The World of Children's & Youth Literature
The oldest and still popular children's books were the tales. Already created in the 16th century, but specifically edited for children in the 19th century, authors such as the Brothers Grimm, Giovanni Francesco Straparola or Charles Perrault developed stories around the theme: "Once upon a time...“ Even the work of 1658, "Orbis pictus sensualium" by the Czechs Johann Amos Comenius was a popular children's book up to the 19th century. In this book, the world of things and of life should be painted and named. This book was the model for many other books in which the real world should be acquainted with children.
Moralistic values shaped the world of children's books in the 18th and 19th centuries. They mostly kept hidden educational messages. A famous work with clearly identifiable educational messages from this period is the "Shock-headed Peter" by Heinrich Hoffmann. Moreover, Wilhelm Busch's satirical "Max and Moritz" stories were published at this time for example.
In the 20th century, oftentimes English-speaking authors delighted the children. The story of "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carrolis applies as one of the first books completely freed from moralistic spirits. In this tradition of stories that were inspired by children's thinking, the stories around "Winnie-the-Pooh" by A. A. Milne are worth mentioning. This witty connection of funny tale and poetry inspired many German poets such as Wilhelm Busch, Christian Morgenstern or Joachim Ringelnatz.
There are many several subordinate genres in children's literature. They are about comics like Mickey Mouse, Batman or Prince Valiant or about narrative literature such as the Harry Potter series. From children's detective stories, like “Die drei ???” over fantastic books such as Astrid Lindgren's world-renowned classic “Pippi Longstocking”. Children's books should always stimulate the imagination and the discovery spirit of the smallest and thus create eventually colourful worlds in order to find one´s way in a possibly harmonic world.
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