Children's Literature

Simmons launched the first Master of Arts degree in Children’s Literature in 1977 to provide a rigorous, disciplined study of children’s and young adult books for those who are — or who intend to be — involved in teaching, library services, publishing, writing, or related fields. Students apply high-level scholarly analysis to materials ranging from folklore and fantasy to contemporary realistic fiction, nonfiction, and picturebooks. With an emphasis on historical and critical analysis — including gender studies, ideological, and multicultural perspectives — our interdisciplinary curriculum draws upon literature, art, history, education, sociology, psychology, and media studies.

Students sitting in class looking at picture books

This is a 36-credit program with only four mandatory courses. Students can tailor their program experience with a large list of elective courses as they immerse themselves in a wide range of genres — poetry, nonfiction, fantasy, young adult realistic fiction — and investigate the ways that children's literature constructs childhood.

Why study Children's Literature?

Our Master’s program explores the multiple social, cultural, and professional perspectives that shape literature for today’s children and young adults. Coursework addresses topics such as book publishing, folklore, orality, poetry, nonfiction, writing fiction for children and young adults, and the multiple ways children’s literature constructs and reacts to constructions of childhood.

Our faculty come from academic and professional fields. Each student works closely with a faculty advisor to tailor their program to specific interests and future goals. Throughout the year, we offer a number of two-credit courses that use intensive weekend, week-long, or short-term models.

What can you do with an MA in Children’s Literature?

Students take advantage of career exploration and internship opportunities while in Boston or Amherst. Programs sponsored by the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature afford them networks of editors, authors, illustrators, critics, reviewers, teachers, and librarians. Our partnerships include The Horn Book, Inc., the Boston Book Festival, and Children’s Books Boston (a collaboration of Simmons with local children’s book publishers), among others.

Our alumni contribute to all areas of children’s and young adult book studies and publishing. Employers such as The Sheldon Fogelman Agency and publishers including Scholastic, Candlewick Press, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Roaring Brook Press, Lee & Low Publishers, and Charlesbridge hire graduates from our programs for a variety of editorial and marketing positions. Many graduates go on to leadership positions; the founder of the Boston Book Festival and the children’s book editor of Kirkus Reviews are both Simmons Children’s Literature alumni.

Our graduates have published best-selling and award-winning work for children and young adults. They also teach at places such as Boston Collegiate School, Sonoma Academy, and the University of Memphis. They work in youth services at the Boston Public Library. They translate works for international audiences.

Learn more about our Master’s in Children’s Literature program!

Simmons University’s MA in Children’s Literature prepares students to work in creating, analyzing, and publishing books for our youngest generation. Interesting in learning more? Request more information!

Scholarships, Discounts, Fellowship and Teaching Assistantship Opportunities 

All applicants are considered for a range of university scholarships, including endowed and departmental awards; new and returning students may apply for selective fellowships to help fund their degrees. Students who have completed at least eight credits are eligible to apply for teaching assistantships to gain experience in the classroom and help finance their degree. Additionally, Simmons is proud to offer teachers, librarians, affiliates of partner organizations, and Simmons alumnae/i reduced tuition and other benefits.


Programs at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

All Children’s Literature degree and dual degree programs are offered on the Boston campus. In addition, the MA in Children’s Literature, MFA in Writing for Children, the dual degree MA/MFA are also offered at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst. Students can complete the MA in Children’s Literature/MS in Library Science with MA courses at the Carle and LIS courses on the Mount Holyoke campus. Founded by Eric Carle, the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the Carle is the first full-scale museum in this country devoted to national and international picture book art.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

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. Learn more about the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

Ready to take the next step? We'll guide you through the requirements and deadlines — and get you started on your way.

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Children's Literature at Simmons University

From picture books to young adult literature, classic works to contemporary prize-winners, you will explore the artistry of literature for children and young adults. Dare to discover new audiences and stories all your own.

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Amy Pattee

  • Professor and Department Chair of Children's Literature