Children’s Literature

Children’s literature or juvenile literature includes stories, books, magazines, and poems that are enjoyed by children. Modern children’s stories are classified in two different ways: genre or the intended age of the reader. From simple bedtime story books to classic tomes like Alice In Wonderland and the Wizard Of OZ, children love to read or be read to.

Origins Of Children’s Literature

Children's Literature Clint Plyler Publishing Night Night Hamlet Bear Ridge Book One Children’s literature can be traced to stories 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. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is known as the “Golden Age of Children’s Literature”, because many classic children’s books were published then.

Classification Of Children’s Literature

There is no single or widely used definition for this material. It can be broadly defined as anything that children read or more specifically defined as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or drama intended for and used by children and young people. One writer on the subject defines it as “all books written for children, excluding works such as comic books, joke books, cartoon books, and non-fiction works that are not intended to be read from front to back, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference materials”. However, others would argue that comics should also be included: “Studies [have] traditionally treated comics fitfully and superficially despite the importance of comics as a global phenomenon associated with children”.

The International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature notes that “the boundaries of genre … are not fixed but blurred”. Sometimes, no agreement can be reached about whether a given work is best categorized as literature for adults or children. Some works defy easy categorization. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was written and marketed for young adults, but it is also popular among adults. The series’ extreme popularity led The New York Times to create a separate best-seller list for children’s books.

Despite the widespread association of children’s literature with picture books, spoken narratives existed before printing, and the root of many children’s tales go back to ancient storytellers. Seth Lerer, in the opening of Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter, says, “This book presents a history of what children have heard and read … The history I write of is a history of reception.”

Source: Wikipedia – The Online Encyclopedia.

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