Special Collections Department
WORLD OF THE CHILD
Two Hundred Years of Children's Books
February 17 - June 12, 1998.
With the rise of Puritanism in England early in the seventeenth century and the establishment of the colonies in North America by the Pilgrims soon after, literature for children turned strongly moralistic. Seeing children as amoral savages needing to be taught right from wrong, society used stories filled with death and damnation to frighten children into good behavior. Humor and imagination were banned, replaced by stories of boys and girls who suffered grisly fates for misbehaving. The Sunday School Movement of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, which aimed at bringing religion to the working class, continued the didactic tone in the thousands of cheap tracts of simple stories distributed throughout England and the United States.
The eighteenth century saw the translation into English of the classic fairy tales such as "Cinderella" and "Little Red Riding Hood" and the beginnings of the English novel with Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver's Travels. While these may not have been written specifically for a young audience, the stories of romance and adventure appealed to readers of all ages, both in their original forms and in the many illustrated and simplified editions that followed.
The Victorian era was a golden age for childrens' books. It was the time of classic books -- Alice in Wonderland, Tom Sawyer, and Little Women--and great illustrators-- Kate Greenaway, Edward Lear, and Howard Pyle to mention a few. Books and games for children became plentiful and inexpensive. The twentieth century continued a thriving publishing industry for young people with adventure stories, series books like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, science fiction and fantasy. Recent years have brought books tied to movies and commercial products from Disney to Star Wars as well as the psychologically-oriented young adult novel.
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
from our extensive holdings related to printing and the books arts. This is Tairei Paper HPSE 019.
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