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Portal:Children's literature

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The Children's Literature Portal


Children's literature or juvenile literature includes stories, books, magazines, and poems that are created for children. Modern children's literature is classified in two different ways: genre or the intended age of the reader, from picture books for the very young to young adult fiction.

Children's literature can be traced to traditional stories like fairy tales, that have only been identified as children's literature in the eighteenth century, and songs, part of a wider oral tradition, that adults shared with children before publishing existed. The development of early children's literature, before printing was invented, is difficult to trace. Even after printing became widespread, many classic "children's" tales were originally created for adults and later adapted for a younger audience. Since the fifteenth century much literature has been aimed specifically at children, often with a moral or religious message. Children's literature has been shaped by religious sources, like Puritan traditions, or by more philosophical and scientific standpoints with the influences of Charles Darwin and John Locke. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are known as the "Golden Age of Children's Literature" because many classic children's books were published then. (Full article...)


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Signature of Christopher Paolini
Eragon is the first book in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini, who began writing the book at the age of 15. After writing the first draft for a year, he spent a second year rewriting it and fleshing out the story and characters. Paolini's parents saw the final manuscript and decided to self-publishing Eragon. Paolini spent a year traveling around the United States promoting the novel. By chance, the book was discovered by Carl Hiaasen, who got it re-published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2003. The book tells the story of a young farm boy named Eragon, who finds a dragon he names Saphira. When the evil King Galbatorix discovers Eragon and his dragon, he sends his servants after them in an effort to capture them. Eragon and Saphira are forced to flee from their home and decide to search for the Varden, a group of rebels who want to see the downfall of Galbatorix. Critiques of Eragon often pointed out the similarities to other works such as The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. Reviews also called the book a notable achievement for such a young author as Paolini. Eragon was the third-best-selling children's hardback book of 2003, and the second-best-selling paperback of 2005. It placed on the New York Times Best Seller list for 121 weeks. Eragon was adapted into a feature film of the same name.

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Humpty Dumpty
Humpty Dumpty
Credit: William Wallace Denslow

An illustration by William Wallace Denslow of Humpty Dumpty, the character of the classic English nursery rhyme:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

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German refugee child, a devotee of Superman reading a Superman comic book, October 1942

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A Crow having taken a Piece of Cheese out of a Cottage-Window, flew up into a high Tree with it, in order to eat it. Which a Fox observing, came and sate underneath, and began to compliment the Crow upon the Subject of her Beauty. I protest, says he, I never observ'd it before, but your Feathers are of a more delicate White than any that ever I saw in my Life: Ah! what a fine Shape, and graceful turn of Body is there! And I make no question but you have a tolerable Voice? If it were but as fine as your Complexion, as I hope to live, I don't know a Bird that could pretend to stand in Competition with you. The Crow, ticked with this very civil Language, nestled and riggled about, and hardly knew where she was; but thinking the Fox a little in the dark as to the Particular of her Voice, and having a mind to set him right in that Matter, she began to sing, for his Information; and, in the same Instant, let the cheese drop out of her Mouth. This being what the Fox wanted, he chop'd it up in a Moment; and trotted away, laughing in his Sleeve, at the easie Credulity of the Crow.
Samuel Croxall, "The Fox and the Crow," Aesop's Fables

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The Catcher in the Rye
J. D. Salinger was a 20th-century American author, best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye (pictured), as well as his reclusive nature. He has not published an original work since 1965 and has not been interviewed since 1980. Raised in the Bronx, Salinger began writing short stories while in secondary school, and published several stories in the early 1940s before serving in World War II. In 1948 he published the critically-acclaimed story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" in The New Yorker magazine, which became home to much of his subsequent work. In 1951 Salinger released his novel, The Catcher in the Rye, an immediate popular success. His depiction of adolescent alienation and loss of innocence in the protagonist Holden Caulfield was influential, especially among adolescent readers. The novel remains widely read, selling around 250,000 copies a year. The success of The Catcher in the Rye led to public attention and scrutiny: Salinger became reclusive, publishing new work less frequently. He followed Catcher with a short story collection, Nine Stories (1953), a collection of a novella and a short story, Franny and Zooey (1961), and a collection of two novellas, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963). His last published work, a novella entitled "Hapworth 16, 1924," appeared in The New Yorker on June 19, 1965. Afterwards, Salinger struggled with unwanted attention, including a legal battle in the 1980s with biographer Ian Hamilton and the release in the late 1990s of memoirs written by two people close to him: Joyce Maynard, an ex-lover; and Margaret Salinger, his daughter. In 1996, a small publisher announced a deal with Salinger to publish "Hapworth 16, 1924" in book form, but amid the ensuing publicity, the release was indefinitely delayed.

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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 AwardEzra Jack Keats Book 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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