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The Historical Perspectives And Trends Of Children's Literature

1874 words - 7 pages

Since the 18th century children’s literature has been held responsible for bringing entertainment to children of all ages across the world. But, when you actually think about it, what is children’s literature? The term seems easy enough to define, it is literature intended for children, but what is the definition of literature? According to Charlotte Huck (2010), literature is an imaginative shaping of life and thought into the forms and structures of language. This, in my opinion, is an excellent definition to use due to the fact that children’s literature is constantly changing. From older literature, including songs and stories told orally, to more-modern themed children’s literature told from newer books and now even computers, it is easy to tell that the historical perspectives and trends of children’s literature continue to change throughout time.
Today, the most common way of storytelling is by reading the words out of a book. Many, many years ago, this was not the case due to the lack of publishing. Individuals took it upon themselves to tell stories orally instead. These stories were often called “folklore”, “folk literature”, or “mythology”. Many of these stories were believed to have been myths, or untrue. However, literary study shows that myths are not untrue, just stories with a generalized meaning that expresses truth about human beings (2010). Children were also told many religious stories and lessons. As written literature formed and the printing press was invented, these religious stories and lessons were the first to then be told through pictures put into bibles and lesson books to make it easier for the children to understand. For centuries oral tradition was just as popular as more-modern written tradition is now. Families and tribes would gather together in different places just to hear the stories of a popular storyteller. This is similar to how families gather now to spend time together, such as watching a television show together, conversing at the dinner table together, etc. These oral stories often had happy endings and were usually very humorous. As the years have gone on folk tales have become so popular they have also made their way into written literature. For example, older Disney princesses started out as an oral story written into a book and told to many little girls across the world. It is amazing to imagine that Belle, Snow White, and Rapunzel were once just stuck inside an author’s head, waiting to be come to life on a piece of paper. Due to different cultures/countries and advancing years many stories have been retold by other authors. This is just another example of how written children’s literature has transitioned throughout the centuries. The imagination that comes from these stories has carried on throughout the years as well. Tales that involve fantasy and magic have paved the way for books like the Harry Potter and Twilight series, which might not have been so popular had this genre not been...

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