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RHETORIC IN

CHILDREN’S BOOKS
Rae Anna Golderer
What is Genre? What is Rhetoric?
o everything is a genre and everything
fits in a genre! o language designed to
o very broad “categories” that multiple have a persuasive or
different medias can fit into like music,
movies, readings, etc. impressive effect on its
o children’s books fit in either the
“book” or “children’s entertainment”
audience
genre

*** This is important for you, the board of


education, to know so you can understand the
conventions and rhetoric that makes a children’s
book a children’s book! ***
Conventions:
◦Light-hearted
◦Bright colors
◦Moral of the story- sharing, being kind to others,
etc.
◦Big letters/easy to read
◦Personified objects- transportation, animals, etc.
◦Repetition of words/phrases to promote learning
Rhetorical Situations:
◦ Affordances: promote learning, because the main character in most children’s books are animals,
all kids are able to relate to the story; no “person” is represented in the stories
◦ Constraints: writers cannot say anything that would upset kids in anyway and they must keep the
story as simple as possible for younger children, coming up with new storylines that will attract
children can be difficult, especially because the writers are older.
◦ Exigence: To give children the opportunity to learn how to read but to make it more fun and
enjoyable with the use of illustrations and fun storylines
◦ Primary Audience: Children typically kindergarten to fourth grade (depending on reading level of
the book) are the primary audience
◦ Secondary Audience: Teachers or parents could be considered the secondary audience, they
both purchase these books to read to kids
◦ Writer: Writers of this genre are typically familiar with children, either because they have their own
or because they have taught children. They are someone who loves children and who wants to
see them grow intellectually.
◦ Background/Context: These books are pretty self-explanatory: they were written for children to
both teach them and to entertain them.
Example #1- The
Cat in the Hat
 Light-hearted
• Nothing upsetting happens
 Bright colors
 Moral at the end of the story
• Although breaking the rules can be
fun, there are consequences
 Big lettering/ easy to read
 Personified objects/ animals
 Repetition of words or phrases
• Rhymes throughout the book
Example #2- The Little
Engine That Could
 Light-hearted
 Bright colors
 Moral at the end of the story
• Never give up on yourself
 Big letters/ easy to read
 Personified objects/ animals
• Main character is a train
 Repetition of words or phrases
• “I think I can”
Example #3- If You
Give A Mouse A
Cookie
 Light-hearted
 Bright colors
 Moral at the end of the story
• Teaches kids that they can beg until they
get what they want
 Big letters/ easy to read
• Largest text out of all the examples
 Personified objects/ animals
 Repetition of words or phrases
• If…., then…. statement repeated
Example #4-
Corduroy
 Light-hearted
 Bright colors
• Dullest colors out of all the examples
 Moral at the end of the story
• It’s what is on the inside that matters,
not the outside
 Big letters/ easy to read
• Smallest text out of all the examples
 Personified objects/ animals
 Repetition of words or phrases
I hope you learned a
little more about the
importance of rhetoric
and what to look for Thank You!
when selecting
children’s books for your
school!