Compose the Literary Future

Cultivate a unique place in the landscape of children’s and young adult literature. Synthesize contemporary literary theory and your creative practice.

Highlight critical analysis – including gender studies, ideology, narrative theory – to position your own voice as a writer for today’s young readers. Draw on an interdisciplinary curriculum that integrates art, history, education, sociology, psychology and media studies as illuminating perspectives. Test your creative mettle across genre – from picturebooks and beginning readers for the youngest audience to contemporary realistic fiction and fantasy for young adults.

Immerse yourself in The Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons to discuss craft and criticism with critics, editors, authors, and illustrators at the summer institute. Attend events with The Horn Book and Children’s Books Boston. Indulge in the Boston Book Festival, PEN-New England, Grub Street, and the active writing community of Boston.

Program Requirements

The College offers a dual degree program that combines the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature with the Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Children. This 56 credit program requires the following courses: 

  • CHL 401 Criticism of Literature for Children
  • CHL 403 The Picturebook
  • CHL 413 Contemporary Realistic Fiction for Young Adults
  • CHL 414 Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • CHL 421 History of Children’s Book Publishing
  • CHL 430 Writing for Children I
  • CHL 431 Writing for Children II
  • CHL 441 Mentorship I, supervised study
  • CHL 442 Mentorship II, supervised study

Electives

History Electives (to total 4 credits)

  • CHL 411 Victorian Children's Literature
  • CHL 418 Australian Children's Literature
  • CHL 419 Canadian Children's Literature: Fantasy
  • CHL 424 Nonsense and Subversive Rhymes
  • CHL 427 Special Topics in Folk & Fairy Tales
  • CHL 428 The Graphic Novel and The Wizard of Oz

Genre Electives (to total 16 credits)

  • CHL 404A Poetry for Young Readers
  • CHL 413 Contemporary Realistic Fiction for Young Adults
  • CHL 414 Fantasy and Science Fiction
  • CHL 419B Humor
  • CHL 429A Rereading Race in Classic Children's Literature
  • CHL 429B The Girl Reader, 1868-1908
  • CHL 429C Culture Matters in Children's Literature
  • CHL 436A Nonfiction-Narrative
  • CHL 436B Nonfiction-Expository
  • CHL 513 Survey of Children's and Young Adult Literature
  • Summer Symposium and Institute
Customize Your Program
You'll work with a faculty advisor to tailor your program to your interests and career goals.
Internships and Research
Our students take advantage of internships in Boston and beyond, building their skills and resumes and learning from mentors in their fields. Students have interned at publishing houses such as Delacorte, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Charlesbridge, Candlewick, Scholastic, Penguin, David Godine, and St. Martin's; at a variety of literary agenc​ies in Boston and New York; and at advocacy groups, such as Reach Out and Read and the Boston Book Festival. Some students also seek professional internships with local schools and libraries.
Faculty
    Cathryn Mercier
    • Cathryn Mercier
    • Professor, Director of the Children’s Literature Program, Director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature
    • Phone: 617-521-2541
    • Office: P310A
    Amy Pattee
    • Amy Pattee
    • Director for the Master of Science Program, Associate Professor
    • Phone: 617-521-2853
    • Office: P310B
    Megan Lambert
    • Megan Lambert
    • Senior Lecturer
    • Phone: 617-521-2576
    • Office: P310Q
    Kelly Hager
    • Kelly Hager
    • Associate Professor, English, and Department Chair, Women'
    • Phone: 617-521-2173
    • Office: C301F
Eric Carle Museum

Programs at the Eric Carle Museum
All Children's Literature degree and dual degree programs are offered on the Boston campus. In addition, the M.A. in Children's Literature, M.F.A. in Writing for Children and our M.A. in Children's Literature/M.F.A. dual degree, and M.A. in Children's Literature/M.S. in Library Science dual degrees are offered at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst. A number of two-credit courses are offered using an intensive weekend or week-long model.

The Carle
In collaboration with The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Simmons offers all four graduate programs in Children's Literature onsite at The Carle. This includes our M.A. in Children's Literature, M.F.A. in Writing for Children, M.A. in Children's Literature/M.F.A. dual degree, and M.A. in Children's Literature/M.S. in Library Science dual degree offered in collaboration with Simmons's School of Library and Information Science program at Mount Holyoke. Founded in part by Eric Carle, the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is the first full-scale museum in this country devoted to national and international picture book art. The Carle is located in Amherst, in the heart of the Five Colleges area of Western Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.carlemuseum.org.

How to Apply
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