Literature has been part of society since pen met paper. It has recorded history, retold fables, and entertained adults for centuries. Literature intended for children, however, is a recent development. Though children’s literature is young, the texts can be separated into two categories by age. The exact splitting point is debatable, but as technology revolutionized in the mid-twentieth century is the dividing point between classic and contemporary. Today’s children’s literature is extraordinarily different from the classics that it evolved from, but yet as classic was transformed into modern, the literature kept many common features.
The construction of children’s literature was a gradual process. For a long period of time children’s books were frowned upon. The stories were said to be vulgar and frightening. Adults censored children’s ears to stories of daily life, tales with improbable endings were not to be heard. It was not until the mid 1800s that stories of fairies and princesses began to be recognized. Although children’s literature was accepted, the books were not available for all children. With limited access to education, few public libraries, and the books’ costs, these texts were only available to the middle and high- class. As public education and libraries grew so did the accessibility of books and their popularity. They no longer were considered offensive, but rather cherished and loved by many children. Children’s literature became orthodox and a revolution began, changing literature as it was known.
As children’s literature matured, so did the books. Illustrations were first made with woodcuts or on wood blocks that were colored by hand. By the late 1800s, printing had evolved and illustrations became more intricate, but nowhere near the precise picture quality today. Most illustrations were printed in black and white, although some were published in color. If in color, the pictures did not hold a spectrum of color, but only a few prime colors. In addition, many of the first books written for children contained no pictures whatsoever. The first interactive books with pull-out tabs and pop-ups and the first shaped books were created in the nineteenth century, but never took popularity until the twentieth century. As time progressed, so did children’s books (Children’s Literature…).
Illustrations capture the eyes of all, glistening from the books of today’s era. With technology and creativity, the images that cover pages are more immaculate than any classics. Interactive books are still in production, but are far more advance than just pop-ups, pull-tabs, and shaped pages. Books can sing, can appear to have motion, and can have fuzzy pages, anything is possible. Computerized books are the newest innovation, a book without pages. These books can be downloaded or read on electronic devices. Companies also produce electronic learning devices especially for children’s reading. Books with objectives to find hidden items on...