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An Brief History of Children’s Literature in the Western Tradition.

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Presentation on theme: "An Brief History of Children’s Literature in the Western Tradition."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Brief History of Children’s Literature in the Western Tradition

2 People to Know The Puritans (1550s -1700s) sinful child John Locke (1632-1704) rational child Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) natural child John Newberry (1713-1767) child consumer William Blake (1757-1827) wise child Not for children, but popular with children –John Bunyan: Pilgrim’s Progress (1678) –Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe (1719) –Jonathan Swift: Gulliver’s Travels (1726)

3 Early years Children didn’t read. There was nothing special for them, but some stories from these years remain popular with them.


5 Renaissance Some people started to care specifically about children and their education.

6 The Puritans Children are born sinful. Children should learn to read to study the Bible. Stories of martyrs detailing horrible deaths were thought especially appropriate for children. Fear is the one of the most important learning tools. –Fear God –Fear hell –Fear punishment for wrong actions. –Whip children to help them learn

7 Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (1563) The full title is Actes and Monuments of these Latter and Perillous Days, touching Matters of the Church. Biggest publication project to date at 2300 pages. This woodcut comes from an early edition. Pictured here is William Tyndale, just before being burnt at the stake, as he cries out "Lord, open the King of England's eyes."

8 The New England Primer (1683-1830)

9 Hornbook These were made with a paddle-shaped piece of wood with paper over it and thing strips of horn over that to protect the paper. These were very durable learning materials

10 Battledore Used by children when printing got cheaper. Circa 1700

11 Early Books

12 The First Children’s Picture Book (1659) Orbis Sensualium Pictus (A bilingual Latin-English picture dictionary “a nomenclature of all chief things that are in the world.” This is just one page)

13 John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (1678) A Christian allegory still popular today, often rewritten in easier to understand versions for modern children and adults.

14 Gulliver’s Travels (1719)

15 Robinson Crusoe (1726)

16 John Locke (1632-1704) British Philosopher & Educational Thinker Some Thoughts Concerning Education, 1693 The mind of a child is a blank slate. “Tabula Rasa.” People are born without innate ideas. This is a huge difference from other ideas at the time, such as that people are born sinful. (Augustin). People are NOT born with a certain logic (Cartesian). Children need to learn how to become rational people in order to be good adults in a well-ordered community. Children need to learn to resist their natural impulses in favor or reason. Curb natural desire. Be gentle and patient with children so they can learn and get in the habit of using reason.

17 Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) French Philosopher & Educational Thinker Emile: or, On Education, (1762) A direct challenge to Locke’s ideas. It’s most important to developing the pupil’s character and moral sense. Society corrupts. Children learn best by figuring things out for themselves – naturally. Natural Man. “The Noble Savage.” Primitive people are more pure. Child are more pure. Robinson Crusoe is the best book for children, provides the best model.

18 John Newberry (1713-1767) Sometimes thought of as the first publisher of children's books. A business man who saw a new market. Remembered for his publishing, not his writing. Sees children as a valuable market Knows middle class parents want to raise their children well.

19 A Little Pretty Pocket-book. (1744) John Newberry’s first big publishing success for children. These were packaged with a ball for boys and a pincushion for girls.

20 Little Goody Two Shoes (1778) John Newberry’s most popular book

21 William Blake (1757-1827) Songs of innocence (1789) Child is symbolic of the best of humanity. Children come from heaven The child in you needs to cherished Children have a certain kind of wisdom based on purity or innocence. Childhood is an ideal time. Leaving childhood is sad. It’s something to be longed for. Also William Wordsworth



24 Victorian Age

25 Heinrich Hoffmann Struwwelpeter (1845 in German English edition 1848) click here to find the whole book on line. click here to find the whole book on line.




29 Beginning of the 20 th Century

30 Working kids, circa 1920

31 After WWII

32 Randolph Caldecott

33 Wanda Gag’s Millions of Cats The first American Picture Book?

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