Evolution of Children’s Lit

Children’s literature is a fascinating field of publishing to study. Kids are one of the most versatile demographics, exhibiting constant change in response to the world around them. As children change, their literature has changed along with them.

Originally, there were no such things as books written for the enjoyment of children. Books were much too expensive to even be a common commodity, much less trust in the hands of a child. But over the last couple hundred years, the children’s book industry has become a booming, lucrative business.

I read an interesting article called  chronicling the changes in children’s lit since the seventeenth century. The original “children’s book” was the Horn Book, paddle-shaped boards with primary information intended to help children learn how to read and their prayers. It’s interesting to juxtapose this with the myriad of children’s fiction today and how it has changed over the last several centuries, and perhaps more interesting to consider where it may be headed.

Read the article here

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2 thoughts on “Evolution of Children’s Lit

  1. rdomitz February 16, 2015 / 7:51 pm

    This is quite interesting. I’ve never considered children’s literature being relatively new. Often an overlooked aspect, the market is produced and consumed by two completely different demographics! This appears to instill a rather challenging obstacle for writers in children’s literature, as they can only guess at what might ignite a child’s creativity. Even more remarkable is when the line between age demographics is blurred, and authors manage to snag both children and adults alike into a compelling story. I’m very interested to see where this is headed indeed!

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  2. stephaniebaur February 16, 2015 / 10:17 pm

    It is interesting to think that Children’s literature is a new phenomenon. However, with the expense of hand copying books and early printing, combined with a low literacy rate, it does make a lot of sense.
    Now even the umbrella category of “Children’s Literature” is broken down into even smaller subcategories: Picture Books, Young Readers, Middle Readers, and Young Adult. It is quite a transition to specifically cater to such narrow age categories (ex. 9-12), when youth used to be completely ignored.

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