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Adults saw children as separate beings, innocent and in need of protection and training by the adults around them. In Locke's philosophy, tabula rasa was the theory that the human mind is at birth a "blank slate" without rules for processing data, and that data is added and rules for processing are formed solely by one's sensory experiences. A corollary of this doctrine was that the mind of the child was born blank and that it was the duty of the parents to imbue the child with correct notions.

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Locke himself emphasized the importance of providing children with "easy pleasant books" to develop their minds rather than using force to compel them: "Children may be cozen'd into a knowledge of the letters; be taught to read, without perceiving it to be anything but a sport, and play themselves into that which others are whipp'd for. In the nineteenth century, a few children's titles became famous as classroom reading texts. Another influence on this shift in attitudes came from Puritanism , which stressed the importance of individual salvation. Puritans were concerned with the spiritual welfare of their children, and there was a large growth in the publication of "good godly books" aimed squarely at children.

Chapbooks , pocket-sized pamphlets that were often folded instead of being stitched, [8] : 32 were published in Britain; illustrated by woodblock printing , these inexpensive booklets reprinted popular ballads , historical re-tellings, and folk tales. Though not specifically published for children at this time, young people enjoyed the booklets as well. Hornbooks also appeared in England during this time, teaching children basic information such as the alphabet and the Lord's Prayer.

The first such book was a catechism for children written in verse by the Puritan John Cotton. Another early book, The New England Primer , was in print by and used in schools for years. The primer begins with "The young Infant's or Child's morning Prayer" and evening prayer. It then shows the alphabet, vowels, consonants, double letters, and syllables before providing a religious rhyme of the alphabet, beginning "In Adam's fall We sinned all In , the Pentamerone from Italy became the first major published collection of European folk tales.

Charles Perrault began recording fairy tales in France, publishing his first collection in They were not well received among the French literary society, who saw them as only fit for old people and children. It is considered to be the first picture book produced specifically for children. A Pretty and Splendid Maiden's Mirror , an adaptation of a German book for young women, became the first Swedish children's book upon its publication.

Called the first European storybook to contain fairy-tales, it eventually had 75 separate stories and written for an adult audience. Russia 's earliest children's books, primers , appeared in the late sixteenth century.

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The modern children's book emerged in midth-century England. A Little Pretty Pocket-Book , written and published by John Newbery , is widely considered the first modern children's book, published in It was a landmark as the first children's publication aimed at giving enjoyment to children, [26] containing a mixture of rhymes, picture stories and games for pleasure. The book was child—sized with a brightly colored cover that appealed to children — something new in the publishing industry.

Known as gift books, these early books became the precursors to the toy books popular in the nineteenth century. According to the journal The Lion and the Unicorn , "Newbery's genius was in developing the fairly new product category, children's books, through his frequent advertisements The improvement in the quality of books for children and the diversity of topics he published helped make Newbery the leading producer of children's books in his time.

He published his own books as well as those by authors such as Samuel Johnson and Oliver Goldsmith ; [8] : 36 [32] the latter may have written The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes , Newbery's most popular book. Another philosopher who influenced the development of children's literature was Jean-Jacques Rousseau , who argued that children should be allowed to develop naturally and joyously. His idea of appealing to a children's natural interests took hold among writers for children.

Rousseau's ideas also had great influence in Germany, especially on German Philanthropism , a movement concerned with reforming both education and literature for children. Its founder, Johann Bernhard Basedow , authored Elementarwerk as a popular textbook for children that included many illustrations by Daniel Chodowiecki. Another follower, Joachim Heinrich Campe , created an adaptation of Robinson Crusoe that went into over printings. He became Germany's "outstanding and most modern" [2] : writer for children.

The Brothers Grimm preserved and published the traditional tales told in Germany. This dislike of non-traditional stories continued there until the beginning of the next century. As professors, they had a scholarly interest in the stories, striving to preserve them and their variations accurately, recording their sources. By compiling these stories, they preserved Norway's literary heritage and helped create the Norwegian written language.

Danish author and poet Hans Christian Andersen traveled through Europe and gathered many well-known fairy tales and created new stories in the fairy tale genre. In Switzerland , Johann David Wyss published The Swiss Family Robinson in , with the aim of teaching children about family values, good husbandry, the uses of the natural world and self-reliance. The book became popular across Europe after it was translated into French by Isabelle de Montolieu. The shift to a modern genre of children's literature occurred in the midth century; didacticism of a previous age began to make way for more humorous, child-oriented books, more attuned to the child's imagination.

The availability of children's literature greatly increased as well, as paper and printing became widely available and affordable, the population grew and literacy rates improved. Tom Brown's School Days by Thomas Hughes appeared in , and is considered to be the founding book in the school story tradition. Regarded as the first "English masterpiece written for children" [8] : 44 and as a founding book in the development of fantasy literature, its publication opened the "First Golden Age" of children's literature in Britain and Europe that continued until the early s.

If we follow little Alice in her wanderings in the "Wonderland", we will soon see that the fairy-tale absurdity has solid historical ground. With the clear eyes of a child, Lewis Carroll made us look at the various phenomena of contemporary life. The absurd in the fairy tale shows the satire of the author and the embodiment of the serious problems of the Victorian era. Lewis Carroll is ironic about the prim and all-out regulated life of the "golden" Victorian century. These were classified as such for the themes they contained, consisting of fighting and work.

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Charles Kingsley , which became extremely popular and remains a classic of British children's literature. In , Carlo Collodi wrote the first Italian fantasy novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio , which was translated many times. In that same year, Emilio Salgari , the man who would become "the adventure writer par excellence for the young in Italy" [39] first published his legendary character Sandokan.

Barrie told the story of Peter Pan in the novel Peter and Wendy in Johanna Spyri 's two-part novel Heidi was published in Switzerland in and Boys' book writer Oliver Optic published over books. In , the "epoch-making" [8] : 45 Little Women , the fictionalized autobiography of Louisa May Alcott , was published. This " coming of age " story established the genre of realistic family books in the United States.

Mark Twain released Tom Sawyer in In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a plethora of children's novels began featuring realistic, non-magical plotlines. Literature for children had developed as a separate category of literature especially in the Victorian era , with some works becoming internationally known, such as Lewis Carroll 's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass. At the end of the Victorian era and leading into the Edwardian era, Beatrix Potter was an author and illustrator best known for her children's books, which featured animal characters.

Potter eventually went on to produce 23 children's books and become a wealthy woman.


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Michael O. Tunnell and James S. Jacobs, professors of children's literature at Brigham Young University, write, "Potter was the first to use pictures as well as words to tell the story, incorporating coloured illustration with text, page for page. Rudyard Kipling published The Jungle Book in A major theme in the book is abandonment followed by fostering, as in the life of Mowgli , echoing Kipling's own childhood.

Early years

In the latter years of the 19th century, precursors of the modern picture book were illustrated books of poems and short stories produced by English illustrators Randolph Caldecott , Walter Crane , and Kate Greenaway. These had a larger proportion of pictures to words than earlier books, and many of their pictures were in colour.

Heath Robinson , Henry J. Ford , John Leech , and George Cruikshank.

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The Kailyard School of Scottish writers, notably J. Barrie , creator of Peter Pan , presented an idealised version of society and brought fantasy and folklore back into fashion. The period before World War II was much slower in children's publishing. The main exceptions in England were the publications of Winnie-the-Pooh by A. Milne in , the first Mary Poppins book by P. Travers in , The Hobbit by J. White in Blyton's books are still enormously popular and have been translated into almost 90 languages. She wrote on a wide range of topics including education, natural history, fantasy, mystery, and biblical narratives and is best remembered today for her Noddy , The Famous Five , The Secret Seven , and The Adventure Series.

Children's literature - Wikipedia

In the s, the book market in Europe began to recover from the effects of the two world wars. An informal literary discussion group associated with the English faculty at the University of Oxford, were the "Inklings", with the major fantasy novelists C. Lewis and J. Tolkien as its main members. Lewis published the first installment of The Chronicles of Narnia series in , while Tolkien is best known, in addition to The Hobbit , as the author of The Lord of the Rings The latter is an adaptation of the myth of Blodeuwedd from the Mabinogion , set in modern Wales — it won Garner the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association , recognising the year's best children's book by a British author.

Mary Norton wrote The Borrowers , featuring tiny people who borrow from humans. Philippa Pearce 's Tom's Midnight Garden has Tom opening the garden door at night and entering into a different age. The heroine of Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer is already shaken by her arrival in a girls' boarding school when she finds herself waking as another girl in the same bed, but decades earlier.

She needs urgent help from nearby children to hide her cat and kittens. Roald Dahl wrote children's fantasy novels which were often inspired from experiences from his childhood, with often unexpected endings, and unsentimental, dark humour. Fox , The Witches , and Matilda Starting in , Michael Bond published humorous stories about Paddington Bear.