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The Children's Literature Portal


Children's literature or juvenile literature includes stories, books, magazines, and poems that are enjoyed by children. Modern children's literature is classified in two different ways: genre or the intended age of the reader.

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 are known as the "Golden Age of Children's Literature" because many classic children's books were published then. Read more...


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Peter Rabbit first edition 1902a.jpg
The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter that follows mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit as he is chased about the garden of Mr. McGregor. It was privately printed by Potter in 1901 after several publishers' rejections but was printed in a trade edition by Frederick Warne & Co. in 1902. The book was a success, and multiple reprints were issued in the years immediately following its debut. It has been translated into 36 languages and with 45 million copies sold it is one of the best-selling books of all time. The book has generated considerable merchandise over the decades since its release for both children and adults with toys, dishes, foods, clothing, videos and other products made available. Potter was one of the first to be responsible for such merchandise when she patented a Peter Rabbit doll in 1903 and followed it almost immediately with a Peter Rabbit board game. By making the hero of the tale a disobedient and rebellious little rabbit, Potter subverted her era's definition of the good child and the literary hero genre which typically followed the adventures of a brave, resourceful, young white male.

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Edward Lear A Book of Nonsense 114.jpg
Credit: Edward Lear

Edward Lear, A Book of Nonsense (1846)

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"If you please, I should like to have the flower-pot; that is, if you won't think me very silly, mamma."
"Why, as to that, I can't promise you, Rosamond; but when you have to judge for yourself you should choose what would make you happy, and then it would not signify who thought you silly."

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Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being Earnest. As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years hard labour after being convicted of "gross indecency" with other men. After Wilde was released from prison he set sail for Dieppe by the night ferry. He never returned to Ireland or Britain. Wilde wrote almost all of his major and minor works in the last decade of his life, including his fairy tales and short stories for children. He published three volumes of these, The Happy Prince and Other Tales, Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories and A House of Pomegranates.

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Mark Souder

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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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