites

Various topics and genres in literature for children or teens will be examined in depth, such as graphic novels, poetry, fantasy, science fiction, publishing and writing trends, reading motivation techniques, literature in the classroom, and the art of picture books.


INFO 200, INFO 260A, or INFO 261A.

Classroom Protocols


Students are expected to participate fully in all class activities. It is expected that students will be open-minded and participate fully in discussions in class and debate in a mature and respectful manner. Use of derogatory, condescending, or offensive language including profanity is prohibited. Disagreement is healthy and perfectly acceptable. Expressing disagreement should always include an explanation of your reasoning and, whenever possible, evidence to support your position. In accordance with San José State University's Policies, the Student Code of Conduct, and applicable state and federal laws, discrimination based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability is prohibited in any form.

Program Information

Course Workload

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group; contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Goals

INFO 271A supports the following core competencies:

  1. C Articulate the importance of designing programs and services supportive of diversity, inclusion, and equity for clientele and employees.
  2. F Use the basic concepts and principles related to the selection, evaluation, organization, and preservation of physical and digital information items.
  3. J Describe the fundamental concepts of information-seeking behaviors and how they should be considered when connecting individuals or groups with accurate, relevant and appropriate information.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Exhibit knowledge of specific literary elements which appeal to fantasy readers and how the genre appeals broadly to the imagination.
  2. Demonstrate a historical perspective on the emergence of fantasy as a genre for children and young adults.
  3. Examine fantasy literature with a particular emphasis on a diversity of formats, genres, and audiences.
  4. Evaluate fantasy literature in order to develop an appropriate collection, build connections to programs and services, and make recommendations to patrons.

Course Materials


No Textbooks For This Course.

Course Requirements and Assignments

There are 100 points possible in this class.

Discussion (2 pts each week for a total of 30 points) Read and respond to weekly readings by answering discussion prompts and doing short activities. While there is no textbook for this course, weekly readings will consist of several articles that can be accessed online through Canvas, CLO #1-4.

Engagement Activity (10 points) Create one of the following

  • Booktalk Create a one-minute recorded booktalk
  • Trailer Create a one-minute recorded book trailer
  • Display Design a book display with a two-page rationale
  • Program Design a program with a two-page rationale

Additional information on these options will be provided in Canvas. Due September 10, CLO #3-4.

Presentation (15 points) You will select an approved subgenre to research and record a concise 3 minute presentation. Your presentation will synthesize your research, your personal interest, and recommended resources; you will also include a works cited page at the end. Approved subgenres in the past have included steampunk, urban fantasy, alternative history, fairy tale retellings, LGBTQ characters and themes, the influence of global cultures on fantasy--but a fuller list will be shared within Canvas. Due October 8, CLO #1-2.

Author Study (15 points) Select an approved author with a large body of work. Write a five-page, double-spaced research paper which compares and contrasts their books and examines their impact on the field. Due November 5, CLO #2-3.

Slide Deck (30 points) Read and evaluate 30 items from different subgenres. You may not read more than three items from any one subgenre, author, or format. These must also be books you have not read before this semester. Each slide needs a cover image, a single-sentence summary, and a couple of links to additional resources. Your slide deck should also have title slides for each subgenre, author, or format. Due December 6, CLO #3-4.


Grading Information

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100A
94 to 96A minus
91 to 93B plus
88 to 90B
85 to 87B minus
82 to 84C plus
79 to 81C
76 to 78C minus
73 to 75D plus
70 to 72D
67 to 69D minus
Below 67F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9 (PDF), relevant university policy concerning all courses, such as student responsibilities, academic integrity, accommodations, dropping and adding, consent for recording of class, etc. and available student services (e.g. learning assistance, counseling, and other resources) are listed on the Syllabus Information web page. Make sure to visit this page to review and be aware of these university policies and resources.

Course Schedule

Week 1: 8/21  - 8/27 (Appeal of Fantasy)

Week 2: 8/28 - 9/3 (History: 50s to 80s)

Week 3: 9/4- 9/10 (History: 90s to 20s)

  • Labor Day: September 4

Week 4: 9/11 - 9/17 (High Fantasy)

  • Assignment 1 (Engagement Activity) due: September 10

Week 5: 9/18- 9/24 (Science Fiction, Romance, Mystery, Horror)

Week 6: 9/25- 10/1 (Myths, Legends, and Tales)

Week 7: 10/2 - 10/8 (Magical Realism)

  • Assignment 2 (Presentation) due: October 8

Week 8: 10/9- 10/15 (Presentations)

Week 9: 10/16 - 10/22 (Diversity: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture)

Week 10: 10/23 - 10/29 (Diversity: Gender, Sexuality, and Ability)

Week 11: 10/30- 11/5 (Humor)

  • Assignment 3 (Author Study) due: November 5

Week 12: 11/6 - 11/12 (Animal Fantasy)

  • Veterans Day: November 10

Week 13: 11/13 - 11/19 (Graphic Novels, Manga, and Comic Books)

Week 14: 11/20 - 11/26 (Film and Television)

  • Thanksgiving Holiday: November 23-24

Week 15: 11/27 - 12/6 (Picture Books)

  • Assignment 4 (Slide Deck) due: December 6