The History of Childresn Literature Essay

1599 Words May 17th, 2014 7 Pages
The History of Children’s Literature
EDP1: Task 1
Janet Blake
Western Governors University

Children’s literature is defined many different ways. It can be simply defined as a book that a child reads, or as Kiefer defined it “as the imaginative shaping of life and thought into the forms and structures of language.” (Kiefer, 2010, p.5) Literature has been around for hundreds of years, although not in the form that we are used to seeing now. There have always been stories to be told for as long as one can remember.
Before the days of bound books and magazines, there were stories that were told by people in the village around the campfires, or the bards and traveling entertainers telling stories to the court in the castles. This form
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(Kiefer, 2010, p.66)
In the Middle Ages, children were treated as an adult in the family. Children went out to work just as the parents did to help provide for the good of the family and to provide for the family’s needs, whether it was economically or material based. The prosperity of the family came first. Because of this, many children were unable to read and were not provided with a formal education. They were provided with the education that was needed to survive everyday life and the education of religious beliefs. Books at this time cost too much for the common family to own, and were very rare at this time in history. In 1476 William Claxton was credited with learning the printing trade and taking it back to England with him and setting up a printing press at Westminster. From there he published 106 books of various genres. The books were put together with excellence, but were very costly, because of this they were owned mainly by the wealthy. (Kiefer, 2010, p.69) It is visible at this point to see how valuable the printing press really was. Due to the high expense that books were in this time, many did not own books because they could not afford them. Others would trade their valuable land or property to own a single book.
The fifteenth through the sixteenth centuries brought more to children’s literature. Children made a progression from hornbooks, to ABC books and primers, to the small…