Will Call #40 — The Hero’s Journey in Children’s Literature with Deirdre Flynn Sullivan

"The Mad Tea Party;" Alice goes on variations of the "hero's journey" in "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass;" illustration by John Tenniel, 1865. Although popular in children's literature, the monomyth is ubiquitous throughout all genres of fiction.

“The Mad Tea Party;” Alice goes on variations of the “hero’s journey” in “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass;” illustration by John Tenniel, 1865. Although popular in children’s literature, the monomyth is found throughout all genres of fiction.

Deirdre Flynn Sullivan joins us again for a Young Adult and Children’s Literature episode of “Will Call,” and she chooses the “Hero’s Journey” as our topic, which seems an appropriate, if less than obvious, direction to take this holiday season.


The hero’s journey, or monomyth, is a common pattern followed by tales from all manner of genre, whether epic fantasy, science fiction, or drama. A hero sets off on an adventure, and, during a decisive crisis, wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed. Learn more by reading the complete explanation at Wikipedia, or a slightly pared down version at The Writer’s Journey.

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Deirdre Flynn Sullivan: Our Resident expert on Children’s Literature

 

Deirdre, an artist and longtime advocate for the arts, shares insightful observations about young adult and children’s literature that she’s gained through both concentrated study and practice.

Deirdre Flynn Sullivan; photo courtesy the artist, via Deirdre of the Arts, Facebook

Deirdre Flynn Sullivan; photo courtesy the artist, via Deirdre of the Arts, Facebook

Be sure to check out Deirdre’s extremely happening Facebook groups, which can provide an unmatched source of information and inspiration throughout your day!

Deirdre of the Arts

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Deirdre of the Arts

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The Scene: From the Renaissance to Hollywood

A variant of the hero's journey take the protagonist on an internal quest. Illustration from "Little Women," volume II, by Louisa May Alcott; illustration by May Alcott, 1869; via Wikimedia Commons.

A variant of the hero’s journey take the protagonist on an internal quest. Illustration from “Little Women,” volume II, by Louisa May Alcott; illustration by May Alcott, 1869; via Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

 

 

“We will need writers who can remember freedom.”

—Ursula Le Guin

We can’t guarantee that ALL the titles we mentioned appear here in the show notes, but we’ll add them below if we’ve missed any!

Two places online that we encourage you to check out:

LibriVox—Free Public Domain Audiobooks. Visit the site to learn how to hear great works read aloud or to volunteer your time and voice to their mission of making as many public domain works as possible available as audiobooks.

 

Young Children

Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson
Poky Little Puppy,  Janette Sebring Lowrey and Gustaf Tenggren (Illustrator)
Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, Maurice Sendak Caldecot
Skippy John Jones, Judy Schachner
Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter

Poky Little Puppy, Janette Sebring Lowrey and Gustaf Tenggren (Illustrator)

Poky Little Puppy, Janette Sebring Lowrey and Gustaf Tenggren (Illustrator)

Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson

Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak

Skippy John Jones, by Judy Schachner

Skippy John Jones, by Judy Schachner

 

Chapter Books

Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll

Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster

Catwings, by Ursula Le Guin

A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg

The Tripod Series, John Christopher

"The Boggart," by Susan Cooper "Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth," by E.L. Konigsburg, 1967
"Hob and the Goblins," by William Mayne

The Power of Poppy Pendle, by Natasha Lowe

The Power of Poppy Pendle, by Natasha Lowe

 

Young Adult

A Little Princess, Frances Hodgson Burnett

Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë
Catcher in the Rye — J.D. Salinger
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery

 

"The Hounds of the Morrigan," by Pat O'Shea

“The Hounds of the Morrigan,” by Pat O’Shea

"Salem's Lot," by Stephen King

“Salem’s Lot,” by Stephen King

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