Important Milestones in the History of Children's Literature

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Important Milestones in the History of Children’s Literature

Key milestones in the history of children’s literature:
The Classical World
The Renaissance
The Seventeenth Century
The Victorians: The Golden Age
Children’s Literature from around the world
Children’s literature has its roots in the age-old tradition of story-telling. “For thousands of years children have enjoyed the pleasures of language and story – and these pleasures are the essence of children’s literature” (Russell, 2009, pg. 3). The annals of history bear witness to the growth of children’s literature. In fact, it would be correct to say that events in history itself have impacted and shaped literature for children. The Classical World

This important milestone encompassed the period between “500 BCE and 400 CE” (Russell, 2009, pg. 4), when the Greek and Roman civilizations flourished. It has been referred to as “the birthplace of Western culture” (Russell, 2009, pg. 4). Works of Homer, numerous tales of gods, goddesses and demons and Aesop’s fables are just a few of the stories that enthrall the minds of children and inspire authors even today. References to these stories abound our lives. “We speak of Achilles’ heels, Herculean tasks, the Midas touch” (Russell, 2009, pg. 4) to name a few. These stories and fables are an indisputable part of children’s literature and are considered “indispensable to any well-rounded education” (Russell, 2009, pg.4).

The Renaissance
The period around the 1400’s saw “a rebirth of the ideals of ancient Greece and Rome—their art, literature, philosophy, and especially their respect for learning” (Russell, 2009 pg. 5). But what makes it noteworthy was the invention of the movable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg. Prior to this, books were written and painstakingly copied by hand. The ability to print numerous copies made it “possible to spread information quickly, and this opened the door to mass education” (Russell, 2009, pg.6)....
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