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Kaua'i Community College Library

ENG257T : Introduction to Children's Literature

History of Children's Literature

The Origins and History of American Children’s Literature
Tunnell, Michael O., and James S. Jacobs. “The Origins and History of American Children’s Literature.” Reading Teacher, vol. 67, no. 2, Oct. 2013, pp. 80–86. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1002/TRTR.1201.

Books meant for young readers did not appear until scholars such as John Locke began to suggest a more modern concept of childhood. Though the eighteenth century saw the establishment and growth of children's book publishing, it was as late as the nineteenth century when children's literature truly came of age. This article traces the development of American children's literature from its early European roots to the rich and diverse literary offerings available to young readers in the twenty-first century. 

Timeline of Children's Literature
​from The Routledge Companion to Children’s Literature, p. 259–276 
Where does a timeline begin? Children’s literature could arguably go back to Sumeria, 4,000 years ago, according to Gillian Adams (2004). But Steven Mithen (2006) has tacitly pushed back this date a couple of million years earlier, arguing that lullabies originated with humankind’s upright stance, allowing mothers to soothe their children at a distance.