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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Hogwarts coat of arms
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. The main story arc concerns Harry's quandary involving the evil wizard Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents in his quest to conquer the wizarding world and subjugate non-magical people. Since the June 30, 1997 release of the first novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone the books have gained immense popularity, critical acclaim and commercial success worldwide. As of June 2008, the book series has sold more than 400 million copies and has been translated into 67 languages, and the last four books have consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history. A series of many genres, including fantasy and coming of age, it has many cultural meanings and references. According to Rowling, the main theme is death, which has led to much criticism, as it is primarily considered to be a work of children's literature.

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Polly by Kate Greenaway
Credit: Kate Greenaway

Polly, from Bret Harte's The Queen of the Pirate Isle (1885), illustrated by Kate Greenaway

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Dr. Seuss

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JOHN: How do you do it [fly]?
PETER: You just think lovely wonderful thoughts and they lift you up in the air.

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J. R. R. Tolkien in 1916
J. R. R. Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. He was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature from 1945 to 1959. He was a close friend of C. S. Lewis—they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings when they were published in paperback in the United States led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature.

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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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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