Children's literature

Children's literature

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Children's literature is for readers and listeners up to about age twelve; it is often defined in four different ways: books written by children, books written for children, books chosen by children, or books chosen for children. It is often illustrated. The term is used in senses which sometimes exclude young-adult fiction, comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

s, or other genres. Books specifically for children existed by the 17th century. Before this time period it is generally believed that books were written mainly for adults. Additionally, most printed works were hard to come by due to their cost and were mostly available for purchase only by upper class society. Scholarship on children's literature includes professional organizations, dedicated publications, and university courses.

Defining children's literature



There is some debate on what constitutes children's literature.

Books written by children


A much-overlooked kind of children's literature is work written by children and young teens, such as The Young Visiters by Daisy Ashford
Daisy Ashford
Daisy Ashford, full name Margaret Mary Julia Ashford was an English writer who is most famous for writing The Young Visiters, a novella concerning the upper class society of late 19th century England, when she was just nine years old. The novella was published in 1919, preserving her juvenile...

 (aged nine) or the juvenilia
Juvenilia
Juvenilia is a term applied to literary, musical or artistic works produced by an author during his or her youth. The term often has a retrospective sense. For example, written juvenilia, if published at all, usually appear some time after the author has become well-known for later works.The term...

 of Jane Austen
Jane Austen
Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.Austen lived...

, written to amuse brothers and sisters. Anne Frank
Anne Frank
Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank is one of the most renowned and most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Acknowledged for the quality of her writing, her diary has become one of the world's most widely read books, and has been the basis for several plays and films.Born in the city of Frankfurt...

 wrote a novel and many short stories in addition to her diary. Barbara Newhall Follett
Barbara Newhall Follett
Barbara Newhall Follett was an American child prodigy novelist. Her first novel,The House Without Windows, was published in 1927 when she was thirteen years old...

 wrote four books, beginning with a novel called The House Without Windows at the age of nine; when the manuscript was destroyed in a fire, she rewrote it from memory. In 1937 two schoolchildren, Pamela Whitlock and Katharine Hull sent their manuscript of The Far-Distant Oxus
The Far-Distant Oxus
The Far-Distant Oxus is a children’s novel of 1937, written by Katharine Hull and Pamela Whitlock . The title comes from Matthew Arnold's poem Sohrab and Rustum....

to Arthur Ransome
Arthur Ransome
Arthur Michell Ransome was an English author and journalist, best known for writing the Swallows and Amazons series of children's books. These tell of school-holiday adventures of children, mostly in the Lake District and the Norfolk Broads. Many of the books involve sailing; other common subjects...

, who persuaded his publisher Jonathan Cape
Jonathan Cape
Jonathan Cape was a London-based publisher founded in 1919 as "Page & Co" by Herbert Jonathan Cape , formerly a manager at Duckworth who had worked his way up from a position of bookshop errand boy. Cape brought with him the rights to cheap editions of the popular author Elinor Glyn and sales of...

 to produce it, characterising it as "the best children's book of 1937". In 1941 The Swish of the Curtain
The Swish of the Curtain
The Swish of the Curtain is a children's novel by Pamela Brown . It was begun in 1938 when the author was 14 but was not published until 1941. The novel has been reprinted many times and has been adapted for television and radio...

written by Pamela Brown was published while Pamela Brown herself was still only 17 years old. Dorothy Straight
Dorothy Straight
Dorothy Straight wrote How the World Began in 1962 for her grandmother. Her parents loved it so much that they sent it to Pantheon Books which published it in 1964, making her the youngest published author....

's How the World Began and S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders
The Outsiders (novel)
The Outsiders is a coming-of-age novel based in 1965 by S. E. Hinton, first published in 1967 by Viking Press. Hinton was 15 when she started writing the novel, but did most of the work when she was sixteen and a junior in high school. Hinton was 18 when the book was published...

are more recent examples of books written by children (although S.E. Hinton's book is considered by many a teen or YA book and assigned as summer reading for many children entering 6th grade).

Books written for children

Perhaps the most common definition of children's literature is those books intentionally written for children. Nancy Anderson, associate professor in the College of Education at the University of South Florida
University of South Florida
The University of South Florida, also known as USF, is a member institution of the State University System of Florida, one of the state's three flagship universities for public research, and is located in Tampa, Florida, USA...

 in Tampa, defines children's literature as all books written for children, "excluding works such as comic books, joke books, cartoon books, and nonfiction works that are not intended to be read from front to back, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference material". Some of this work is also very popular among adults. J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series was originally written and marketed for children, but it was so popular among children and adults that The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

created a separate bestseller
Bestseller
A bestseller is a book that is identified as extremely popular by its inclusion on lists of currently top selling titles that are based on publishing industry and book trade figures and published by newspapers, magazines, or bookstore chains. Some lists are broken down into classifications and...

 list. Another work dating back to the Victorian Era is Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol". Both children and adults continue to enjoy this story and the lessons it teaches. Often no consensus is reached whether a given work is best categorized as adult or children's literature, and many books are marketed for both adults and children.

Books chosen for children

The most restrictive definition of children's literature are those books various authorities determine are "appropriate" for children, such as teachers, reviewers, scholars, parents, publishers, librarians, retailers, and the various book-award committees.

Parents wishing to protect their children from the unhappier aspects of life often find the traditional fairy tales, nursery rhymes and other voyages of discovery problematic, because often the first thing a story does is remove the adult influence, leaving the central character to learn to cope on his or her own: prominent examples of this include Snow White
Snow White
"Snow White" is a fairy tale known from many countries in Europe, the best known version being the German one collected by the Brothers Grimm...

, Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel
"Hansel and Gretel" is a well-known fairy tale of German origin, recorded by the Brothers Grimm and published in 1812. Hansel and Gretel are a young brother and sister threatened by a cannibalistic hag living deep in the forest in a house constructed of cake and confectionery. The two children...

, Bambi
Bambi
Bambi is a 1942 American animated film directed by David Hand , produced by Walt Disney and based on the book Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Austrian author Felix Salten...

and A Series of Unfortunate Events
A Series of Unfortunate Events
A Series of Unfortunate Events is a series of children's novels by Lemony Snicket which follows the turbulent lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire after their parents' death in an arsonous house fire...

.

Many see such isolation of child characters from supporting adults as necessary preparation for the transition to adulthood. The school story
School story
The school story is a fiction genre centering on older pre-adolescent and adolescent school life, at its most popular in the first half of the twentieth century. While examples do exist in other countries, it is most commonly set in English boarding schools and mostly written in girls and boys sub...

 became a common device for this, beginning with Tom Brown's Schooldays
Tom Brown's Schooldays
Tom Brown's Schooldays is a novel by Thomas Hughes. The story is set at Rugby School, a public school for boys, in the 1830s; Hughes attended Rugby School from 1834 to 1842...

 (1857) by Thomas Hughes
Thomas Hughes
Thomas Hughes was an English lawyer and author. He is most famous for his novel Tom Brown's Schooldays , a semi-autobiographical work set at Rugby School, which Hughes had attended. It had a lesser-known sequel, Tom Brown at Oxford .- Biography :Hughes was the second son of John Hughes, editor of...

 and F.W. Farrar
Frederic William Farrar
Frederic William Farrar was a cleric of the Church of England .Farrar was born in Bombay, India and educated at King William's College on the Isle of Man, King's College London and Trinity College, Cambridge. At Cambridge he won the Chancellor's Gold Medal for poetry in 1852...

's Eric, or, Little by Little
Eric, or, little by little
Eric, or, Little by Little is the title of a book by Frederic W. Farrar, first edition 1858. It was published by Adam & Charles Black, Edinburgh and London.The book deals with the descent into moral turpitude of a boy at a boarding school.The reads:...

, although the framework had been explored as early as 1749 by Sarah Fielding
Sarah Fielding
Sarah Fielding was a British author and sister of the novelist Henry Fielding. She was the author of The Governess, or The Little Female Academy , which was the first novel in English written especially for children , and had earlier achieved success with her novel The Adventures of David Simple...

 in The Governess, or The Little Female Academy
The Governess, or The Little Female Academy
The Governess, or The Little Female Academy by Sarah Fielding is the first full-length novel written for children, and a significant work of children's literature of the 18th century.In her preface, the author says:-Bibliography:...

. Life begins for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in the Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

 stories (1876 and 1885) once Aunt Polly's ineffectual tutelage is shaken off. In the classic British novels Tom's Midnight Garden
Tom's Midnight Garden
Tom's Midnight Garden is a children's novel by Philippa Pearce. It won the Carnegie Medal in 1958, the year of its publication. It has been adapted for radio, television, the cinema, and the stage.-Plot summary:...

(Philippa Pearce
Philippa Pearce
Ann Philippa Pearce OBE was an English children's author.-Early life:The youngest of four children, Pearce was brought up in the Mill House in the village of Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire...

, 1958) and Jessamy
Jessamy
Jessamy by Barbara Sleigh is a children's book that sheds light on English life during World War I through a time slip narrative.-The setting:...

(Barbara Sleigh
Barbara Sleigh
Barbara Grace de Riemer Sleigh was a well-known British children's writer and broadcaster.-Family and career:Barbara Sleigh was born in Birmingham, the daughter of the artist Bernard Sleigh and his wife Stella, née Phillp, who had married in 1901. Both came from a Methodist background, but she was...

, 1967), for example, the responsibility is enhanced by isolating the child not just spatially, but in time, through the use of time slip
Time slip
A time slip is an alleged paranormal phenomenon in which a person, or group of people, travel through time via unknown means...

. Arthur Ransome
Arthur Ransome
Arthur Michell Ransome was an English author and journalist, best known for writing the Swallows and Amazons series of children's books. These tell of school-holiday adventures of children, mostly in the Lake District and the Norfolk Broads. Many of the books involve sailing; other common subjects...

 used the device of children acting for themselves extensively in his Swallows and Amazons series (1930–48) and included poignant discussion of it (the "duffer" question in Swallows and Amazons
Swallows and Amazons
Swallows and Amazons is the first book in the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome; it was first published in 1930, with the action taking place in the summer of 1929 in the Lake District...

and Swallowdale
Swallowdale
Swallowdale is the second book in the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome. It was published in 1931. In this book, camping in the hills and moorland country around Ransome's Lake in the North features much more prominently and there is less sailing...

).

Books chosen by children

The broadest definition of children's literature applies to books that are actually selected and read by children. Children choose many books, such as comics, which some would not consider to be literature at all in the traditional sense; they also choose literary classics and recognized great works by modern writers, and often enjoy stories which speak on multiple levels. In the opinion of novelist Orson Scott Card, "one can make a good case for the idea that children are often the guardians of the truly great literature of the world, for in their love of story and unconcern for stylistic fads and literary tricks, children unerringly gravitate toward truth and power." Someone who enjoyed Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures...

as a child may come back to the text as an adult and see the darker themes that were lost on them as younger readers.
In addition, many classic books that were originally intended for adults are now commonly thought of as works for children. Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in England in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written in the vernacular, characterized by...

was originally intended for an adult audience. Today it is widely read as a part of children's school curriculum in the United States.

Types of children's literature


Children's literature can be divided in many ways.

Children's literature by genres

A literary genre
Literary genre
A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or even length. Genre should not be confused with age category, by which literature may be classified as either adult, young-adult, or children's. They also must not be confused...

 is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by technique, tone, content, or length. Nancy Anderson, associate professor in the College of Education at the University of South Florida
University of South Florida
The University of South Florida, also known as USF, is a member institution of the State University System of Florida, one of the state's three flagship universities for public research, and is located in Tampa, Florida, USA...

 in Tampa, has delineated six major categories of children's literature, with some significant subgenres:
  1. Picture books, including board book
    Board book
    A board book is a type of book printed on thick paperboard. The paperboard is printed and used for both the cover and the interior pages. Each page panel is a minimum of two plies of paperboard thickness. Unlike a typical paper book that is bound with saddle stitching or perfect binding, a...

    s, concept books (teaching an alphabet
    Alphabet
    An alphabet is a standard set of letters—basic written symbols or graphemes—each of which represents a phoneme in a spoken language, either as it exists now or as it was in the past. There are other systems, such as logographies, in which each character represents a word, morpheme, or semantic...

     or counting
    Counting
    Counting is the action of finding the number of elements of a finite set of objects. The traditional way of counting consists of continually increasing a counter by a unit for every element of the set, in some order, while marking those elements to avoid visiting the same element more than once,...

    ), pattern books, and wordless books
  2. Traditional literature
    Literature
    Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

    : there are ten characteristics of traditional literature: (1) unknown authorship, (2) conventional introductions and conclusions, (3) vague settings, (4) stereotyped characters, (5) anthropomorphism, (6) cause and effect, (7) happy ending for the hero, (8) magic accepted as normal, (9) brief stories with simple and direct plots, and (10) repetition of action and verbal patterns. The bulk of traditional Literature consists of folktales, which conveys the legends, customs, superstitions, and beliefs of people in past times. This large genre can be further broken down into subgenres: myths, fable
    Fable
    A fable is a succinct fictional story, in prose or verse, that features animals, mythical creatures, plants, inanimate objects or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized , and that illustrates a moral lesson , which may at the end be expressed explicitly in a pithy maxim.A fable differs from...

    s, ballad
    Ballad
    A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads were particularly characteristic of British and Irish popular poetry and song from the later medieval period until the 19th century and used extensively across Europe and later the Americas, Australia and North Africa. Many...

    s, folk music
    Folk music
    Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

    , legend
    Legend
    A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude...

    s, and fairy tale
    Fairy tale
    A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

    s.
  3. Fiction
    Fiction
    Fiction is the form of any narrative or informative work that deals, in part or in whole, with information or events that are not factual, but rather, imaginary—that is, invented by the author. Although fiction describes a major branch of literary work, it may also refer to theatrical,...

    , including the sub-genres of fantasy
    Fantasy literature
    Fantasy literature is fantasy in written form. Historically speaking, literature has composed the majority of fantasy works. Since the 1950s however, a growing segment of the fantasy genre has taken the form of films, television programs, graphic novels, video games, music, painting, and other...

     and realistic fiction
    Literary realism
    Literary realism most often refers to the trend, beginning with certain works of nineteenth-century French literature and extending to late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century authors in various countries, towards depictions of contemporary life and society "as they were." In the spirit of...

     (both contemporary and historical). This genre would also include the school story
    School story
    The school story is a fiction genre centering on older pre-adolescent and adolescent school life, at its most popular in the first half of the twentieth century. While examples do exist in other countries, it is most commonly set in English boarding schools and mostly written in girls and boys sub...

    , a genre unique to children's literature in which the boarding school is a common setting.
  4. Non-fiction
    Non-fiction
    Non-fiction is the form of any narrative, account, or other communicative work whose assertions and descriptions are understood to be fact...

  5. Biography
    Biography
    A biography is a detailed description or account of someone's life. More than a list of basic facts , biography also portrays the subject's experience of those events...

    , including autobiography
    Autobiography
    An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

  6. Poetry and verse
    Poetry
    Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

    .


Children's literature by age category

Children's literature is an age category opposite adult literature, but it is sub-divided further due to the divergent interests of children age 0–18.
  • Picture books appropriate for pre-readers ages 0–5. Caldecott Medal
    Caldecott Medal
    The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children , a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published that year. The award was named in honor of nineteenth-century English...

     winners often (but not always) fall within this category.
  • Early Reader Books appropriate for children age 5–7. These books are often designed to help a child build his or her reading skills.
  • Chapter book
    Chapter book
    A chapter book is a story book intended for intermediate readers, generally age 7-10. Unlike picture books for younger readers, a chapter book tells the story primarily through prose, rather than pictures. Unlike books for older readers, chapter books contain plentiful illustrations...

     appropriate for children ages 7–11.
    • Short chapter books, appropriate for children ages 7–9.
    • Longer chapter books, appropriate for children ages 9–12. Newbery Medal
      Newbery Medal
      The John Newbery Medal is a literary award given by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association . The award is given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The award has been given since 1922. ...

       winners often (but not always) fall within this category.
  • Young-adult fiction appropriate for children age 13–18.


The criteria for these divisions are just as vague and problematic as the criteria for defining children's books as a whole. One obvious distinction is that books for younger children tend to contain illustrations, but picture book
Picture book
A picture book combines visual and verbal narratives in a book format, most often aimed at young children. The images in picture books use a range of media such as oil paints, acrylics, watercolor and pencil.Two of the earliest books with something like the format picture books still retain now...

s which feature art as an integral part of the overall work also crosses genres and age levels. Tibet: Through the Red Box by Peter Sis is a one example of a picture book aimed at an adult audience.

Series

Book series
Book series
A book series is a sequence of books having certain characteristics in common that are formally identified together as a group. Book series can be organized in different ways, such as written by the same author, or marketed as a group by their publisher....

 are not unique to children's literature. Series are also very popular in science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 and crime fiction
Crime fiction
Crime fiction is the literary genre that fictionalizes crimes, their detection, criminals and their motives. It is usually distinguished from mainstream fiction and other genres such as science fiction or historical fiction, but boundaries can be, and indeed are, blurred...

. Sometimes the success of a book for children prompts the author to continue the story in a sequel or to launch a series, such as L. Frank Baum
L. Frank Baum
Lyman Frank Baum was an American author of children's books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz...

's Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. Originally published by the George M. Hill Company in Chicago on May 17, 1900, it has since been reprinted numerous times, most often under the name The Wizard of Oz, which is the name of...

. Sometimes works are originally conceived as series, such as the Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

 books. Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton was an English children's writer also known as Mary Pollock.Noted for numerous series of books based on recurring characters and designed for different age groups,her books have enjoyed huge success in many parts of the world, and have sold over 600 million copies.One of Blyton's most...

 and R. L. Stine
R. L. Stine
Robert Lawrence Stine , known as R. L. Stine, and Jovial Bob Stine, is an American writer. Stine, who is called the "Stephen King of children's literature," is the author of hundreds of horror fiction novels, including the books in the Fear Street, Goosebumps, Rotten School, Mostly Ghostly, and The...

 have specialized in open-ended series. Sometimes a series will outlive its author. When Baum
L. Frank Baum
Lyman Frank Baum was an American author of children's books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz...

 died, his publisher hired Ruth Plumly Thompson
Ruth Plumly Thompson
Ruth Plumly Thompson was an American writer of children's stories.-Life and work:An avid reader of Baum's books and a lifelong children's writer, Thompson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and began her writing career in 1914 when she took a job with the Philadelphia Public Ledger; she wrote...

 to write more Oz books
The Oz books
The Oz books form a book series that begins with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , and that relates the fictional history of the Land of Oz. Oz was created by author L. Frank Baum, who went on to write fourteen full-length Oz books, all of which are in the public domain in the United States...

. The Nancy Drew
Nancy Drew
Nancy Drew is a fictional young amateur detective in various mystery series for all ages. She was created by Edward Stratemeyer, founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate book packaging firm. The character first appeared in 1930. The books have been ghostwritten by a number of authors and are published...

series and others were written by several authors using the same pen name.

Illustrations


Children's books are often illustrated, sometimes lavishly, in a way that is rarely used for adult literature except in the illustrated novel genre popular especially in Japan, Korea and France. Generally, the artwork plays a greater role in books intended for the youngest readers (especially pre-literate children). Children's picture books can be a cognitively accessible source of high quality art
Art
Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect....

 for young children.

Many authors work with a preferred artist who illustrates their words; others create books together, and some illustrators write their own books. Even after children attain sufficient levels of literacy to enjoy the story without illustrations, they continue to appreciate the occasional drawings found in chapter books.
Folklore is the oldest of stories including nursery rhymes, folktales, myths, epics, legends, fables, songs, and ballads that have been passed down by storytellers for hundreds, even thousands, of years to enlighten and entertain generations of listeners, young and old. (Literature and the Child, 7th edition, Lee Galda, Bernice E. Cullian, and Lawrence R. Sipe, p. 175).

History


Because of the difficulty in defining children's literature, it is also difficult to trace its history to a precise starting point. Except for some of the pre-19th-century literature, the children's literature listed below is limited to books fitting the definition used for this article: literature for readers and listeners up to about age 12. The list therefore excludes such well known books as Tom Sawyer
Tom Sawyer
Thomas "Tom" Sawyer is the title character of the Mark Twain novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer . He appears in three other novels by Twain: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , Tom Sawyer Abroad , and Tom Sawyer, Detective .Sawyer also appears in at least three unfinished Twain works, Huck and Tom...

, Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Green Gables is a bestselling novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery published in 1908. Set in 1878, it was written as fiction for readers of all ages, but in recent decades has been considered a children's book...

, the Hardy Boys mysteries, The Jinx Ship and its sea story sequels, the Nancy Drew
Nancy Drew
Nancy Drew is a fictional young amateur detective in various mystery series for all ages. She was created by Edward Stratemeyer, founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate book packaging firm. The character first appeared in 1930. The books have been ghostwritten by a number of authors and are published...

mysteries, The Hobbit
The Hobbit
The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, better known by its abbreviated title The Hobbit, is a fantasy novel and children's book by J. R. R. Tolkien. It was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim, being nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded a prize from the New York Herald...

and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Lassie Come Home
Lassie Come Home
Lassie Come Home is a 1943 MGM film starring Roddy McDowall and canine actor, Pal, in a story about the profound bond between Yorkshire boy Joe Carraclough and his rough collie, Lassie. The film was directed by Fred M. Wilcox from a screenplay by Hugo Butler based upon the 1940 novel Lassie...

, The Black Stallion
The Black Stallion
The Black Stallion, known as "the Black" or "Shêtân", is the title character from author Walter Farley's bestselling series about the stallion and his young owner, Alec Ramsay...

and its sequels, the Harry Potter
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

fantasy series, and the His Dark Materials
His Dark Materials
His Dark Materials is a trilogy of fantasy novels by Philip Pullman comprising Northern Lights , The Subtle Knife , and The Amber Spyglass...

fantasy trilogy--books belonging primarily to the young adult (YA) market that starts at about age 13.

15th Century

Some stories popular among children were written in the 15th Century. Thomas Malory
Thomas Malory
Sir Thomas Malory was an English writer, the author or compiler of Le Morte d'Arthur. The antiquary John Leland as well as John Bale believed him to be Welsh, but most modern scholars, beginning with G. L...

's Morte d'Arthur (1486) and the tales of Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 (c. 1450) were not written with children in mind, but children have been fascinated by these stories for centuries.

17th Century

In 1658 Jan Ámos Komenský
Comenius
John Amos Comenius ; ; Latinized: Iohannes Amos Comenius) was a Czech teacher, educator, and writer. He served as the last bishop of Unity of the Brethren, and became a religious refugee and one of the earliest champions of universal education, a concept eventually set forth in his book Didactica...

 published the illustrated informational book Orbis Pictus
Orbis Pictus
Orbis Pictus, or Orbis Sensualium Pictus is a textbook for children written by Czech educator Comenius and published in 1658...

in Bohemia. It is considered to be the first picture book published specifically for children. Also during this time, Charles Perrault
Charles Perrault
Charles Perrault was a French author who laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales. The best known include Le Petit Chaperon rouge , Cendrillon , Le Chat Botté and La Barbe bleue...

 (1628–1703) laid the foundations of the fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

 in France. His stories include Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood, also known as Little Red Cap, is a French fairy tale about a young girl and a Big Bad Wolf. The story has been changed considerably in its history and subject to numerous modern adaptations and readings....

, Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault or Little Briar Rose by the Brothers Grimm is a classic fairytale involving a beautiful princess, enchantment, and a handsome prince...

, Puss in Boots
Puss in Boots
'Puss' is a character in the fairy tale "The Master Cat, or Puss in Boots" by Charles Perrault. The tale was published in 1697 in his Histoires ou Contes du temps passé...

, and Cinderella
Cinderella
"Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper" is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune...

.

18th Century

In 1744, John Newbery
John Newbery
John Newbery was an English publisher of books who first made children's literature a sustainable and profitable part of the literary market. He also supported and published the works of Christopher Smart, Oliver Goldsmith and Samuel Johnson...

 published A Little Pretty Pocket-Book
A Little Pretty Pocket-Book
A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, intended for the Amusement of Little Master Tommy and Pretty Miss Polly with Two Letters from Jack the Giant Killer is the title of a 1744 children's book by British publisher John Newbery. It is generally considered the first children's book, and consists of simple...

in England. He sold it with a ball for boys or a pincushion for girls. It is considered a landmark for the beginning of pleasure reading marketed specifically to children. Previously, literature marketed for children had been intended to instruct the young, though there was a rich oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

 of storytelling
Storytelling
Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, images and sounds, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and in order to instill moral values...

 for children and adults. But by the time William Blake
William Blake
William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age...

's Songs of Innocence was published in 1789, books written specifically for the use of children outside of school had become, according to F.J. Harvey Darton, "a clear but subordinate branch of English literature." Popular examples of this growing branch included Thomas Day
Thomas Day
Thomas Day was a British author and abolitionist. He was well-known for the children's book The History of Sandford and Merton which emphasized Rousseauvian educational ideals.-Life and works:...

's The History of Sandford and Merton
The History of Sandford and Merton
The History of Sandford and Merton was a bestselling children's book written by Thomas Day. He began his book as a contribution to Richard Lovell and Honora Edgeworth’s Harry and Lucy, a collection of short stories for children that Maria Edgeworth continued some years after Honora died...

(1783-9) - which embodies many of the educational and philosophical tenets espoused by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.His novel Émile: or, On Education is a treatise...

 - and Maria and Richard Lovell Edgeworth
Richard Lovell Edgeworth
Richard Lovell Edgeworth was an Anglo-Irish politician, writer and inventor.-Biography:Edgeworth was born in Pierrepont Street, Bath, England, grandson of Sir Salathiel Lovell through his daughter, Jane Lovell....

's Practical Education: The History of Harry and Lucy (1780), which urged children to teach themselves.

19th Century


In the early 19th century, the Brothers Grimm
Brothers Grimm
The Brothers Grimm , Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm , were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who collected folklore and published several collections of it as Grimm's Fairy Tales, which became very popular...

; Jakob and Wilhelm were responsible for writing down and preserving tales told by oral tradition in Germany, such as Snow White
Snow White
"Snow White" is a fairy tale known from many countries in Europe, the best known version being the German one collected by the Brothers Grimm...

, Rapunzel
Rapunzel
"Rapunzel" is a German fairy tale in the collection assembled by the Brothers Grimm, and first published in 1812 as part of Children's and Household Tales. The Grimm Brothers' story is an adaptation of the fairy tale Persinette by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force originally published in 1698...

, and Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel
"Hansel and Gretel" is a well-known fairy tale of German origin, recorded by the Brothers Grimm and published in 1812. Hansel and Gretel are a young brother and sister threatened by a cannibalistic hag living deep in the forest in a house constructed of cake and confectionery. The two children...

(1812). However, recent research suggests that many such tales were based ultimately on written materials, usually French or Italian. One of many didactic
Didacticism
Didacticism is an artistic philosophy that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities in literature and other types of art. The term has its origin in the Ancient Greek word διδακτικός , "related to education/teaching." Originally, signifying learning in a fascinating and intriguing...

 English writers popular in the first half of the nineteenth century was Maria Elizabeth Budden
Maria Elizabeth Budden
Maria Elizabeth Budden, was a novelist, translator and writer of didactic children's books, who frequently signed her work "M. E. B." or "a mother"....

.
From 1830 to 1834, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n poet Alexander Pushkin published his Russian folklore-based fairy tales
Skazka
Skazka is the English transcription of Сказка, the Russian word literally meaning story, but used to mean fairy tale. The term skazka can be used in many different forms to determine the type of tale or story being told...

 in verse: The Tale of the Priest and of His Workman Balda
The Tale of the Priest and of his Workman Balda
The Tale of the Priest and of his Workman Balda is a fairy tale in verse by Alexander Pushkin. Pushkin wrote the tale on September 13, 1830 while staying at Boldino. It is based on a Russian folk tale which Pushkin collected in Mikhailovskoe early on...

(1830), The Tale of Tsar Saltan
The Tale of Tsar Saltan
The Tale of Tsar Saltan, of His Son the Renowned and Mighty Bogatyr Prince Gvidon Saltanovich, and of the Beautiful Princess-Swan is an 1831 poem by Aleksandr Pushkin, written after the Russian fairy tale edited by Vladimir Dahl...

(1831), The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish
The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish
right|thumb|The fairy tale commemorated on a Soviet Union stampThe Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish is a fairy tale in verse by Alexander Pushkin. Pushkin wrote the tale in autumn 1833 and it was first published in the literary magazine Biblioteka dlya chteniya in May 1835...

(1833), The Tale of the Dead Princess (1833), The Tale of the Golden Cockerel
The Tale of the Golden Cockerel
The Tale of the Golden Cockerel is the last fairy tale in verse by Alexander Pushkin. Pushkin wrote the tale in 1834 and it was first published in literary magazine Biblioteka dlya chteniya in 1835...

(1834).

Between 1835 and 1848, Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author, fairy tale writer, and poet noted for his children's stories. These include "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," "The Snow Queen," "The Little Mermaid," "Thumbelina," "The Little Match Girl," and "The Ugly Duckling."...

 (1805–1875) of Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 published his beloved fairy tales: The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid
"The Little Mermaid" is a popular fairy tale by the Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen about a young mermaid willing to give up her life in the sea and her identity as a mermaid to gain a human soul and the love of a human prince...

(1836), The Emperor's New Clothes
The Emperor's New Clothes
"The Emperor's New Clothes" is a short tale by Hans Christian Andersen about two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent...

(1837), The Ugly Duckling
The Ugly Duckling
"The Ugly Duckling" is a literary fairy tale by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen . The story tells of a homely little bird born in a barnyard who suffers abuse from his neighbors until, much to his delight , he matures into a beautiful swan, the most beautiful bird of all...

(1844), The Snow Queen
The Snow Queen
The Snow Queen is a fairy tale by author Hans Christian Andersen . The tale was first published in 1845, and centers on the struggle between good and evil as experienced by a little boy and girl, Kai and Gerda....

(1845) and others. During Andersen's lifetime he was feted by royalty and acclaimed for having brought joy to children across Europe. His fairy tales have been translated into over 150 languages and continue to be published in millions of copies all over the world and inspired many other works. "The emperor's new clothes" and "ugly duckling" are expressions that have passed into the English language.
In 1865, Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson , better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll , was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer. His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the poems "The Hunting of the...

 (1832–1898) published Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures...

in England. The tale plays with logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

 in ways that have given the story lasting popularity to adults as well as children. It is considered to be one of the most characteristic examples of the genre of literary nonsense
Literary nonsense
Literary nonsense is a broad categorization of literature that uses sensical and nonsensical elements to defy language conventions or logical reasoning...

, and its narrative
Narrative
A narrative is a constructive format that describes a sequence of non-fictional or fictional events. The word derives from the Latin verb narrare, "to recount", and is related to the adjective gnarus, "knowing" or "skilled"...

 course and structure has been enormously influential, mainly in the fantasy genre.

Also in 1865, Mary Mapes Dodge
Mary Mapes Dodge
Mary Mapes Dodge was an American children's writer and editor, best known for her novel Hans Brinker.-Biography:...

 published Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates, the story of a Dutch boy who seeks a speed skating prize--silver skates--in a boy's race. Hans lets a friend win, because the friend needs the prize more.
In 1880, Johanna Spyri
Johanna Spyri
Johanna Spyri was an author of children's stories, and is best known for her book Heidi. Born Johanna Louise Heusser in the rural area of Hirzel, Switzerland, as a child she spent several summers in the area around Chur in Graubünden, the setting she later would use in her novels.-Biography:In...

 (1827–1901) published Heidi
Heidi
Heidi is a Swiss work of fiction, published in two parts as Heidi's years of learning and travel and Heidi makes use of what she has learned.It is a novel about the events in the life of a young girl in her grandfather's care, in the Swiss Alps...

(1880) in Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. The subtitle declared that it is a book "for children and those who love children".

In 1881, Joel Chandler Harris
Joel Chandler Harris
Joel Chandler Harris was an American journalist, fiction writer, and folklorist best known for his collection of Uncle Remus stories. Harris was born in Eatonton, Georgia, where he served as an apprentice on a plantation during his teenage years...

 (1845–1908) published Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus is a fictional character, the title character and fictional narrator of a collection of African American folktales adapted and compiled by Joel Chandler Harris, published in book form in 1881...

, a collection of stories narrated by the fictional storyteller Uncle Remus and featuring Br'er Rabbit and other animals speaking African-American dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

.

In 1883, Carlo Collodi
Carlo Collodi
Carlo Lorenzini , better known by the pen name Carlo Collodi, was an Italian children's writer known for the world-renowned fairy tale novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio.-Biography:...

 wrote his puppet story, The Adventures of Pinocchio as a first Italian fantasy novel for the children of Italy.

In 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer. His best-known books include Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde....

 wrote the classic pirate adventure novel Treasure Island
Treasure Island
Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a tale of "pirates and buried gold". First published as a book on May 23, 1883, it was originally serialized in the children's magazine Young Folks between 1881–82 under the title Treasure Island; or, the...

. Traditionally considered a coming-of-age story
Bildungsroman
In literary criticism, bildungsroman or coming-of-age story is a literary genre which focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood , and in which character change is thus extremely important...

, it is an adventure tale known for its atmosphere, character and action, and also a wry commentary on the ambiguity of morality—as seen in Long John Silver
Long John Silver
Long John Silver is a fictional character and the primary antagonist of the novel Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson. Silver is also known by the nicknames "Barbecue" and the "Sea-Cook".- Profile :...

. It is one of the most frequently dramatised of all novels, and its influence on popular perception of pirates is vast.

In 1894, Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. Kipling received the 1907 Nobel Prize for Literature...

 published The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book is a collection of stories by British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling. The stories were first published in magazines in 1893–4. The original publications contain illustrations, some by Rudyard's father, John Lockwood Kipling. Kipling was born in India and spent the first six...

, a collection of stories about a boy who lives in the jungle with animals, that has been made into a series of animated and live-action film adaptations.

In 1898, Albert Bigelow Paine
Albert Bigelow Paine
Albert Bigelow Paine was an American author and biographer best known for his work with Mark Twain. Paine was a member of the Pulitzer Prize Committee and wrote in several genres, including fiction, humour, and verse....

 wrote the first of his three Hollow Tree books, The Hollow Tree and Deep Woods Book
The Hollow Tree and Deep Woods Book
The Hollow Tree and Deep Woods Book is a children's book of short stories by Albert Bigelow Paine. It was published first in 1898 as an edition in one volume of The Hollow Tree and In the Deep Woods with several new stories and pictures added....

. This was followed in 1901 by the Hollow Tree Snowed-in Book and in 1915 by Hollow Tree Days and Nights.

In 1899, Helen Bannerman
Helen Bannerman
Helen Bannerman was the Scottish author of a number of children's books, the most notable being Little Black Sambo. She was born in Edinburgh and, because women were not admitted as students into British Universities, she sat external examinations set by the University of St. Andrews and attained...

 published Little Black Sambo
Little Black Sambo
The Story of Little Black Sambo is a children's book written and illustrated by Helen Bannerman, and first published by Grant Richards in October 1899 as one in a series of small-format books called The Dumpy Books for Children....

, the story of a boy abused by four tigers who, at the end of the story, suffer the consequences of their abuse--melting into butter and being eaten on pancakes.

In 1900, L. Frank Baum
L. Frank Baum
Lyman Frank Baum was an American author of children's books, best known for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz...

 (1856–1919) published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. Originally published by the George M. Hill Company in Chicago on May 17, 1900, it has since been reprinted numerous times, most often under the name The Wizard of Oz, which is the name of...

. It has been constantly in print since. It is one of the best-known stories in American culture and has been translated into 40 languages. Its success led Baum to write thirteen sequels
The Oz books
The Oz books form a book series that begins with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , and that relates the fictional history of the Land of Oz. Oz was created by author L. Frank Baum, who went on to write fourteen full-length Oz books, all of which are in the public domain in the United States...

. Other authors continued the series for decades.

20th Century


In 1902, Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter
Helen Beatrix Potter was an English author, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist best known for her imaginative children’s books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit which celebrated the British landscape and country life.Born into a privileged Unitarian...

 published The Tale of Peter Rabbit
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter that follows mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit as he is chased about the garden of Mr. McGregor. He escapes and returns home to his mother who puts him to bed after dosing him with camomile tea...

, that follows Peter Rabbit
Peter Rabbit
Peter Rabbit is a fictional anthropomorphic character in various children's stories by Beatrix Potter. He first appeared in The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1902, and subsequently in five more books between 1904 and 1912. Spinoff merchandise includes dishes, wallpaper, and dolls...

, a mischievous and disobedient young rabbit, as he ventures into the garden of Mr. McGregor. The book has generated considerable merchandise over the decades since its release with toys, dishes, foods, clothing, videos and other products made available. Potter was one of the first to be responsible for such merchandise when she patented a Peter Rabbit doll in 1903.

In 1908, Kenneth Grahame
Kenneth Grahame
Kenneth Grahame was a Scottish writer, most famous for The Wind in the Willows , one of the classics of children's literature. He also wrote The Reluctant Dragon; both books were later adapted into Disney films....

 wrote The Wind in the Willows
The Wind in the Willows
The Wind in the Willows is a classic of children's literature by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Alternately slow moving and fast paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphised animal characters in a pastoral version of England...

from his retired position as secretary of the Bank of England
Bank of England
The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694, it is the second oldest central bank in the world...

. He moved to the country, where he spent his time in the River Thames doing much as the animal characters in his book do; namely, as one of the most famous phrases from the book says, "simply messing about in boats" for his son.


In 1911, J.M Barrie (1860–1937) published Peter and Wendy
Peter and Wendy
Peter and Wendy, published in 1911, is the novelisation by J. M. Barrie of his most famous play Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up...

 where Peter Pan
Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie . A mischievous boy who can fly and magically refuses to grow up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang the Lost Boys, interacting with...

, one of the most famous characters in children's literature, magically refuses to grow up and spends his never-ending childhood in the small island called Neverland
Neverland
Neverland is a fictional world featured in the works of J. M. Barrie and those based on them. It is the dwelling place of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys, and others...

.

In 1920, Hugh Lofting
Hugh Lofting
Hugh John Lofting was a British author, trained as a civil engineer, who created the character of Doctor Dolittle — one of the classics of children's literature.-Personal life:...

 wrote The Story of Dr. Doolittle, the first of ten Dr. Doolittle books.
In 1926, A. A. Milne
A. A. Milne
Alan Alexander Milne was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various children's poems. Milne was a noted writer, primarily as a playwright, before the huge success of Pooh overshadowed all his previous work.-Biography:A. A...

 wrote Winnie-the-Pooh
Winnie-the-Pooh
Winnie-the-Pooh, also called Pooh Bear, is a fictional anthropomorphic bear created by A. A. Milne. The first collection of stories about the character was the book Winnie-the-Pooh , and this was followed by The House at Pooh Corner...

, chapter stories about an adorable bumbling teddy bear, his best friend Piglet, and other animal characters. The House at Pooh Corner, more Pooh stories, followed in 1928.

In 1930, The Little Engine That Could
The Little Engine That Could
The Little Engine that Could is a children's story that appeared in the United States of America. The book is used to teach children the value of optimism and hard work...

was published. Written by Arnold Munk under the pen name Watty Piper and adapted from earlier stories by other authors dating back to 1906, the book is the story of an undersized anthropomorphic switch engine that successfully accepts a challenging job turned down by bigger, main-line engines: hauling a load of toys over a mountain to children on the other side.

In 1931, Jean de Brunhoff published Histoire de Babar, the French edition of the first of seven Babar the elephant stories. English versions titled The Story of Babar were published in Britain and the United States in 1933.

In 1933, Laura Ingalls Wilder
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder was an American author who wrote the Little House series of books based on her childhood in a pioneer family...

 (1867–1957) published the first installment of the Little House on the Prairie
Little House on the Prairie
Little House is a series of children's books by Laura Ingalls Wilder that was published originally between 1932 and 1943, with four additional books published posthumously, in 1962, 1971, 1974 and 2006.-History:...

series in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 based on her childhood in a Western-pioneering
American pioneer
American pioneers are any of the people in American history who migrated west to join in settling and developing new areas. The term especially refers to those who were going to settle any territory which had previously not been settled or developed by European or American society, although the...

 family. The books have remained continuously in print since their initial publication and are considered classics of American children's literature. Several of them were named Newbery Honor books. They remain widely read. The books were also adapted into a long running, popular American television series, Little House on the Prairie
Little House on the Prairie (TV series)
Little House on the Prairie is an American Western drama television series, starring Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert, about a family living on a farm in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, in the 1870s and 1880s. The show was an adaptation of Laura Ingalls Wilder's best-selling series of Little House books...

.

In 1934, Pamela L. Travers wrote Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins is a series of children's books written by P. L. Travers and originally illustrated by Mary Shepard. The books centre on a magical English nanny, Mary Poppins. She is blown by the East wind to Number Seventeen Cherry Tree Lane, London and into the Banks' household to care for their...

, the first of a long series of books about a magical nanny and the children she shepherded. The last Mary Poppins book was published in 1989.

In 1936, Munro Leaf
Munro Leaf
Wilbur Monroe Leaf , was an American author of children's literature who wrote and illustrated nearly 40 books during his 40-year career. He is best known for The Story of Ferdinand , a children's classic which he wrote on a yellow legal-length pad in less than an hour...

 wrote The Story of Ferdinand
The Story of Ferdinand
The Story of Ferdinand is the best known work written by American author Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson. The children's book tells the story of a bull who would rather smell flowers than fight in bullfights...

, the story of a gentle Spanish bull who refused to accept his appointed role as a bull ring combatant.

In 1945, E. B. White
E. B. White
Elwyn Brooks White , usually known as E. B. White, was an American writer. A long-time contributor to The New Yorker magazine, he also wrote many famous books for both adults and children, such as the popular Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, and co-authored a widely used writing guide, The...

 (co-author of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style
The Elements of Style
The Elements of Style , also known as Strunk & White, by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White, is a prescriptive American English writing style guide comprising eight "elementary rules of usage", ten "elementary principles of composition", "a few matters of form", a list of forty-nine "words and...

), wrote Stuart Little, the story of an intelligent, semi-anthropomorphic mouse who sailed a tiny boat and drove a tiny car. A few years later, in 1952, White published Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web is an award-winning children's novel by acclaimed American author E. B. White, about a pig named Wilbur who is saved from being slaughtered by an intelligent spider named Charlotte. The book was first published in 1952, with illustrations by Garth Williams.The novel tells the story...

, the story of a barnyard spider and her animal friends.

In 1945, Marguerite Henry
Marguerite Henry
Marguerite Henry was an American writer. Henry inspired children all over the world with her love of animals, especially horses. The author of fifty-nine books based on true stories of horses and other animals, her work has captivated entire generations of children and young adults and won...

 published Misty of Chincoteague
Misty of Chincoteague
Misty of Chincoteague is a 1947 book by American author Marguerite Henry, inspired by a real Chincoteague Pony named Misty. Set on the coastal island of Chincoteague, Virginia, the book tells the story of the Beebe family and their efforts to raise a filly born to a wild horse. The book won the...

, the story of a wild Assateague Island
Assateague Island
Assateague Island is a long barrier island located off the eastern coast of Maryland and Virginia. It is best known for its herds of feral horses, pristine beaches, and the Assateague Lighthouse. The island also contains numerous marshes, bays and coves, including Toms Cove...

, Virginia, pony who is tamed and domesticated on nearby Chincoteague Island. Though based on a real pony named Misty who was born and raised on Chincoteague, the story alters Misty's birth island and domestic heritage.
In 1950, C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis , commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was a novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland...

 (1898–1963) published the first of installment of his Chronicles of Narnia series in the UK. The Chronicles of Narnia has sold over 120 million copies in 41 languages, and has been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, stage
Theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

, and cinema
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

. In addition to numerous traditional Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 themes, the series borrows characters and ideas from Greek
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 and Roman mythology
Roman mythology
Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans...

, as well as from traditional British
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 and Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

s.

In 1957, Theodore Seuss Geisel, writing under the pen name Dr. Seuss, wrote the first and best known of his Dr. Seuss books: The Cat in the Hat
The Cat in the Hat
The Cat in the Hat is a children's book by Dr. Seuss and perhaps the most famous, featuring a tall, anthropomorphic, mischievous cat, wearing a tall, red and white-striped hat and a red bow tie. He also carries a pale blue umbrella...

. Several sequels followed. Also in 1957, the next best known Dr. Seuss book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, was published.

In 1964, Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer, fighter pilot and screenwriter.Born in Wales to Norwegian parents, he served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, in which he became a flying ace and intelligence agent, rising to the rank of Wing Commander...

 wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 1964 children's book by British author Roald Dahl. The story features the adventures of young Charlie Bucket inside the chocolate factory of the eccentric chocolatier, Willy Wonka....

, the story of Charlie Bucket's adventures inside Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. At the end of the story, Charlie wins a prize--the chocolate factory!

In 1964, Louise Fitzhugh wrote Harriet the Spy
Harriet the Spy
Harriet the Spy is a children's novel by Louise Fitzhugh published in 1964. It won the Sequoyah Book Award and the New York Times Outstanding Book Award in 1964.-Plot summary:...

, the story of an 11 year old girl who gets into trouble by spying on her neighbors, classmates, and friends. She ultimately becomes editor of the school newspaper, in which capacity she makes amends for earlier remarks that alienated people.

In 1972, Graham Oakley wrote The Church Mouse
The Church Mouse
The Church Mouse is a 1934 British comedy film directed by Monty Banks and starring Laura La Plante, Ian Hunter and Edward Chapman....

, the first of a series of twelve Church Mouse books extending until 2000. The main characters are Arthur and Humphrey, two mice who, along with the lazy cat Sampson, operate in England's Anglican Church of Saint John.

In 1990, Joanne (J.K.) Rowling wrote The Harry Potter Series
Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by the British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...

, in which 3 characters embark on new adventures across 7 books, all leading up to an epic battle between good and evil. The main characters are Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley.
21st Century

In 2001, Eoin Colfer
Eoin Colfer
Eoin Colfer is an Irish author. He is most famous as the author of the Artemis Fowl series, but he has also written other successful books. His novels have been compared to the works of J. K. Rowling...

 (born 1965) published the first installment of his Artemis Fowl
Artemis Fowl (series)
Artemis Fowl is a series of fantasy novels written by Irish author Eoin Colfer and all the books are best sellers, starring the teenage criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl II. The author summed up the series as: "Die Hard with fairies." There are seven novels in the series; the first was published in...

series in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. In 2008, titles from the series spent six weeks at number one and helped the Penguin Group post record profits in a tough economy.

Scholarship



Scholarship in children's literature written in or translated into English is primarily conducted in three different disciplinary fields: (1) literary studies (English departments, language departments), (2) library and information science, and (3) education (Wolf, et al., 2011). There has historically been little overlap between the topics studied or the methodologies used to conduct research in each of these fields, but recently more attention has been paid to how scholars from across disciplines might collaborate, as well as how each field of study contributes unique information and theories to scholarship related to children's literature.

Research from a Literary Perspective: Typically, children's literature scholars from literature departments in universities (English, German, Spanish, etc. departments) conduct literary analyses of books. These studies are considered literary criticism
Literary criticism
Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals...

 analyses and may focus on an author, a thematic (e.g.,) or topical (e.g.) concern, a genre, a period, or a literary device (e.g.). The results of this type research are typically published as books or articles in scholarly journals. The highly regarded research journals that publish literary studies in children's literature include Children's Literature Association Quarterly, Children's Literature in Education, Children's Literature, The Lion and the Unicorn, and International Research in Children's Literature.

Research from a Library & Information Science Perspective: The field of Library and Information Science has a long history of conducting research related to children's literature. The focus of the 1999 Trejo Foster Institute for Hispanic Library Education was Library Services for Youth of Hispanic Heritage.

Research from an Education Perspective: Most educational researchers studying children's literature explore issues related to the use of children's literature in classroom settings. Some educational researchers, however, study home settings, children's out-of-school reading or parents' use of children's books, for example.

Educational Application

Children's literature has long been used by good teachers to augment classroom instruction providing a meaning-centered application for one of education's richest resources - children's literature.

When introducing fiction to young readers, using a children's literature is an effective means to introduce the parts of a story to students (characters, setting, plot, introduction, theme, and conclusion). For our youngest students, the teacher may elect to start out with only characters, introduction, and conclusion. As the students become more proficient, the other components of a story may be introduced. By grade 5, students are able to grasp more complicated concepts, such as theme, on a basis level of understanding.

Scholarly associations & centers: the Children's Literature Association
Children's Literature Association
The Children's Literature Association is a non-profit scholarly association dedicated to studying children's literature. Begun in the 1970s to generate interest in children's literature as an academic discipline and to provide a place for those studying children's literature to share ideas, the...

, the International Research Society for Children's Literature, the Library Association Youth Libraries Group, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators is a nonprofit, 5013 organization that acts as a network for the exchange of knowledge between writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, educators, booksellers and others involved with literature for young people.The...

 the Irish Society for the Study of Children's Literature, IBBY Canada
IBBY Canada
IBBY Canada is the Canadian National Section of the International Board on Books for Young People, a non-profit organization which represents an international network of people who are committed to bringing children and books together....

 and Centre for International Research in Childhood: Literature, Culture, Media (CIRCL), National Centre for Research in Children's Literature.

Awards


Some noted award
Award
An award is something given to a person or a group of people to recognize excellence in a certain field; a certificate of excellence. Awards are often signifiedby trophies, titles, certificates, commemorative plaques, medals, badges, pins, or ribbons...

s for children's literature are:
  • Australia: the Children's Book Council of Australia
    Children's Book Council of Australia
    The Children's Book Council of Australia is a not for profit organisation which aims to engage the community with literature for young Australians. The CBCA presents annual awards for books of literary merit, for outstanding contribution to Australian children's literature.-Awards:The first...

     runs a number of annual CBCA book awards

  • Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    : the Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature and Illustration (English and French). A number of the provinces' school boards and library associations also run popular "children's choice" awards where candidate books are read and championed by individual schools and classrooms. These include the Blue
    Blue
    Blue is a colour, the perception of which is evoked by light having a spectrum dominated by energy with a wavelength of roughly 440–490 nm. It is considered one of the additive primary colours. On the HSV Colour Wheel, the complement of blue is yellow; that is, a colour corresponding to an equal...

     Spruce (grades K-2) Silver Birch Express (grades 3–4), Silver Birch (grades 5–6) Red Maple (grades 7–8) and White Pine (High School) in Ontario. Programs in other provinces include The Red Cedar and Stellar Awards in B.C., the Willow Awards in Saskatchewan, and the Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards. IBBY Canada
    IBBY Canada
    IBBY Canada is the Canadian National Section of the International Board on Books for Young People, a non-profit organization which represents an international network of people who are committed to bringing children and books together....

     offers a number of annual awards.

  • The Philippines: The Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature for Short Story for Children in English and Filipino Language (Maikling Kathang Pambata) since 1989 and Children's Poetry in English and Filipino Language since 2009. The Pilar Perez Medallion for Young Adult Literature (2001 and 2002). The major awards are given by the Philippine Board on Books for Young People. They include the PBBY-Salanga Writer's Prize for excellence in writing and the PBBY-Alcala Illustrator's Prize for excellence in illustration. The Ceres Alabado Award for Outstanding Contribution in Children's Literature; the Gintong Aklat Award (Golden Book Award); The Gawad Komisyon para sa Kuwentong Pambata (Commission Award for Children's Literature in Filipino) and the National Book Award
    Philippine National Book Awards
    The Philippine National Book Awards, or simply the National Book Awards, is a Philippine literary award sponsored by the NBDB and the MCC . It is the national book award of the Philippines...

     (given by the Manila Critics' Circle) for Outstanding Production in Children's Books and Young Adult Literature.

  • United States: the major awards are given by the American Library Association
    American Library Association
    The American Library Association is a non-profit organization based in the United States that promotes libraries and library education internationally. It is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 62,000 members....

     Association for Library Service to Children
    Association for Library Service to Children
    The Association for Library Service to Children is a division of the American Library Association. Its members are concerned with the profession of children's Librarianship...

    . They include the Newbery Medal
    Newbery Medal
    The John Newbery Medal is a literary award given by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association . The award is given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The award has been given since 1922. ...

     for writing, Michael L. Printz Award
    Michael L. Printz Award
    The Michael L. Printz Award is an annual award in the United States for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. It is named for a school librarian from Topeka, Kansas, who was a long-time active member of the Young Adult Library Services Association...

     for writing for teens, Caldecott Medal
    Caldecott Medal
    The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children , a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published that year. The award was named in honor of nineteenth-century English...

     for illustration, Golden Kite Award
    Golden Kite Award
    The Golden Kite Awards are given annually by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators to recognize excellence in children’s literature. Instituted in 1972, the Golden Kite Awards are the only children’s literary award judged by a jury of peers...

     in various categories from the SCBWI, Sibert Medal
    Sibert Medal
    The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award established by the Association for Library Service to Children in 2001 with support from Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc., is awarded annually to the author and illustrator of the most distinguished informational book published in English during the...

     for informational, Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for beginning readers, Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal
    Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal
    The Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal is a prize awarded by the American Library Association to writers or illustrators of children's books published in the United States who have over a period of years made substantial and lasting contributions to children's literature...

     for impact over time, Batchelder Award for works in translation, Coretta Scott King Award
    Coretta Scott King Award
    The Coretta Scott King Award is an annual award presented by the Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table, part of the American Library Association...

     for work by an African-American writer, and the Belpre Medal
    Belpre Medal
    The Pura Belpré Award is a recognition presented to a Latino or Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays the Latino cultural experience in a work of literature for children or youth. It was established in 1996. It has been given every other year since 1996...

     for work by a Latino writer. Other notable awards are the National Book Award
    National Book Award
    The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

     for Young People's Literature and the Orbis Pictus Award
    Orbis Pictus Award
    The Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children recognizes books which demonstrate excellence in the “writing of nonfiction for children.” It is awarded annually by the National Council of Teachers of English to one American book published the previous year...

     for excellence in the writing of nonfiction for children.

  • United Kingdom and Commonwealth: the Carnegie Medal for writing and the Kate Greenaway Medal
    Kate Greenaway Medal
    The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in the United Kingdom in 1955 in honour of the children's illustrator, Kate Greenaway. The medal is given annually to an outstanding work of illustration in children's literature. It is awarded by Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals...

     for illustration; the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize
    Nestlé Smarties Book Prize
    The Nestlé Children's Book Prize, also known as the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize, was an annual award given to children's books written in the previous year by a UK citizen or resident. The prize was administered by Booktrust, an independent charity which promotes books and reading, and sponsored by...

    ; and the Guardian Award
    Guardian Award
    The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize or Guardian Award is a prominent award for works of children's literature by British or Commonwealth authors, published in the United Kingdom during the preceding year. The award has been given annually since 1967, and is decided by a panel of authors and the...

    .

  • Internationally: the Hans Christian Andersen Award
    Hans Christian Andersen Award
    The Hans Christian Andersen Award, sometimes known as the "Nobel Prize for children's literature", is an international award given biennially by the International Board on Books for Young People in recognition of a "lasting contribution to children's literature"...

    , the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
    Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
    The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is an international children's literature award, established by the Swedish government in 2002 in honour of the Swedish children's books writer Astrid Lindgren...

     and the Ilustrarte Bienale for children's book illustration (Barreiro, Portugal).

  • Online: the Cybils Awards
    Cybils Awards
    The Cybils Awards, or Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards, are a series of book awards given by children's and young adult book bloggers...

    , or Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards, are the first major series of book awards given by children's and young adult book bloggers.

See also



  • Book talk
    Book talk
    A booktalk in the broadest terms is what is spoken with the intent to convince someone to read a book. Booktalks are traditionally conducted in a classroom setting for students. However, booktalks can be performed outside a school setting and with a variety of age groups as well. It is not a book...

  • Children's literature canon
    Children's literature canon
    As with adult literature, the validity of defining a canon of worthy or renowned works in children's literature is hotly debated. Nevertheless, many books have had enormous impact on publishing history and are still in print today...

  • Children's literature criticism
    Children's literature criticism
    The term children's literature criticism includes both generalist discussions of the relationship between children's literature and literary theory and literary analyses of a specific works of children's literature...

  • Children's literature timeline
    Children's literature timeline
    - Timeline of turning points in children's literature :* Orbis Pictus by John Amos Comenius: Earliest picturebook specifically for children....

  • International Children's Digital Library
    International Children's Digital Library
    The International Children's Digital Library Foundation is a free online library of digitized children's books in many languages from various countries...

  • Native Americans in children's literature
    Native Americans in children's literature
    Native Americans have been featured in numerous volumes of children's literature. Some have been authored by non-indigenous writers, while others have been written or contributed to by native authors.-Children’s literature about American Indians:...

  • Young-adult literature

Lists


Further reading

  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature, ed. by Jack Zipes, Oxford [etc.]: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006, 4 vls.

External links