Childrens Literature


Children's Literature is either books specifically written for children, or literature which has subsequently been deemed to be appropriate for children. Thus for example The Three Musketeers may not have been intended as book for children, but was later became acknowledeged as a children's "classic".

All of which is, of course, problematic. Children come in all shapes and sizes (and ages), so the term is vaguely applied to any works for anyone under the age of 18. We have no subdivision into "age-appropriate" groups, so that Mother Goose sits happily along side Gulliver's Travels.

Moreover, taste and ideas about children have changed over time, so that, for example, The Water Babies or The Happy Prince may no longer be considered suitable for their intended audience. Parents should consider carefully before subjecting their children to some of the items on this list.


Before 18th century

  • Aesop's Fables Aesop c. 600]BC
  • Arabian Nights before 8th century AD
  • Orbis Pictus / John Amos Comenius [1658]
    The earliest known picture book written specifically for children.
  • A Token for Children. Being An Exact Account of the Conversion, Holy and Exemplary Lives, and Joyful Deaths of several Young Children / James Janeway [1672]
    One of the first books specifically written for children which shaped much eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century writing for children.

18th century

19th century

20th century

See also

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