Sethi says the Children's Literature program has given her a new way to look at and teach all literature.
Just one year before Meera Lee Sethi was born in Singapore, a half a world away Chris Van Allsburg penned his first — and Sethi's favorite — children's book, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. Though most people today are drawn to Allsburg's Christmas classic, The Polar Express, Sethi favors The Garden for its delightful story of a little boy who chases after a dog and ends up in the garden of a mysterious magician.
"Gasazi the Great's garden is bizarre and eerie — a surreal world looming with strange topiary trees," explains Sethi. "The images are done in charcoal pencil, and they are exquisite and beautiful. I love this book."
Shewas introduced to The Garden recently while studying children's literature as a graduate student at Simmons. "I majored in comparative literature at Brandeis; I've always loved literature. Now, the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons has allowed me to see this genre of literature more seriously."
Originally, Sethi researched Simmons for its education program because her career goal was to become a teacher. In doing so, she stumbled across information about the program in children's literature and decided she had to pursue both programs together. "My instruction in children's literature has helped me to be a resource for my students; it has made something I previously studied, extensively fresh —and it has given me a new way to look at and teach all literature."
Sethi credits children's literature Program Directors Susan Bloom and Cathryn Mercier with challenging her intellectually and mentoring her professionally. "They have been inspirational in their dedication to the subject matter and to the students. I feel confident and prepared to obtain a teaching job after I graduate that will allow me to share my passion for quality children's literature with my students."