Portal:Children's literature

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Egyptian boys reading

Ben Barber (USAID)

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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Hymns for the Amusement of Children (1771) was the final work completed by Christopher Smart. It was completed while Smart was imprisoned for outstanding debt at the King's Bench Prison, and the work is his final exploration of religion. Smart's Hymns are one of the first works of hymns dedicated to children, and they are intended to teach Christian virtues. Unlike some of the other works produced by Smart after his release from a mental asylum, such as A Song to David orHymns and Spiritual Songs, this work was a success and went into many immediate editions. Part of the success of this work lies in the simplicity and accessibility of the text. However, Smart died before he ever saw the proceeds of the work and never learned of the book's success.

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Alphabet book
Credit: J. E. Friedberg

German alphabet book from 1830

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A Crow having taken a Piece of Cheese out of a Cottage-Window, flew up into a high Tree with it, in order to eat it. Which a Fox observing, came and sate underneath, and began to compliment the Crow upon the Subject of her Beauty. I protest, says he, I never observ'd it before, but your Feathers are of a more delicate White than any that ever I saw in my Life: Ah! what a fine Shape, and graceful turn of Body is there! And I make no question but you have a tolerable Voice? If it were but as fine as your Complexion, as I hope to live, I don't know a Bird that could pretend to stand in Competition with you. The Crow, ticked with this very civil Language, nestled and riggled about, and hardly knew where she was; but thinking the Fox a little in the dark as to the Particular of her Voice, and having a mind to set him right in that Matter, she begun to sing, for his Information; and, in the same Instant, let the cheese drop out of her Mouth. This being what the Fox wanted, he chop'd it up in a Moment; and trotted away, laughing in his Sleeve, at the easie Credulity of the Crow.
Samuel Croxall, "The Fox and the Crow," Aesop's Fables

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The Catcher in the Rye
J. D. Salinger was a 20th-century American author, best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye (pictured), as well as his reclusive nature. He has not published an original work since 1965 and has not been interviewed since 1980. Raised in the Bronx, Salinger began writing short stories while in secondary school, and published several stories in the early 1940s before serving in World War II. In 1948 he published the critically-acclaimed story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" in The New Yorker magazine, which became home to much of his subsequent work. In 1951 Salinger released his novel, The Catcher in the Rye, an immediate popular success. His depiction of adolescent alienation and loss of innocence in the protagonist Holden Caulfield was influential, especially among adolescent readers. The novel remains widely read, selling around 250,000 copies a year. The success of The Catcher in the Rye led to public attention and scrutiny: Salinger became reclusive, publishing new work less frequently. He followed Catcher with a short story collection, Nine Stories (1953), a collection of a novella and a short story, Franny and Zooey (1961), and a collection of two novellas, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963). His last published work, a novella entitled "Hapworth 16, 1924," appeared in The New Yorker on June 19, 1965. Afterwards, Salinger struggled with unwanted attention, including a legal battle in the 1980s with biographer Ian Hamilton and the release in the late 1990s of memoirs written by two people close to him: Joyce Maynard, an ex-lover; and Margaret Salinger, his daughter. In 1996, a small publisher announced a deal with Salinger to publish "Hapworth 16, 1924" in book form, but amid the ensuing publicity, the release was indefinitely delayed.

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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 Template:/box-footer

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Literature on Wikinews     Literature on Wikiquote     Choosing High Quality Children's Literature on Wikibooks     Children's literature on Wikisource     Literature on Wiktionary     Children's literature on Wikimedia Commons
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