Children's literature (also called juvenile literature) consists of the stories (including in books) and poems which are enjoyed by or targeted primarily at children. Modern children's literature is classified in different ways, including by genre or the intended age of the reader. Children's literature has its roots in the stories and songs that adults told their children before publishing existed, as part of the wider oral tradition. Because of this it can be difficult to track the development of early stories. Even since widespread printing, many classic tales were originally created for adults and have been adapted for a younger audience. Although originally children's literature was often a re-writing of other forms, since the 1400s there has been much literature aimed specifically at children, often with a moral or religious message. To some extent the nature of children's fiction, and the divide between older children's and adult fiction became blurred as time went by and tales appealing to both adult and child had substantial commercial success. There is no single, widely accepted definition of children's literature. It can be broadly defined as anything that children read, but a more useful definition may be fiction, poetry, and drama intended for and used by children and young people, a list to which many add non-fiction. Nancy Anderson of the College of Education at the University of South Florida defines children's literature as all books written for children, "excluding works such as comic books, joke books, cartoon books, and nonfiction works that are not intended to be read from front to back, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference material". Classifying children's literature is equally confusing. As the International Companion Encyclopedia Of Children's Literature says, "The boundaries of genre... are not fixed but blurred." Sometimes no agreement can be reached even on whether a given work is best categorized as adult or children's literature, and many books are marketed for both adults and children. J. K. Rowling's series about Harry Potter was written and marketed for children, but it was so popular among children and adults that The New York Times created a separate bestseller list for children's books to list them. When people think of children's literature they probably mean books, or at least print. But narratives existed before printing, and the roots of some best-known children's tales go back to storytellers of old.Seth Lerer, in the opening of Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter, says "This book presents a history of what children have heard and read... The history I write of is a history of reception". Classification
Children's literature can be divided a number ways. Two useful divisions are genre and intended age of the reader. By genre
A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by technique, tone, content, or length. Anderson lists six categories of children's literature, with some significant subgenres: * Picture books, including concept books (teaching an alphabet or counting for example), pattern books, and wordless books. * Traditional literature, including folktales, which convey the legends, customs, superstitions, and beliefs of people in past times. This genre can be further broken down into myths, fables, legends, and fairy tales. * Fiction, including fantasy, realistic fiction, and historical fiction. * Non-fiction.
* Biography and autobiography.
* Poetry and verse.
By age category
The criteria for these divisions are vague and books near a borderline may be classified either way. Books for younger children tend to be written in very simple language, use large print, and have many illustrations. Books for older children use increasingly complex language, normal print, and fewer, if any, illustrations. * Picture...