Nina Becker Jobim

English ’16

  • Title English ’16

Rediscovering Fairy Tales, Fantasy, and Imaginary Places: Creating a Class on Children’s Literature 

UROP Award


This summer, Nina Becker Jobim worked with Professor Anna Henchman in the English Department to develop a new Children’s Literature course that will become available in Spring 2016. Students in the course will analyze the narrative structure of children’s literature, its social and political significance, historical context, and place in a genealogy of story telling. The course will offer an overview of the emergence of children’s literature over the past 200 years, followed by more substantive looks into its central genres: fairy tales, fantasy, science fiction, adventure tales, and picture books.

Nina spent the summer gathering materials necessary to build the course and construct the syllabus. Her work included traveling to various libraries, researching relevant authors, and compiling a list of works for Professor Henchman to use as part of the course. She studied literary criticism and drew connections between the different texts she analyzed. In addition, she studied and collected images from children’s literature to be analyzed as part of the course.

Nina became involved in Professor Henchman’s research because of her adoration of children’s literature. One of the most interesting findings from Nina’s research was the connection between children’s literature and adult literature. Nina says, “There are bits and pieces of children’s literature in so many works of adult fiction. As an adult it is interesting to realize nuances in the literature that went over my head as a child.”

After graduation, Nina plans to pursue a career in editing. Her summer research experience has also contributed to her goal of pursuing a graduate degree. “This research project has been an amazingly valuable part of my undergraduate experience. It has given me a feel for academic research, which I plan to pursue in the future.”

Both Nina and Professor Henchman are passionate about expanding research opportunities in the Arts and Humanities. Students in the Arts and Humanities who are interested in research should approach faculty with their ideas and interests. Nina says, “I think anyone interested in taking this class would be embarking on a unique opportunity to re-examine the books that made them interested in reading, and, eventually studying English.”

Nina was recently featured in BU Today.

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