For literary scholars and sociologists, children's literature offers interesting material to trace which view of society a certain group of adults tries to communicate to the next generation, and in which form they try to accomplish this. In this course, we assume that children's literature is characterized by three important factors: a didactic function, an entertaining function, and an aesthetic function. In the last four decades, the stress has come to lie more heavily on the aesthetic: it cannot be denied that the content and style of children' books have gradually grown more complex. For the analysis of a dozen literary works and genres, we make use of tools and methods from contemporary criticism (psychoanalysis, intertextuality, cultural studies, gender studies, trauma studies, socio-historical criticism, etc). We confront these with a selection of recent children's books for a variety of ages and from a variety of geographic areas.