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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Little Red Riding Hood
A fairy tale is a fictional story that may feature folkloric characters such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, giants, and talking animals, and usually enchantments, often involving a far-fetched sequence of events. In modern-day parlance, the term is also used to describe something blessed with princesses, as in "fairy tale ending" (a happy ending) or "fairy tale romance", though not all fairy tales end happily. Fairy tales commonly attract young children since they easily understand the archetypal characters in the story. Fairy tales are found in oral folktales and in literary form. The history of the fairy tale is particularly difficult to trace, because only the literary forms can survive. Still, the evidence of literary works at least indicates that fairy tales have existed for thousands of years, although not perhaps recognized as a genre. Literary fairy tales are found over the centuries all over the world, and when they collected them, folklorists found fairy tales in every culture. Fairy tales, and works derived from fairy tales, are still written today. The older fairy tales were intended for an audience of adults as well as children, but they were associated with children as early as the writings of the précieuses; the Brothers Grimm titled their collection Children's and Household Tales, and the link with children has only grown stronger with time.

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Cover of The Babes in the Wood
Credit: Randolph Caldecott

Cover of Babes in the Wood, by Randolph Caldecott, after whom the Caldecott Medal is named

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Janusz Korczak memorial

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PJ Haarsma is a Canadian born science fiction author best known for his creation of the Rings of Orbis universe, which encompasses The Softwire series of books. Haarsma created a free, online role-playing game, also called the Rings of Orbis, set in the same universe. Both the book-series and the game target young, often reluctant readers in an attempt to encourage them by rewarding them for reading. Haarsma also developed a school presentation program in which he discusses The Softwire books, astronomy, and other science fiction and science fact topics. He is also one of the co-founders of The Kids Need to Read Foundation, a United States Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity that purchases books to donate to underfunded schools and libraries.

Did you know...

Carol Chomsky

  • ...that linguist Carol Chomsky (pictured) developed the technique of repeated reading, in which children gain fluency by reading along with a recording of a text until they can do so on their own?
  • ...that Ebba Haslund's adolescence novel Nothing Happened was virtually ignored by the press when it was first issued in Norwegian in 1948, but was later regarded as one of her most important books?
  • ... that English dramatist Edward Rose published The Rose Reader, "a new way of teaching to read," that only used words that were spelled as they sounded?

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"Well, of course, there's lamb broth —"
"I've got it!" crowed Pollyanna.
"But that's what I
didn't want," sighed the sick woman, sure now of what her stomach craved. "It was chicken I wanted."
"Oh, I've got that too," chuckled Pollyanna.
The woman turned in amazement. "Both of them?" she demanded.
"Yes — and calves' foot jelly," triumphed Pollyanna. "I was just bound you should have what you wanted for once, so Nancy and I fixed it."

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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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