Children's Literature
(this wiki is oringinally from my another wiki http://xiamenwriting.wikispaces.com/Children%27s+literature)


My sister-in-law is going to give birth to her baby. As to plan a bright further for my coming nephew or niece I am keen on children's literature recently. And I hope I can choose a good book for him or her.




Contents
1 Definition
2 Examples
3 Additional information
3.1 Edifying
3.2 Teach something
3.3 Vivid description
3.4 Interesting story
4 Further development and different opinions
5 References
6 Extra information

Definition

Children's literature is a kind of literature designed for children and teenagers, aging from 10 years old to 18 years old which is the maximal age of being a child under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It requires straightaway and lively description. According to readers of different age stages, children's literature can be divided into baby literature, youth literature and teenager literature. Based on different writing types, it can also be divided in fairy tales, children's song, fable, children's fiction, children's prose, children's theatre, children's movie and television, etc. Though it is designed for children and teenagers it is also suitable for people of different ages.

Examples


One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Harry Potter, Pinocchio
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Additional information (Features of Children’s Literature)

Edifying

Since born we have started our lifelong journey of learning, first learning from the outside word by instinctive imitation and then pursuing knowledge with self-consciousness. The first step of exploration alone is always begun by reading children’s books so it is important for parents to know how to choose a good children's book for their darlings. Children’s literature first should be edifying. It should tell children what should be done and what should not. For example, the book Pinocchio tells children not to lie otherwise they might also have long noses and it also teaches them to love their parents, resist the temptation of playing all the time and study hard. In this respect, China’s children's literature also shares some common points. It tends to teach children to be moral, defend justice, be friendly and cooperate with others. Characters in China’s children's literature usually have positive personalities. Nevertheless, a foreign writer holds different opinions in various issues in the 1995 Children’s Literature Newsletter. The following is the recapitulation.
Characters are important in a children’s book. In a good book, they will be well developed with multifaceted personalities. It is important for children to acknowledge that there is no whole person in the world that individual has different aspects in character both good and bad. (http://www.childrenslit.com/childrenslit/th_goodbook.html)
I agree with her. Think about Wolf in the Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf,even though he, being a bad guy, always schemes for capturing the lovely and kindhearted sheep he loves his wife more than loving himself. This kind of character affords children an opportunity to stay in a relatively safe virtual society, learn how to deal with different people from the character and avoid being too naive.

Teach something

Children’s literature should convey a specific amount of knowledge and information. For children who are still in kindergarten the book should teach how to count and to recognize the usual objects in daily life such as desk, cat, girl, sun, etc. For elder ones otherwise it should be able to teach how to spell and write the names of those things. And with an adequate vocabulary children can set out to learn something harder when they get older. For instance they can start to read geographic books or the encyclopedia.

Vivid descriptions

As I have mentioned children in kindergarten will learn how to count, the count books should be available to provide good pedagogy which I suppose mainly refers to vivid descriptions. According to the foreign writer who I have mentioned above, good counting book clearly connects the numeral and the appropriate number of objects in a clear illustration. The numeral should be placed close to the objects, so that the association can be made clear between it and the number of objects. And it is better to use familiar objects, particularly with very young children. (http://www.childrenslit.com/childrenslit/th_goodbook.html)
For children’s books of other kinds personification is widely used for vivid descriptions. For example, animal characters in stories are often personified. I have read a story when I am an assistant in kindergarten. It is a story about a child donkey who wants to cross a river. Since it does not know whether the river is shallow enough for it to cross, it turns to a cow and an ant for help first respectively. The cow says the river is shallow while the ant says it is very deep. It does not know what to do until an adult deer tells him to try himself. This story actually conveys a truth that one will never know until he tries himself. Human beings love animals in their nature so, as far as I am concerned, it is easier for children to learn truth through a story with lovely animals, especially the ones which can talk like humans.
Besides as far as I know, descriptions or presentations of children's literature are more vivid now thanks to the advancement of technology. I have seen many books that dialogues inside are no longer read by oneself but be sounded as long as one flips a button.

Interesting story

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Professor Situ Xiuwei says children’s literature should aim at helping to seek for happiness and arouse interest to study. From my point of view, what she means may be that children’s literature should be easy and interesting to read. As to achieve this goal in my opinion children’s books should tell stories using something that children love. For example, the Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf is a hot movie now in China. To order to arouse children’s interest to read, stories can tell by using the images of the famous goat and wolf.

Further development and different opinions

Comparing children’s literature written by authors of different generations, it is clear that the definition of good children’s literature is various. There may be two reasons. First the organization for children’s literature writers is looser than it was in last century, which has weakened its authority of criticizing the quality of children's literature. Second it may attribute to the development of free market economy. At the end of last century it is clear that people are easier and freer to publish their works thanks to the implementation of the reform and opening-up policy. They have more money and the market and the society lose theri limitation on people's freedom to publish. Since then people’s opinions vary about what good children’s literature is. Some argue that good children’s literature should boast good description skills while others are proud of works that are recreational, catering to the needs of the public.
For instance, Harry Potter is a controversial book in China with some people considering it excellent while others regarding it as rubbish. Orthodox children’s literature writers think it is a kind of fast-food culture, relaxing and easy while lacking profundity. For some people it is not true because the rising of writers of generation after 90s have brought a cultural shock. Those writers hold totally different values with that of the older generation. They think that a good children's book should first be a hot sale. For me, opinions of both sides make sense so i consider they should not be put at absolutely contrary sides. I like children’s literature that meets the requirements of the older generation because it tends to be more beautiful with deliberate structure. At the same time I also like children’s literature that likes Harry Potter. Although the words are not very refined and beautiful but the imagination between the lines is fantastic. This may be the part that makes Harry Potter controversial. But I think that every human work has its value and imagination is good. What we need to do to is to come up with a way for children to learn to develop their own imagination after reading the book. To realize this goal I can see we still have a long way to go, for comparing to writing skills that are relatively material imagination is intangible and has no specific ways to develop.

References:

http://www.childrenslit.com/childrenslit/th_goodbook.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children's_literature
http://finance.sina.com.cn/roll/20031216/1124563179.shtml
http://www.childrenslit.com/

Extra information:

http://www.unm.edu/~lhendr/txtfiles/1a-z.txt
http://www.unm.edu/~lhendr/txtfiles/2a-z.txt
http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/professional-development/childlit/ChildrenLit/index.html