Children's Literature: A Very Short Introduction



hello I'm Kim Reynolds and I'm a professor of children's literature at Newcastle University and I wanted to write a very short introduction to children's literature because although here in Britain we have one of the longest and most distinguished traditions of creating books for children perhaps the longest and most distinguished in the world we often take them for granted and we don't pay enough attention to what a remarkable cultural resource they are for adults and the kind of cultural work they do for children and the way that they've served writers and illustrators as a cultural space for creativity subversion and opportunities to experiment with new ideas so what kind of cultural work the children's books do well at the level of an individual child this is one of the places where children learn the vocabularies get the vicarious experiences and see the images of the world that help them think about how the world works and where they fit into it because children's books are one of the first places that children encounter these things they're often very direct as a source of information about what a particular period thanks including what it thinks a child is what a child needs to know what childhood looks like sometimes when we were looking at children's books from the past that's very important to notice the kinds of children who aren't there for instance so that's one of the things that we have in children's books the great repository of stories that have been shaped for children in the past that tell us about the values of the past and the kinds of struggle sometimes for children's mind that have gone on at decisive moments in history so many people don't realize that most rising movements whether they're political or religious or ideological realize that children's literature has a particular value to them not only gives those ideas to children but it also takes them into the home and introduces them to parents or reinforces ideas that are there so variously the Puritans created children's literature there were some of the first chairman now wrote books for children General Franco censored but children could read very heavily and in our own culture in Britain the rise of the middle class was very much associated and documented in books for children so we know what middle class films look like what kind of toys middle class children played with in the 18th century very much through the books that were created for children but it's also a place where cultural work takes place because each generation of children is being introduced and inducted into culture through the literary culture through children's books and so many of the traditional forms the fairy tales the folk tales different kinds of genres are first encountered in children's books and this is can be very potent as a way of keeping those forms and genres alive and passing them on including to the next generation of writers and artists and it's quite astonishing the number of writers and artists who will say that they based their own style on the children's authors they read from Beatrix Potter to Philip on

One thought on “Children's Literature: A Very Short Introduction

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *