The history of children's literature



At first

1300 - 1400

Children learnt to read from hornbooks, a wooden paddle with parchment paper which often had the alphabet, vowels and the Lord’s Prayer on it.


Printing press

1400 - 1500

In 1450 came the development of the printing press and the renaissance for learning. It made books more readily available to lower and middle class families. Books were instructional tales to teach children how to behave.


Instructional teaching

1600 - 1800

During this time books were also confined to instructional teaching, and books were ment to save children's souls and not be for entertainment. At this time any entertainment came from adult books such as gullivers travels by Jonathan swift.


New era

1800 - 1900

In the beginning of this century books were designed for proper culture and social conduct however in 1744 when John Newberry printed "a little pretty pocket" a book designed to entertain and be enjoyable for children bought an exciting phase to the market of children's literature.



1900 - 2000

Technology improvements allowed for improved printing quality in the later parts of the 19th century. There was a rise in family, adventure and animal novels, children's magazines also made an impact in children's Australia in the 19th century writers would focusing real experiences and everyday life.


2000 - 2100

Children's literature at the beginning of the 20th century was child centered and respectful of the child. It also began with an all white world of books, until the end of the century where multicultural literature was firmly established in children's books. This era also saw a rise in children's book departments and expansions to school and public libraries. Books in this century were beautifully illustrated and well bound. They were for children to gain learning and enjoyment. Now in the 21st century we are experiencing the world of online technology and electronic books.