Children's Literature

Instructor: Chi-Fen Emily Chen, Ph.D. 陳其芬

Department of English, National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology, Taiwan


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Introduction
History
Study of Literature
Teaching Literature
Poetry for Children
Picture Books
Folk Literature
Fantasy
Realistic Fiction
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The History of Children's Literature

 Please read Chapter 1 from Russell, D. L. (2009). Literature for children: a short introduction.

The Outline of the History of Children's Literature               *DOC file

   Time Period                   Event                                                 Significance


Classical World

850 BCE –

476 CE* (note)

- Oral storytelling

- Greek and Roman myths and epics

- Aesop’s fables

- kept ancient stories alive

- Children and adults shared a common literature

Middle Ages

476 CE – 1450

 

- Religious tales / Biblical stories

- Romantic tales / Legends

- set examples for children, for a didactic purpose

- created a mixture of realism  and fantasy

Renaissance

1450 – 1700

 

- The printing press made it possible to make multiple copies of books

- Rise of Educational books

* Orbis Sensualism Pictus

by John Comenius (1658) - the 1st children’s picture book

* New England Primer

(1690 -1886) - the most famous early school book

- Emergence of Chapbooks  (small and cheaply made books containing fairy tales

- promoted mass education

 

 

- the emphasis was on spiritual and intellectual development; schooling became important for a Puritan child's upbringing

- emphasized giving lessons in proper behavior for boys

- helped to keep interest in traditional tales alive during the Puritan Movement

18th and early 19th Centuries

1700 – 1830

 

- Intellectual development:  John Locke

- Moral development: Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Emile, 1762)

- Publishing of children’s books: John Newbery

- Rise of Moralistic Tales

- Revival of Folktales

* Tales of Mother Goose by Charles Perrault in France (1697) and translated in English (1729)

* Grimms’ Nursery and Household Tales  in Germany (1812)

* Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales in Denmark (1835)

- advocated that a child's mind at birth was like a blank slate

- argued that everyone was born with equal abilities to learn

- advocated that living a moral life through simplicity

- encouraged the writing of didactic books for children

- first successfully promoted children's literature designed to entertain children as well as to teach them

- influenced by Rousseau’s emphasis on proper moral development; written mostly  by women

 

- first written version of folktales

 

- inspired a flurry of folktales collecting throughout Europe

- first modern folktales

The Victorians: Golden Age

1830 – 1900

 

- Rise of Modern Fantasy

 

* Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland  (1865) by Lewis Carroll (England)

* The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) by L. Frank Baum (U.S.)

* The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1901) by Beatrix Potter

- Rise of Realistic Stories

* Little Women (1868) by Louisa May Alcott (U.S)

* Treasure Island (1881) by Robert Louis Stevenson (England)

- more talented writers wrote entertaining stories for children

 

- first children’s masterpiece of modern fantasy (breaking the bonds of didacticism)

- first classic U.S. modern fantasy for children

 

- early important modern picture storybook in English

 

- early family story of great popularity (girls’ story)

 

- famous classic adventure stories (boys’ story)

20th Century

 

 

- Emergence of some of the most notable fantasy writers of children's literature

* Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) by A. A. Milne (England)

- Popularity of  the publication of Picture Storybooks

- Popularity of Fantasy stories  and series books

* The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) and sequels  by C. S. Lewis

* Charlotte's Web (1952) by E. B. White

- Rise of New Realism (after  World War II)

- A variety of world cultures presented in children's books

- Emergence of awards for children's books (the earliest  one was Newbery Medal in 1922, U.S.)

- Study of children's literature began in the last quarter of the 20th century

 

 

- early classic personified toy animal story

 

 

 

 

- early classic quest adventure  for children

 

- classis U.S. animal fantasy

- a franker and more open approach to subjects in children's books

- the field of children's literature has grown worldwide; heroes came in all colors

- promoted the writing of great works of children's literature

 

 

- raised the status of children's literature and promoted the publishing of children's books

*Note: CE stands for “Common Era.” It is a relatively new term that is experiencing increased usage and is eventually expected to replace AD (“Anno Domini” in Latin or “the year of the Lord” in English). BCE stands for “Before the Common Era.” It is eventually expected to replace BC, which means “Before Christ.”

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