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Portal:Children's literature

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The Children's Literature Portal

Portrait by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Porträt von Jean und Geneviève Caillebotte, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

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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Boston Public Garden
Make Way for Ducklings is a children's picture book written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey. First published in 1941, the book tells the story of a pair of mallard ducks who decide to raise their family on an island in the lagoon in the Boston Public Garden, a park in the center of Boston, Massachusetts. Make Way for Ducklings won the 1942 Caldecott Medal for McCloskey's illustrations, executed in charcoal then lithographed on zinc plates. Although the book was originally criticized for having a loose plot and poor characterization, it remains popular worldwide even sixty years after its first publication primarily for the enhancing illustrations and effective pacing. The book's popularity has led to the sale of over two million copies and the construction of a statue in the Public Garden of the mother duck and her eight ducklings.

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In this month

Madame d'Aulnoy

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Bye, baby bunting,
Daddy's gone a-hunting,
Gone to get a rabbit skin
To wrap the baby bunting in.

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Mary Martha Sherwood
Mary Martha Sherwood was a prolific and influential writer of children's literature in 19th-century Britain. She composed over 400 books, tracts, magazine articles, and chapbooks; among the most famous are The History of Little Henry and his Bearer (1814), The History of Henry Milner (1822–37), and The History of the Fairchild Family (1818–47). Many of Sherwood's books were bestsellers and she has been described as "one of the most significant authors of children's literature of the nineteenth century." Her depictions of domesticity and Britain's relationship with India likely shaped the opinions of many young British readers. However, her works fell from favor as a different style of children's literature came into fashion during the late 19th century, one exemplified by Lewis Carroll's playful and nonsensical Alice in Wonderland.

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 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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