History of Picture Books

In The Beginning

The production of literature was limited to how it was published and only began to target the children's audience later in the 17th century.

15th Century

1400 - 1500

During the 15th century children learned to read using a hornbook. A hornbook is a little wooden paddle with printed text such as the alphabet, vowel's and the lord's prayer. Later in the 15th century children had moved on from the hornbook to the ABC book. In 1580 chap books where introduced.

17th Century

1600 - 1700

It was said that children's books began to target their audience in the 17th century.

As Time Went On

During these centuries, children's literature started of as books to teach children their behaviors and as time went on children's literature was published for them to enjoy.

18th Century

1700 - 1800

The earliest books published for children were mostly stories to teach children how to behave. In 1744 'A little pretty pocket book' was produce by John Newberry and it was solely for children to enjoy.

19th Century

1800 - 1900

In the 19th century the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, was published in 1865. Australia's earliest known children's book is called, A mother's offering to her children by Charlotte Barton (1841).


Children's literature has progressed over time and developed more details and more options for children to access their books such as online.

20th Century

1900 - 2000

In the 20th century, The Golden Books where introduced as well as The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter in 1902.

21st Century

2000 - 2100

In the 21st century children's picture books are not only in more detail with their text and pictures but now they also come available online and not just in hard copy.