Monday, February 25, 2019

100 Years of Children's Literature

* * This post was originally created and formatted for & has been cross-posted.
See the original post, here.

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100 of Childrens Literature Challenge! Read one book from each year of publication starting with 1919 |

It feels like another lifetime now, but I had planned on being an elementary school teacher for most of my life. Did you know that about me? How and why that changed is another story entirely, but I will say that the education I received leading up to changing my mind was fun for me. No one likes getting up early for class and writing papers, but the subjects of my classes fascinated me. And one of my very favorites was a class studying children's literature.

Until that point, I'd never really thought much of it. I was obsessed with children's lit, unsurprisingly, as a child. And I'd already started building up a library for my future classrooms. But to really dig into the world of picture books, easy readers, and beginners' chapter books never really crossed my mind. I was completely oblivious to the incredible imagery and artistry to be tapped in the genre until I took that class, and it changed my view of children's lit forever.

Children's book stack

Since then, I've happily proclaimed that I prefer YA fiction over adult fiction. I've felt no guilt about amassing an impressive collection for my kids to read (or buying them every single book in a series they take an interest to). And I enjoy spending time with the sing-songy lyricism of the prose and the bright and gorgeous symbolism of the illustrations when I read the same books to my kids over and over again.

In short, children's literature lights me up.

Yet for the past ten years, my involvement with it has centered around my kids. Not shockingly - of course their introduction to literature is through the children's genre, and it's my job to share it with them. Over the years, though, I've been curious about certain books, authors or series for my own enjoyment. And the idea of watching it evolve as childhood itself evolves is so interesting to me.

some popular recent children's picture books

And with that thought, I decided that I really wanted to experience children's lit on my own and in my own way. I wanted to see it grow and change over the last century. I wanted to experience it from past to present, in all of its forms, in it's highs and lows, and it's lessons and silliness.

My goal is to read one book (by year of publication) from 1919 to 2019.

I've already made my picks for each year - it took a while! It's hard to find records for children's lit specifically. From the limited information out there, I wanted to pick a mixture of classics and never-heard-of titles spanning everything from picture books, to chapter books and middle grade. I wanted to take in a few titles from specific popular authors to get a feel for who they are or were. I wanted to read Cadlecott and Newbery winners and see for myself what made them so great. I wanted to revisit a few from my own childhood and experience some that I may have heard of but never read.

And oh my gosh, my list feels SO exciting!!!

Children's books from 1919 and 1920

I picked my 1919 and 1920 books from the library the other day and I'm juuust getting started. Here's the deal: there's gotta be some other children's literature lovers out there, right? I would love-love-love some buddies for this ride. It's cool if it's not your thing - I'm happy doing this on my own. I just thought if you'd ever been curious about children's lit and it's history also, you might care to join me.

You could read the same books as me, or pick some others (though I'll warn you, the farther back in history you get, the harder it is to find accurate records).

It's super simple, no-pressure-easy to join me.

100 of Childrens Literature Challenge! Read one book from each year of publication starting with 1919 | #100YearsofChildrensLit

1. Grab my PDF of the books I chose, sorted by year. Many years have an alternate title listed in case you can't find the first option or don't like the first option. (I plan to get the vast majority of mine from the library.)

2. Use or watch the hashtag #100yearsofchildrenslit, mostly on Instagram...perhaps some on twitter.

3. Finally, I created a separate mailing list for those of you that wish to receive update emails specific to this challenge. Sign up for that HERE, and in case you missed it or can't find it later, the welcome email will send you a copy of the PDF again.

And that's it! I'm so happy to be doing this, but I'm crossing my fingers pretty hard that some buddies join me along the way.

Happy Reading!!!

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