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p. 1Introduction: what is children's literature?locked

  • Kimberley Reynolds


Outside academia, the term ‘children's literature’ has a largely unproblematic, everyday meaning. From newspapers and other media to schools and in government documents, it is understood to refer to the materials written to be read by children and young people, published by children's publishers, and stocked and shelved in the children's and/or young adult (YA) sections of libraries and bookshops. Occasionally, questions are asked about whether something is suitable for a juvenile audience, a question usually provoked by concern about content – is it too sexually explicit? Too frightening? Too morally ambiguous? Sometimes questions of suitability reflect concerns about style – will grammatically incorrect or colloquial language or writing that includes swearing or abusive language or experimental writing counteract lessons taught in school or instil bad habits? More recently, as large numbers of adults have been reading books that were originally published as children's literature (the ...

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