A Brief Introduction to Children's Literature


What is children's literature? The category of children's literature is made up of all of the stories, books, and poems that have been created primarily for the enjoyment of children. Today's children's literature can be divided by the genre or by the age group of the readers it targets. Children's literature began really even before widespread publishing was invented. It existed as the collection of stories and songs that parents told their children generation after generation, and often, stories origins cannot be traced. Many early tales were originally intended for adults, but have now been adapted as children's literature, especially since the advent of mass printing.


And though much of children's literature has just been rewritten from other forms, starting in the 1400s, more literature was written specifically at the audience of children. A common theme of moral or religious messages is often found in these works. Also, as time progressed, there was a noticeably smaller gap in older children’s literature and adult fiction, and many books were written to appeal to the wider audience of both children and adults, much to the enjoyment of both the adults and children who read them.


Stories Are Us brings to life childrens audio stories, narrated in a fun, humorous, yet soothing tone.


A Brief Synopsis About the Authors


Amy Steedman

Amy Steedman:

Amy Steedman was a British author who wrote childrens literature, often about the lives of Saints and other religious subjects, and also about the great Italian artists and popular literature, such as the works of Charles Dickens.

She lived sometime around the early 1900s, and her books were very important as a means of education for both home schools and private schools, because there was no state-sponsored school system in Britain at the time.

Steedmans works include:

1. In God's Garden (1905)
2. Knights of Art: Stories of the Italian Painters (1907)
3. Stories from Arabian Knights (1907)
4. Nursery Tales Told to the Children (1908)
5. Legends and Stories of Italy (1909)
6. Stories of the Painters (1910)
7. Our Island Saints (1912)
8. The Madonna of the Goldfinch (1918)
9. The Nursery Book of Bible Stories (1920)
10. Wild Animals (1926)

Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

Carolyn Sherwin Bailey:

Born October 25th 1875, Hoosick Falls, New York, USA.

Died December 23rd 1961.

Born in Hoosick Falls, New York, on October 25, 1875, Carolyn Sherwin Bailey became known for her heroic stories of children, both boys and girls, who helped America grow into a great nation. She wrote on games and crafts from Americas past and on colonial life, and many of her books became bestsellers while she was still alive.

Most of Carolyns success as an author can be attributed to the rich home life in which she grew up. Her father, Charles Henry Bailey, was a metallurgist who travelled to work in the southern region of the United States, Canada, and the continent of South America. Her mother, Emma Francis Bailey, was a teacher and a writer, and was most likely the one that Carolyn took her writing skills from, although Emma and Charles spent time reading with young Carolyn and telling her stories. They both also avidly encouraged her creative effort.

At the young age of five, Carolyn won her first award for writing, a twenty-five dollar prize, in a œWrite Your Own Stories contest, for a story that she dictated to her mother, and she didnt stop there. She continued to write, and had her fiction and poetry published in The Youths Companion and St. Nicholas, by the age of nineteen.

Like her mother, though, Baileys was not only interested in writing. She also enjoyed teaching and social work. She graduated from the Teachers College Columbia in 1896, then went to the Montessori School in Rome, and later the New York School of Social Work. She began to discover her love of child psychology and kindergarten teaching.

She started her career as a kindergarten teacher in New York, but she soon moved on to writing and editing for several magazines. She worked for American Childhood as an editor from 1924-1935. During this time, Bailey began adapting adult stories for children and even writing some of her own.

Bailey was married to Eben Clayton Hill, a noted radiologist from Johns Hopkins University, in 1936. The couple resided in Temple, New Hampshire, which was where Hills family home and apple farm was located. Bailey spent the rest of her life here, and her writing evolved from mostly educational texts to more prose and fiction writing. She died a widow in Temple on December 23, 1961.

Some of the notable books written by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey are:

1. Boys and Girls of Colonial Days (1917)
2. Broad Stripes and Bright Stars (1919)
3. Hero Stories (1919)
4. Flint; the Story of a Trail (1922)
5. Friendly Tales (1923)
6. The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings (1945)
7. The Childrens Hour (1906)
8. Stories Children Want (1931)
9. The Wonderful Days (1932)
10. Lincoln Time Stories (1924)

Ethel Talbot

Ethel Talbot:

Born May 26th 1880 in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, England.

Died May 26th 1944.

Ethel Mary Talbot was an English childrens author, born in Sutton Coldfield, in 1880. She was best known for her girls school stories. Talbots parents, Hugh Talbot and his wife, Margaret Ellen Turrell, were both members of Englands Plymouth Brethren. She had at least eight sisters and one brother according to records. Throughout Talbots early years, her family moved several times, and little was recorded of her early life or education.

When she had grown and left home, she chose Edinburgh as her home, where she shared a house with author E.M. de Foubert, who was her friend and who also wrote girls school stories, from the two years between 1914 and 1916. Talbot lived and wrote in the Edinburg area before moving to London in the 1930s.

She, however, escaped the city during WWII and moved to Haywards Heath, where she remained until her death in 1944.

Ethel Mary Talbots books include:

1. Phoebe of the Faith
2. Natural History Story Book
3. At School With Morag
4. That Wild Australian Schoolgirl
5. Just the Girl for St Judes
6. The Half-and-Half Schoolgirl
7. Jeans Two Schools
8. The School at None-Go-By
9. Peggys Last Term
10. Two On An Island and Other Stories

Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen:

Born April 02nd 1805 in Odense, Denmark.

Died August 04th 1875.

Hans Christian Andersen was an accomplished writer, who brought many novels, poems and plays into the world of literature during his life. But his greatest contribution, and the one that he is best known for are his captivating fairy tales. Andersens very identity as an author was shaped by his imaginative, thought provoking stories, which have enlivened the nurseries and bedtimes of millions of children all around the world. .

Andersen, like so many other great minds and contributors to our world, was quite poor. His family worked hard and belonged to the lower class in Odense, Denmark. His father worked as a shoemaker, and his mother earned extra money washing the clothing of other families. However, Andersen was an only child, and his parents did everything they could to spoil him. They made him his own toys, which helped him to further his imagination.

As he grew, Hans became a rather awkward boy, with a tall, lanky body. He didnt care, though, he loved singing and dancing, and most of all, he loved using his imagination for his amusement and the amusement of others.

Unfortunately, Andersens father died when he was eleven. Hans left Odense three years later at the age of 14 to try to join the Royal Theatre as a stage artist. He was not accepted because he did not have the required references, but he was supported by a director of The Royal Theater, Jonan Collins, who helped him get a basic education.

Hans was never a good student, and surprisingly, his worst subjects were spelling and writing, which is probably why his famous writing was very simplistic and common sounding. Hans graduated from university in 1828 after 7 long, daunting years. But as a bright start to his career, his first poem, titled œThe Dying Child, was published a year before his graduation in The Copenhagen Post.

From that single poem, Andersens body of work grew. He wrote emotional tales of heartbreak and trials, which his characters would eventually overcome before living happily ever after. The world in Andersens stories was often portrayed as lonely and cruel, such as in his ever popular story œThe Ugly Duckling, in which an ugly little œduck survives ridicule and isolation to become a graceful, beautiful swan, who is loved and accepted by the other swans.

Some believe that the stories Andersen wrote may be partially biographical, since Hans himself started life as a poor, unattractive boy, and later became a famous, successful author. His stories
also have a common thread of his distrust of authority, which he acquired during his hard years living in Copenhagen. Andersens stories successfully combine a simple style of imaginative writing that is enjoyable to young readers, with more complex adult themes, which makes his writing suitable for all audiences.

By the time of his death on August 4, 1875, Hans Christian Andersen had become an acclaimed writer, who was considered by the Danish government to be a national treasure and was given a stipend to live off. In Copenhagen, where his skill first blossomed, a statue of Andersen was erected in Rosenborg Garden where it stands in his honor to this day.

Most of Andersens most famous fairy tales were written in the middle of his life between the years of 1835 and 1850.

These favorites include:

1. The Princess on the Pea (1835)
2. Thumbelina (1835)
3. The Steadfast Tin Soldier (1838)
4. The Snow Queen (1844)
5. The Darning Needle (1845)
6. The Little Match Girl (1845)
7. The Shirt Collar (1848)
8. The Ugly Duckling (1844)
9. The Emperors New Clothes (1837)
10. The Little Mermaid (1836)


James Baldwin

James Baldwin:

Born December 15th 1841 in Indiana, USA.

Died 1925.

James Baldwin was born on an isolated Quaker settlement in Hamilton County, Indiana, on December 15, 1841. The irony of this authors birthplace is that it was a small community where most people didnt own any books, except for the Bible, and most reading was regarded with much suspicion. However, James Baldwins father was a progressive freethinker, and he had amassed an impressive personal library in their home.

As soon as he could learn to read, Baldwin poured over his fathers books whenever he had the chance. His immense love for reading caused some criticism from within the community and made James feel as if he was somehow different from his friends and neighbours. Nonetheless, James quite loved his community and spoke of it very affectionately in his autobiographical story, In My Youth.
Like most children in his community, Baldwin was mostly self-educated.

He became interested in teaching and taught in many of the local Indiana schools starting in 1865. He founded a high school in Noblesville, Indiana in 1870, and organized an entire public school system in Huntington, Indiana.

He published his very first book called The Story of Siegfried, which was created for children and young adults, in 1882. Over the following years, he continued to write for this age group, while becoming the superintendent of the Rushville Public schools in 1883, joining the publishing house Harper and Brothers in 1887, and becoming an assistant editor of Harpers Periodicals in 1890. He continued at Harpers, which was later purchased by the American Book Company, as an editor, and finally the editor-in-chief, until his retirement in 1924.

One of his greatest contributions to education was that he had written or edited almost all of the grammar school books that were being used in the American school systems during the first decades of the 20th century. He is most well known for the historical sketches that he wrote for younger children and his legends of well known heroes that he wrote for older students.

Some of James Baldwins well-loved books include:

1. The Story of Roland (1883)
2. The Book Lover (1884)
3. The Greek Stories (1895)
4. The Story of Benjamin Franklin for Young Readers (1896)
5. The Baldwin Readers (1897)
6. Four Great Americans (1897)
7. A Story of the Golden Age (1902)
8. Robinson Crusoe Written Anew for Children (1905)
9. Fifty Famous People (1912)
10. The Story of Siegfried (1882)

The Wordsworth Editions


The Wordsworth Editions published a number of great classics.

These include:

1. The Great Gatsby
2. Wuthering Heights
3. Anna Karenina
4. The Good Soldier
5. Macbeth
6. Frankenstein
7. Jane Eyre
8. Great Expectations
9. The Picture of Dorian Gray
10. A Little Princess

                The Brothers Grimm

Jacob Grimm:

Born 04th January 1785, Hanau, Germany.

Died 20th September 1863


Wilhelm Grimm:

Born 24th February 1786, Hanau, Germany.

Died 16th December 1859

The Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, are best known for their popular book, Grimms Fairy Tales, but there is much more to their story than that. The brothers were born in Hanau, Germany, to a large family of nine children, only six of whom lived past infancy. Their father, Philipp Wilhelm Grimm, worked for the Prince of Hessen, during the six years between 1790 and 1796.

His employment ended with his death in 1796, and the brothers path took them in quite a different direction. They moved with their large family to a rather small, cramped, urban residence. Things only got worse for them, when their grandfather also died just two years later in 1798, leaving their poor mother, Dorothea Grimm, to take care of all of her children on her own.

Both brothers went to school at Friedrichs-Gymnasium in Kassel, Germany. They then attended the University of Marburg to study law. However, once there, they discovered a love of folklore through their professors. They began to avidly collect the stories and legends of folklore. They eventually amassed a collection of several dozen tales and published it after their graduation in the year 1810.

They then published their first volume of Childrens and Household Tales in 1812. This book included 86 German fairy tales, and the brothers included another 70 tales in their second volume in 1814. Between 1816 and 1818, they also published two volumes of German legends and their second edition of the Childrens Household Tales, which contained over 170 tales written for children.

Many of the Grimm Brothers fairy tales, as well as the story of the brothers themselves, have become popular, even in our modern world. Walt Disney revived many of the tales and animated them into such favorites as œSnow White, œCinderella, and œSleeping Beauty, to name a few. In 1962, a fictionalized version of the Grimm Brothers lives, called The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, was released. It won an Oscar for costume design in 1963. A more recent film, called The Brothers Grimm and starring Matt Damon and Heath Ledger as the Grimm Brothers, was released in 2005. Several other various films and TV shows about the brothers have been produced over the last 50 years, including cartoons and crime dramas that were based on the brothers or their collections of tales.

Though the Brothers Grimm seemed to be complete opposites in their personalities and natures, they were able to work together successfully to publish the tales that we know and love today.

They spent years of their lives researching folklore, collecting tales from common peasants, and rewriting the stories into engaging tales that have appealed to people of all ages for over 200 years. Each brother played an integral part in publishing the books. Jacob, the more intellectual brother, did most of the research for the books, while Wilhelm, the more creative one, rewrote the stories so that they could be enjoyed by children.

The brothers were much more than mere publishers of childrens books. They were true academics in the highest sense, linguists, and avid cultural researchers. Their contribution was so great in the area of German literacy, that they earned themselves a place on the 1000 Deutsche Mark note, which was used throughout Germany for decades before the introduction of the Euro.

The brothers died in Berlin. However, they live on to this day through their magical stories of princesses, princes, dwarfs, and witches. Their lives work, though undertaken as a serious study of folklore, has evolved into a form that anyone of any age can enjoy.

Stories by the Brothers Grimm includes:

1. Rapunzel (1812)
2. The Goose Girl (1815)
3. Sleeping Beauty (1812)
4. Hansel and Gretel (1812)
5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1812)
6. Cinderella (1812)
7. Little Red Riding Hood (1812)
8. Tom Thumb the Journeyman (1812)
9. The Lazy Spinner (1812)
10. The Fox and the Horse (1812)



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