Whizz through the Wonderful World of Children’s Literature

IMAG1102Children’s Book Week may be coming to a close but there’s always time to dive into the world of children’s literature. Here at The Reader Organisation, we think that you’re never too old to enjoy a classic piece of children’s literature, and with titles including The Hunger Games trilogy and The Fault in our Stars breaking out of the young adult section into the bestsellers charts overall, age really is no barrier to finding a good book to get stuck into.

The world of literature aimed at children is an ever burgeoning one, with e-readers and the ability to download reading apps onto mobile phones and tablets meaning that young people have more opportunity to read however and wherever they want. However the latest figures from Publisher’s Weekly (February 2014) show that the majority of teenagers generally prefer to read in the classic print format, which is great news for book sales and libraries. In the US, young adult and picture books make up the two bestselling categories for 2013 – demonstrating the wide appeal and range of books coming under the category of children’s literature – and in fact the group that bought the most young adult titles were 18-29 year olds, with data showing that even as book buyers get older they still buy young adult titles for themselves to read as opposed to giving them as gifts for children or grandchildren.

Did you know…that a fifth of the £2.2billion spent on books each year in the UK is spent on children’s books, and around 10,000 new titles aimed at children are published in the UK every year?

Though unsurprisingly the Harry Potter series are thought to be the biggest selling children’s books of all time, the figures are hard to pin down – by 2011, 450 million copies had been sold worldwide but hundreds of other copies sell by the second – the official numbers put The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien at the top of the pile, with 100 million copies sold. The classic tale of Bilbo Baggins’ quest for a share of treasure guarded by a dragon has enchanted kids and adults alike, and was awarded the prize of ‘Best Juvenile Fiction’ by the New York Herald Tribune. The next two most popular on the list are The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, which shows the enduring power of classic books.

Some more fascinating facts about children’s literature…

  • The Mr Men books – a staple of childhood reading for many people – came to life when the son of author Roger Hargreaves asked him what a tickle looked like. Mr Tickle was the first book to be written, with another 48 titles following. The series has been translated into Mandarin, French, Spanish and Dutch amongst other languages.

  • Dr Seuss originally planned to spend a week or so writing The Cat in the Hat – it actually took a year and a half to complete.

  • Amongst the titles that have been banned in parts of America are Winnie the Pooh, Where The Wild Things Are and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the latter of which was said to portray a ‘poor philosophy of life’ to young people.

Michael_and_Lewis_reading_onlineIf you’d like to discover more about the world of children’s literature with expert knowledge from TRO, why not come along to our latest Short Course for Serious Readers which will take you on a Whizz-tour on the wonders that are to be found. Join us on Saturday 12th July at Calderstones Mansion House where we can point you in the direction of some of the best books to read with children just for the fun of it, ranging from brand new treasures to old favourites to rediscover.

Places on the course cost £30/£15 concessions, and we can offer a special 10% discount if you bring a friend who is new to our Short Courses. It’s the perfect way to get ready for The Secret Garden of Stories, our first Children’s Literature Festival this coming August.

To book your place, contact Literary Learning Coordinator Jenny Kelly on jenniferkelly@thereader.org.uk or call 0151 207 7207, or see our website for more information: http://www.thereader.org.uk/courses

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