Children's literature

From ArticleWorld

Children’s literature is a very broad term which comprises books written specifically for children but can also include books initially written for adults which have come to be thought of as children’s books such as Mark Twain’s ‘The Prince and the Pauper’ or the very popular ‘Huckleberry Finn.’There are many authors who specialize in writing for children, while others write for both adults and children.


Stories have always been passed down from one generation to the next through the tradition of oral story-telling, but the first published children’s book is considered to be the illustrated information book ‘Obis Pictus’ published in 1658. The first children’s book aimed at reading for pleasure is probably ‘A Little Pretty Pocket Book’ by John Newberry in 1744.


The most obvious example of a children’s book is one that is written for or marketed to children, though the classic ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee was originally neither. Usually, the age of the protagonist in the story dictates to whom the story will be directed; but again this is not always the case as there are some children’s books with adult heroes and some adult books with children protagonists.

As a rule, children’s literature avoids certain themes considered inappropriate for children, although there are books dealing with sensitive issues such as eating disorders, rape and sexual abuse. Furthermore, the books are relatively short, may contain illustrations and are usually written in more simple language. Stories tend to be plot- oriented with more dialogue and fewer descriptions. Finally, the endings are happy, though there are exceptions to all of the above.

Children’s literature is also divided into age groups with pre-readers, early readers, chapter books and young adults as rough categories.