Talk:Children's literature

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shukri is a girl she was born december 11th 1995 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:00, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Major rewrite, 4 March 2009[edit]

Evidently the following ten sections were all posted by User:ErinHowarth during major rewrite 3–4 March 2009. This reduced the page size by one-third, partly reported and explained here. See also edit history, Feb–May 2009. -P64 2013-04-27


In attempting to define children's literature, the following sentence refers to categorizing literatrue by format: "books can also be categorized by their various formats, such as picture books, easy-to-read books, illustrated books, chapter books, hardcover books, paperback books, grocery store books, and series books." These are not formats. Formats are hardcover, paperbacks, board books, large print, braille, books on tape and audiobooks on CD. Grocery store books are being categorized by their retailer which seems unfair and irrelevant to me. Picture books, easy-to-read books, illustrated books, and chapter books are being categorized by reading level (I think), but those are not formats. --ErinHowarth (talk) 22:33, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

children's books enjoyed by adults[edit]

The bit about children's books being enjoyed by adults is a bit confusing. I think what is being attempted is an example of a book orignially written for children which is enjoyed by adults, but the examples of The Amber Spyglass and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time are lost on me. I have never heard of either of thse books. Neither have I ever heard of the the Whitbread Award, so either I'm not a member of the target audience for this article or the examples are too obscure. We can either find different examples or we can explain these examples better. Almost as an after thought the following phrase is inserted: "Also included are the works of J. K. Rowling and Shel Silverstein." Now, these people I've heard of, but including them like this is sloppy writing. Either leave them out or let them replace the examples above. It would be an easy case to show that the work of Rowling was originally intended for children but is enjoyed by many adults. I think it would be similarly easy to show that for Silverstein, but the case must be made, it is not so obvious that it can just be stated as fact. Now I think I'm rambling, and I need to go sit down. --ErinHowarth (talk) 22:46, 3 March 2009 (UTC)


Twain is an excellent example of an author who wrote for adults but was beloved by children, but Hcukleberry Finn is a poor example of a book with hidden dark themes that become evident when the reader returns to the text as adn adult, so I have cut the Twain example from that section of the article and left only the Alice in Wonderland example. --ErinHowarth (talk) 23:54, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

A children literature?[edit]

I'm not sure if Anne Frank can be considered children literature... I mean it's about holocaust, how can it be a children literature? There's some light topic diary in the beginning but I'm not sure it counts. [cough]btw, isn't it still a controversy to verify whether Anne Frank's diary was really written by Anne or a hoax made by her father? Sorry if what it means is another book though


I'm cutting this sentence:

An attempt to identify the characteristics shared by works called "children's literature" leads to some generally accepted guidelines. No one rule is perfect, however, and for every identifying feature there are many exceptions, as well as many adult books that share the characteristic. (For further discussion, see Hunt 1991: 42-64, Lesnik-Oberstein 1996, Huck 2001: 4-5.)

It reads like the introduction to a list of guidelines, but no guildelines are listed, so I don't see them point. --ErinHowarth (talk) 23:57, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

literary elements[edit]

I'm cutting this until I can find a place to work it back in: "Anderson suggests that literary elements should be found throughout all of children's literature. These important elements include characters, point of view, setting, plot, theme, style, and tone.<ref>Anderson 2006, pp. 30–39.</ref>"

teacher's library[edit]

I doubt I'll find a place to work this back in: "Anderson also suggests that every teacher should have at least 300 books in their classroom library.<ref>Anderson 2006, p. 42.</ref>"


I"m cutting this until I can find a place to work it back in: "Anderson states that there are "several common themes in traditional literature" they follow along the lines of "Triumph of good over evil, trickery, hero's quest, reversal of fortune, and small outwitting the big," "Because one of the purposes of folklore was to transmit cultural values and beliefs, the theme is usually quite apparent."<ref>Anderson 2006, pp. 87–88.</ref>"

popular contributors[edit]

As I read through this talk page before I archived it, I noted that this topic has been much discussed, but I don't believe we (as editors) have reached an adequate solution. The list of popular contributors is too long (in my opiinon) and the notion of popularity is not defined. I propose the following: (1) we decide how long the list should be. Currently it has 43 names on it. I think ten is more than enough for an article like this. I further propose that we find a way to spread them out evenly over time. The current list includes names of people born between 1592 and 1970 with about 20 from 20th century and 20 from 19th century. I suggest that we loose Comenius from the list, work him back into the history section, keep Perrault and Grimm (because I've heard of them), and then choose one representative from each quarter century between 1800 and 2000, i.e. 1800-1825, 1825-1850, 1850-1875, etc. (2) Second, I propose that we define the author's popularity right in the list. Curretly, our list just includes some of the author's titles, and this might be enough if the reader has heard of the stories, but I think it best to make some kind of statement defining the level of the contributor's popularity, that will make it especially useful for future ediotrs who come along and what to put in a differetn name. --ErinHowarth (talk) 01:12, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

You're absolutely right. A list is inappropriate—ultimately this should be put into paragraph forms by "era" or the like. Mr. Absurd (talk) 01:36, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Paragraphs are a great idea. I'll try working it into the history section. --ErinHowarth (talk) 02:33, 4 March 2009 (UTC)


I'm cutting this quote from the illustrations section as it is unsourced and not clear who is being quoted: "a marriage of words and pictures." --ErinHowarth (talk) 06:14, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

topics underrepresented[edit]

Non-European (See, e.g., Children's Literature in China: From Lu Xun to Mao Zedong Authored by: Mary Ann Farquhar Winner of the 1999 Children's Literature Book Award (Children's Literature Association); young children's lit (e.g., Sendak), poetry (e.g., A Child's Garden of Verse)Kdammers (talk) 00:05, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

In Archive 3 Piotr Konieczny complained the article wasn't global enough.

Beyond Chinese, what about other major literary languages: Arabic, Hindi, Spanish and Russian? Children's lit. is certainly well-developed in Russian. Then there are second-tier languages like Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay and Indonesian, Farsi as well as numerous European languages. LADave (talk) 20:52, 18 December 2009 (UTC)

Age limit?[edit]

The opening paragraph describes children's literature as being for "children up to about age twelve". It is sometimes used in this sense, excluding young adult literature, but I would suggest that young adult literature is actually a field within children's literature. Many children's literature awards go to young adult books, for example, and the teenage section of a library is usually in the children's library area. So should it say "up to age 18" - or 16 maybe? - with a note that the term is sometimes used in the exclusionary sens e. Any comments? Robina Fox (talk) 17:44, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Have deleted introductory text "Children's literature is for readers and listeners up to about age twelve; it is often defined in four different ways: books written by children, books written for children, books chosen by children, or books chosen for children. It is often illustrated. The term is used in senses which sometimes exclude young-adult fiction, comic books, or other genres."

This is at best unreferenced, and I think someone's opinion and plain wrong.Book reviews and ads are full of books for teenagers. The US Children's Book Council lists books described as for "age 14+". A definition must be uncontentious and sourced (if authorities disagree, it should be mentioned). Pol098 (talk) 08:29, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

Spurious classification[edit]

Ths classification into "books written by children; books written for children; books chosen by children; books chosen for children" seems spurious - is there a source for it? They are all books widely read by children, whether chosen by themselves or others. Some adult books get taken up by children (Gulliver's Travels); this is worth a mention, but not a formal classification. Books written by children for children again merit a mention, no more. Books read mainly by adults written by by children are nearly as rare as hens' teeth (maybe Anne Frank's diary), and are not called children's books. Pol098 (talk) 08:59, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

Did some work[edit]

Hi, I did some work on this. I hope I didn't upset anyone, it's never my intent, but it clearly needed some work -- and still needs more. I removed a few larger sections of info that didn't belong where they were, but have saved them to see if maybe they could go someplace else. As of today I've only gotten through the history section, and clearly work needs to be done on the lead and the definitions parts, too. I am concerned that the 1900s is a list, not an analysis like previous sections are; I think it's not encyclopedia-like. Also, the whole article is still very European/North American centric.

If I did anything that upset someone I apologize. Feel free to make more changes or contact me about what I've done and what's left to do. I will be back and do some more work later. Tlqk56 (talk) 21:09, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Under construction[edit]

One reason I added the template is in hope of attracting others who might like to improve this article. All I ask is that we try to follow MOS guidelines, and cite our facts. This is too big a project for one person, especially since I have others going on, and my resources are basically all US/European-centric. If you can add other info, please do! Tlqk56 (talk) 03:43, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Order of history section[edit]

In an attempt to keep the history section in some kind of order, keeping the longer sections toward the end of each period, and using my reference books, I'm trying to add information in this general order:

  • Egypt
  • India
  • China/Far East
  • Greece
  • Arab world
  • Africa
  • Central, South America/Caribbean
  • Russia/Eastern Europe
  • Other Countries
  • Western Europe and Great Britain (I'm not up to separating these, they are quite entwined.)
  • United States/Canada

Tlqk56 (talk) 02:27, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Tlqk56 and others: I think the whole huge article is unfolding very well and I'm enjoying your additions about other parts of the world. Still, I miss the reference to Geoffrey Trease in the UK interwar period. Earlier history "stories" for children were normally simplistic accounts of national myths (King Alfred and his cakes, Maid Marian, King Arthur). Trease and followers such as Rosemary Sutcliff and Carola Oman produced well-researched, historically more accurate historical fiction for juveniles that became immensely popular by the 1950s and form one of the main sides of the Puffin Books list in that period. I wish I could find a good reference or two for that and figure out where it would fit into the grand scheme of the article. Perhaps you will stumble across something. Now it's your bedtime, Tlqk56. What would you like Nanny to read you tonight? Bmcln1 (talk) 09:24, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the friendly words, Bmcln1. I know I have refs for Sutcliff, I just haven't added them yet. I'm trying not to overbalance Great Britain compared to the rest of the info, since this isn't "history of child's lit in England and the US". But it's all relative, of course. Right now I'm trying to get the other countries in, and there's surprisingly little out there. Tlqk56 (talk) 15:36, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
When I see more clearly where the new version is heading I'll try to add a couple of sentences about Hungarian children's lit as well. Cordially Bmcln1 (talk) 16:13, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure I see clearly where its heading. LOL. Please do add Hungary. I only have the statement, "Hungary produced its first children's book in 1538" with no mention of what it was! Frustrating. Tlqk56 (talk) 17:58, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
None of the children I know have heard of it. I'll try parents.Bmcln1 (talk) 20:13, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Natural history (Boreman, 1730)[edit]

This is the lead sentence of entry "Natural history" in The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature (1999) --page 370, which is now available to non-subscribers at[1]

Natural history was a popular subject from the beginning of British juvenile publishing; A DESCRIPTION OF THREE HUNDRED ANIMALS ( 1730), published (and probably written) by Thomas BOREMAN, was one of the first books that could justly be described as 'for the entertainment of youth'. It drew on the

Page 370 ends after the next four words (quoted). --P64 (talk) 18:30, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Middle Grade and Young Adult[edit]

Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Children's literature#Middle Grade and Young Adult

--cross-reference by "postor" P64 (talk) 17:08, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

Major revision today[edit]

Also posted at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Children's literature#Major revision of main article -P64

There was a major revision by User:Noodleki early this hour, far beyond the power of our simple automated comparison to represent (diffs, -5500 bytes).

--P64 (talk) 18:42, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Such major edits, esp. if the rearranging loses 5kbytes, should be discussed, or at least summarized, on the talk page, as a courtesy. this is beyond the power of a human editor to review easily, let alone any automated systems.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 04:30, 21 October 2013 (UTC)


I revamped the category tree for childrens literature at the commons. it should be much better to use now.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 04:31, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Wind in the Willows[edit]

Maybe I missed it but shouldn't The Wind in the Willows be included here? Rissa, copy editor (talk) 01:00, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

Feminist children's literature[edit]

I removed this section which seemed to unbalance the article in terms of history and in being US-specific, and added it to the Feminist children's literature article. It needs to be integrated into that article by someone who know the material. We could perhaps have a section here on the general use of children's literature to propagate ideas and promote social and behavioral change throughout its history. It's fairly easy to find examples, but a source for the general idea would need to be found. Robina Fox (talk) 17:04, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

Latin America[edit]

Hello, this article completely omits Latin American children's literature, please write about it. -- (talk) 18:17, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

Specu ... lae? ...lii? ...lums?[edit]


I see Courtesy Litterature made it into this article; perhaps the Speculum genre also deserves mention. Perhaps it is more of a "young adult" thing, otoh in e.g. the MA some children may have been thrust into the YA period at age 12. There's a nice article on spec.reg. books, mentioning how it was aimed at budding princes and kings.

T (talk) 23:44, 21 October 2015 (UTC)


This article is approaching a size where it needs to be split. I'd suggest splitting off the "literary criticism" section, which probably needs room to grow anyway. Any ideas on the new article's name? Possibilities: Ideology in children's literature; Literary criticism of children's literature; Social criticism of children's literature; Social issues in children's literature; Controversies in children's literature. --- Robina Fox (talk) 17:57, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Children's literature/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

This article is substantial. It includes most of the sections approrpriate for this topic, but it is still missing important content. A section should be added describing the characteristics of children's literature (os which illustrations would be one such characteristic). The article on young adult literature includes such a section. More sources will also improve the quality of this article.

Last edited at 18:11, 4 March 2009 (UTC). Substituted at 11:30, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

Delete Antiquity and the Middle Ages?[edit]

I have deleted the reference to mythology, which was at the beginning of this section. Furthermore it seems to be about adult literature that children might enjoy, rather than literature for children. The Welsh Mabinogion is not children's literature. Folk tales were/are created for adults. I don't know the Panchatantra, but is it really children's literature? There is reference to Homer, but presumably children can also enjoy Dickens, etc., and probably listened to family readings in the Victorian period. This section seems based on the dated idea that older cultures were primitive – i.e. childish. I will delete unless there are objections. An alternative would be to substitute a discussion of how children read and enjoy supposed adult fiction and the publication of children's versions of adult fiction, including Homer. Rwood128 (talk) 12:40, 18 May 2016 (UTC)

Re the Panchatantra, I quickly scanned the article on this work and it is very clear that it wasn't written for children – despite the citation. Obviously, anyhow it was written long before there was such a thing as children's literature. Rwood128 (talk) 13:17, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
As clearly this section did not deal with children's literature but adult literature that children might have heard/enjoyed I have deleted it. Rwood128 (talk) 13:25, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
John Newbery's books, particularly his toy books often included fairy tales and such, so I think we really need to keep some of that information in. It's true the Perrault's audience for his fairly tales were adults, and the Brothers Grimm, too, meant their early editions to be for adults, but that quickly changed in the later editions. I do have sources for this information, and can add. All of my children's literature textbooks include mythology, fairy tales, etc., with the expectation that those genres were appropriate for children, which has really only changed in since the middle of the 20th century. All that said, those sections do need work, and I don't have a problem with the material that's been deleted. Victoria (tk) 20:12, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
Victoria, thanks for your helpful comments. I'm no expert on children's literature and certainly the works for children that you mention should be included, that is works re-written for children. An early example, I got long ago as a child, is Charles Kingsley's Heroes (1856), which re-tells Greek mythology for children. I've also found that there is a children's edition of the classic of Welsh mythology, the Mabinogion, in English, by poet Gwyn Thomas, "Tales from the Mabinogion". Rwood128 (talk) 22:14, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
I never really know what to do about this article, which is probably why it's on my watchlist but I've not edited here in years. On the one hand there seem to be too many examples without enough material defining childrens' literature. Some years ago I downloaded lots of files to use here and I have a fair number of books, but haven't ever gotten around to it. I do know that the anthologies used (at least in the US) to teach childrens' literature include mythologies, Beowulf, Homer, etc., but it might be interesting to see whether there are sources explaining what we think of as children's literature in 2016 is at odds with the material contained in books published during the Golden Age. I think if sources can be found it's worth an explanation. Certainly you've raised a good point. Victoria (tk) 23:19, 18 May 2016 (UTC)

I hope you can find the time to work on this because it sounds like you are well prepared.

On another matter, I think that there should be some discussion of comic books, in particular British boys' magazines, The Girl's Own Paper, etc. I regularly read, as a boy, story comic books like The Hotspur, which contained short adventure stories. I presume that there were equivalents for other countries. Rwood128 (talk) 00:34, 19 May 2016 (UTC)

Yes, I agree about Boys Magazines and such and probably Penny Dreadfuls as well. I'm not really very active these days (this just happened to be on my watch at a time when I logged in) and I'd have to dig out sources and see what I have. There's a lot to take on here, but I agree, that it's probably worthwhile. I might pick at it a bit. Victoria (tk) 00:49, 20 May 2016 (UTC)

After the golden age[edit]

I think the section on the inter-war years in the UK is inaccurate. It states: The Golden Age of Children's Literature ended with World War I in Great Britain and Europe, and the period before World War II was much slower in children's publishing. The main exceptions in England were the publications of Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne in 1926 and The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien in 1937.[ref]

The reference seems to have forgotten, for example, Enid Blyton (first book 1922), Swallows and Amazons (1930), Dr. Dolittle, Richmal Crompton's William books, Professor Branestawm, and Biggles. I think the text should be along the lines of "Children's publishing activity continued to increase between the wars, as many authors developed series of books. There were perhaps fewer recognised classics than before the first world war, but 1920s and 30s children were not short of new fiction to read." No ref - this is from my own knowledge and other Wikipedia articles. Colin McKenzie (talk) 19:35, 17 September 2016 (UTC)


The following sentence needs to be clarified: "Literary critic Jean Webb, among others, has pointed out the presence of British Imperialism in The Secret Garden. The protagonist, Mary Lennox and her friends are said to be portrayed as innocent victims of Imperialism". As it now reads it would appear to be in fact an anti-imperialist novel! Rwood128 (talk) 18:43, 4 May 2017 (UTC)

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