May 15, 2019 2019-05-15
The Library of Congress has launched an online collection of 67 historically significant children’s books published more than 100 years ago. Drawn from the Library’s collection, Children’s Book Selections are digital versions both of classic works still read by children today and of lesser-known treasures. From Humpty Dumpty to Little Red Riding Hood, the books in this collection were published in the United States and England before 1924, are no longer under copyright, and are free to read and share. Highlights of the collection include examples of the work of American illustrators such as W. W. Denslow, Peter Newell, and Howard Pyle, as well as works by renowned English illustrators Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane, and Kate Greenaway. The selections, which span many generations and topics, reflect three central themes: Learning to Read—materials produced to teach American children to read (ABC books, primers, and a wooden hornbook); Reading to Learn—materials that support classroom instruction in subjects such as mathematics, classical mythology, natural science, and the structure and function of the US government; and Reading for Fun—materials to nourish the imagination (fiction, poetry, fairy tales, and toy books). These selections and related materials are presented as part of the record of the past. They are historical documents that reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times, and may prompt objections today.