Set Course for Adventure!

Rigor is a sign of a well-trained mind. -- Wonder is the most fertile soil for rigor to grow in.

A literature course has got to make students good readers, but before that, it has to make them avid readers. One of the best ways to do this is by engaging the student's imagination and sense of wonder: it is much more natural to ask rigorous questions about those things we are already wondering at, that have captivated us in our deepest being.

This course aims to connect a student’s love of reading with the skills required to responsibly and rigorously analyze texts. The stories chosen for this course each contain an element of the fantastical that excites the student’s sense of wonder and draws their interest. But the stories will be read and discussed with the kind of attention to detail given to works like The Odyssey or Shakespeare. In this way, this course will model and train the habits and practices of close reading while linking that task directly to the joy of reading fun stories that get the imagination going. This course aims to be your student’s favorite literature course while being no less rigorous than their other literature courses.

Credit is available for this course. Writing assignments will be graduated according to the student's grade.

Tuesdays, 1:30 - 3:00 pm CT
August 22 - December 12, 2023

This class is open to ages 12-18

Tuition $350 / student


  • Fairy poems
  • Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll
  • The Once and Future King, Book 1: The Sword in the Stone, T.H. White
  • The Golden Key, George MacDonald
  • Oscar Wilde fairy tales
  • “Leaf by Niggle,” J.R.R. Tolkien
  • So You Want to Be a Wizard, Diane Duane
  • The Magician’s Nephew, C.S. Lewis
  • The Dark is Rising, Susan Cooper
  • Every time I hear Junius Johnson speak, I walk away asking: "Did I forget how exciting and joyful the life of the mind can be?”

  • A deep perspective on the human need for wonder, and the essential desire for things powerful and uncontrollable.

  • Why do you suppose dragons have possessed the imagination of writers and readers for most of our recorded history. Junius Johnson has come away from the dragons hoard with a few secrets to share. I found his treatment personally encouraging and a call to pick up my lance (or my pen), and join in the battle.

  • Junius shares such a wondrous view of the purpose of dragons in literature and why we need our imagination to be refreshed and invigorated by them.