The Pleasures of (Children’s) Literature• The pleasure of experiencing sounds and images in and for themselves—as pure sensory activity outside and beyond the realm of shared meanings and patterns.

• The pleasures of the words themselves—the patterns their sounds can make, the interesting ways in which they combine with one another, their ability to express revealing, frightening, or beautiful pictures or ideas.
• The pleasure of having one’s emotions evoked: laughing at a comic situation, being made to feel the pain or the joy a character experiences.
• The pleasure of making use of a repertoire of knowledge and strategies of comprehension—of experiencing mastery of what the text expects of its readers.
• The pleasure of recognizing gaps in repertoire and learning the information or the strategy needed to fill them, thereby developing further mastery.
• The pleasure of the pictures and ideas that the words of texts evoke—the ways in which they allow one to visualize people and places one has never actually seen or think about ideas one hasn’t considered before.
• The pleasure of finding a mirror for oneself—of identifying with fictional characters.
• The pleasure of escape—of stepping outside oneself at least imaginatively and experiencing the lives and thoughts of different people.
• The pleasure of story—the organized patterns of emotional involvement and detachment, the delays of suspense, the climaxes and resolutions, the intricate patterns of chance and coincidence that make up a plot.
• The pleasure of storytelling—the consciousness of how a writer’s point of view or emphasis on particular elements shapes one’s response.
• The pleasure of structure—the consciousness of how words, pictures, or events form cohesive and meaningful patterns.
• The pleasure of understanding—of seeing how literature not only mirrors life but also comments on it and encourages readers to consider the meaning of their own existence.
• The pleasure of gaining insight into history and culture through literature.
• The pleasure of recognizing forms and genres—of seeing similarities between works of literature.
• The pleasure of formula—of repeating the comfortably familiar experience of kinds of stories one has enjoyed before.
• The pleasure of newness—of experiencing startlingly different kinds of stories and poems.
• The pleasure of seeing through literature—of realizing how poems or stories attempt to manipulate one’s emotions and influence one’s understanding and moral judgments in ways one may or may not be prepared to accept.
• The pleasure of exploring the ways in which texts sometimes undermine or even deny their own apparent meanings.
• The pleasure of developing a deeper understanding of one’s responses and of relating them to one’s responses to other texts and to one’s understanding of literature in general.
• The pleasure of sharing experiences of literature with others (reading to others, for instance).
• The pleasure of discussing with others their responses to texts one has read.


Taken from Nodelman, Perry, and Mavis Reimer. The Pleasures of Children’s Literature, 3rd ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2003. 25-26.


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