Portal:Children's literature

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The Children's Literature Portal

Children's literature is literature written for and/or marketed towards a primarily juvenile audience. While some books are authored for a youthful audience, others become associated with children through marketing or tradition. Still others are "crossover" books, read by children and adults alike. Literature addressed directly to children arose in Western Europe in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, becoming a very profitable industry in the 19th century. It includes picture books, fairy tales, animal stories, school stories, science fiction, fantasy, series fiction, chapter books, children's poetry, and other genres. Throughout its 300-year history, children's stories have reflected the values of the societies that produced them.

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Nancy Drew is a fictional young amateur detective in various mystery series for children and teens. 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 under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene. Over the decades the character has evolved in response to changes in American culture and tastes. The books were extensively revised, beginning in 1959, largely to eliminate racist stereotypes; many scholars claim that in the process the heroine's original, outspoken character was toned down and made more docile, conventional, and demure. Illustrations of the character have also evolved over time, from portrayals of a fearless, active young woman to a fearful or passive one. Through all these changes, the character has proved continuously popular world-wide: at least 80 million copies of the books have been sold, and the books have been translated into over two dozen languages. Nancy Drew has featured in five films, two television shows, and a number of popular computer games; she also appears in a variety of merchandise sold over the world.

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A Pretty Little Pocket-Book
Credit: John Newbery

John Newbery helped popularize children's literature in Britain with the publication of books such as A Little Pretty Pocket-Book (1744).

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A Little Pretty Pocket-Book

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Anna Laetitia Barbauld
Anna Laetitia Barbauld (/bɑrˈbld/, by herself possibly /bɑrˈboʊ/, as in French) (née Aikin) (20 June 1743 – 9 March 1825) was a prominent 18th-century English poet, essayist, and children's author. A "woman of letters" who published in multiple genres, Barbauld had a successful writing career at a time when female professional writers were rare. She was a noted teacher at the celebrated Palgrave Academy and an innovative children's writer; her famous primers provided a model for pedagogy for more than a century. Her essays demonstrated that it was possible for a woman to be publicly engaged in politics, and other women authors emulated her. Even more importantly, her poetry was foundational to the development of Romanticism in England. Barbauld was also a literary critic, and her anthology of 18th-century British novels helped establish the canon as we know it today. Barbauld's literary career ended abruptly in 1812 with the publication of her poem Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, which criticized Britain's participation in the Napoleonic Wars. The vicious reviews shocked Barbauld and she published nothing else within her lifetime. Her reputation was further damaged when many of the Romantic poets she had inspired in the heyday of the French Revolution turned against her in their later, more conservative, years. Barbauld was remembered only as a pedantic children's writer during the 19th century, and largely forgotten during the 20th century, but the rise of feminist literary criticism in the 1980s renewed interest in her works and restored her place in literary history.

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Ruth Riley

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"If you please, I should like to have the flower-pot; that is, if you won't think me very silly, mamma."
"Why, as to that, I can't promise you, Rosamond; but when you have to judge for yourself you should choose what would make you happy, and then it would not signify who thought you silly."

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Featured articles: Anna Laetitia BarbauldAnne FrankBatmanFairy taleThe Hardy BoysJ. K. RowlingJ. R. R. TolkienLessons for ChildrenMake Way for DucklingsMary Martha SherwoodNancy DrewOriginal Stories from Real LifeProserpineSarah TrimmerSome Thoughts Concerning EducationThe Adventures of TintinThe Guardian of EducationThoughts on the Education of DaughtersTo Kill a MockingbirdTom Swift

Featured lists: Aurealis Award for best young-adult novelList of Oz books

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Children's literature and Young adult literature

Children's literature: Book talkChildren's literature criticismChildren's literature periodicalsInternational Children's Digital LibraryNative Americans in children's literature

Children and Young Adult Literature topics

Young adult literature: Gay teen fictionLesbian teen fictionList of young adult authorsYoung Adult Library Services Association

Associations and awards: Children's Book Council of AustraliaCBCA book awardsGovernor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature and IllustrationIBBY CanadaAmerican Library AssociationAssociation for Library Service to ChildrenNewbery MedalCaldecott MedalGolden Kite AwardSCBWISibert MedalLaura Ingalls Wilder MedalBatchelder AwardCoretta Scott King AwardBelpre MedalCarnegie MedalKate Greenaway MedalNestlé Smarties Book PrizeGuardian AwardHans Christian Andersen AwardAstrid Lindgren Memorial AwardSociety of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Lists: List of children's classic booksList of children's literature authorsList of children's non-fiction writersList of fairy talesList of illustratorsList of publishers of children's books

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Literature on Wikinews     Literature on Wikiquote     Choosing High Quality Children's Literature on Wikibooks     Children's literature on Wikisource     Literature on Wiktionary     Children's literature on Wikimedia Commons
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