Is Aesop’s Fables a children’s book? Certainly many of the fables have become part of our culture and offer moral guidance for young people, which is why many children’s editions have been published since the original Aesop came out in 1484.
This question is raised at the start of Kimberley Reynolds book, one of the latest in OUP’s excellent Very Short Introduction series. Of course a short introduction to children’s literature needs to look back at the history of the genre, and there is a lot to learn there. Back in the 17th century, children’s literature was dominated by religious books encouraging children to lead godly lives. But crossover fiction (fiction read by both children and adults) soon had its influence, from Lewis Carroll and Charles Kingsley in the 19th century to Harry Potter today.
If you write for children, this will not only be a fascinating and a helpful read it will also help you see your own work in context.