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Portal:Children's literature

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Introduction

A mother reads to her children, depicted by Jessie Willcox Smith in a cover illustration of a volume of fairy tales written in the mid to late 19th century.

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 15th century, a large quantity of literature, often with a moral or religious message, has been aimed specifically at children. The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries became known as the "Golden Age of Children's Literature" as this period included the publication of many books acknowledged today as classics.

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Gustave Dore le chat botte.jpg
"Puss in Boots" is a French literary fairy tale about a cat who uses trickery and deceit to gain power, wealth, and the hand of a princess in marriage for his penniless and low-born master. The tale was written at the close of the seventeenth century by Charles Perrault, a retired civil servant and member of the Académie française. The book was an instant success and remains popular today. The tale's immorality has provoked some concern about its influence on young minds, but Perrault composed "Le Maistre Chat" and the other tales of Histoires to reinforce standards of civilized conduct in the upper-class French society of the seventeenth century rather than to provide amusement and instruction for the young. Indeed, Puss has been described by one commentator as "the epitome of the educated bourgeois secretary who serves his master with complete devotion and diligence." Perrault's Histoires has had considerable impact on world culture. The frontispiece to the earliest English editions depicts an old woman telling tales to a group of children beneath a placard inscribed 'MOTHER GOOSE'S TALES' and is credited with launching the Mother Goose legend in the English-speaking world.

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Alphabet book
Credit: J. E. Friedberg

German alphabet book from 1830

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A Little Pretty Pocket-Book

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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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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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