Children’s Literature

Research Methods


Grenby, M. O., and Kimberley Reynolds, eds. Children’s Literature Studies: A Research Handbook. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2011. 234 pp. PN1009.A1 808.068.

An introduction to methods of reseach in children’s literature, with sections devoted to basic research skills; archives, collections, and resources; visual texts; historical research; research and theory; and changing forms and formats. In each section separately authored essays or case studies address research tools for identifying primary and secondary sources, strategies for working with kinds of material, critical approaches, and challenges posed by literature for children. Much of the advice is sound and most of the case studies are instructive, but too many works essential to research in the field go unmentioned, such as Haviland, Children’s Literature: A Guide to Reference Sources (U5440); Watson, Cambridge Guide to Children’s Books in English (U5450); Hendrickson, Children’s Literature: A Guide to the Criticism (U5480); and Children’s Literature Abstracts (U5490). Review: Suzanne Brierley, Children’s Literature in Education 43.2 (2012): 184–86.

Guides to Reference Works


Haviland, Virginia. Children’s Literature: A Guide to Reference Sources. Washington: Lib. of Congress, 1966. 341 pp. Haviland and Margaret N. Coughlan. First Supplement. 1972. 316 pp. Second Supplement. 1977. 413 pp. (Although some reference guides cite a Third Supplement [1982], no such supplement was ever published.) Z1037.A1 H35 016.8098′928′2.

A guide to reference works and general studies (including dissertations) through 1974 that are important to the study of children’s literature. Although the work is international in scope, Haviland emphasizes British and North American literature. Entries are listed alphabetically by author, editor, or title in eight classified divisions: history and criticism, authorship (including sections on writing for children, individual authors, and biographical dictionaries), illustration (including studies of illustrators), bibliographies, books and children (including storytelling, folklore, nursery rhymes, poetry, and magazines; a section on pedagogy was added in the first supplement), libraries and children’s books, international studies, and national studies (with sections on Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America, South Africa, and Asia; ones for the Near East and Africa were added in the first supplement, and for French Canada in the second supplement). Concludes with a directory of associations and agencies. The full annotations are largely descriptive, although some offer evaluative comments. Indexed by persons and some titles. Haviland is now dated but remains the best guide to reference works and international scholarship through 1974.

For recent publications, see Rahn, Children’s Literature (U5485); Hendrickson, Children’s Literature (U5480); Margaret W. Denman-West, Children’s Literature: A Guide to Information Sources (Englewood: Libs. Unlimited, 1998; 187 pp.; Reference Sources in the Humanities Ser.), which focuses on works published 1985–97 but which must be consulted with an awareness that the evaluative comments—which typically read like blurbs—are usually too generous and frequently erroneous; John T. Gillespie, The Children’s and Young Adult Literature Handbook: A Research and Reference Guide (Westport: Libs. Unlimited–Greenwood, 2005; 393 pp.; Children’s and Young Adult Lit. Reference Ser.), which omits many essential reference works, is poorly organized, and lacks rigor in its evaluations; and the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G. A major desideratum remains a current, trustworthy guide to reference sources for the study of children’s literature.

See also

Beugnot and Moureaux, Manuel bibliographique des études littéraires (S4905).

Gohdes and Marovitz, Bibliographical Guide to the Study of the Literature of the U. S. A. (Q3180).

Histories and Surveys


Darton, F. J. Harvey. Children’s Books in England: Five Centuries of Social Life. Rev. Brian Alderson. 3rd ed. rpt. with corrections. London: British Lib.; New Castle: Oak Knoll, 1999. 398 pp. PR990.D3 011′.62.

A social history of literature written to entertain children. Ranging from the Middle Ages to c. 1901, the chapters on periods, major types of children’s literature, topics, publishers, and authors emphasize social, historical, literary, and commercial contexts. Each chapter concludes with an annotated list for further reading. While retaining Darton’s text as much as possible, the third edition makes numerous factual corrections and provides fuller documentation, additional illustrations, and supplementary appendixes, including one devoted to late nineteenth-century works. Concludes with a selected, annotated bibliography (which is updated in the 1999 reprint). Fully indexed by persons, subjects, and titles. The classic history of children’s literature in England before 1900, this is especially strong in its treatment of the eighteenth century. Reviews: Julia Briggs, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 26 Mar. 1982: 341–42; Andrea Immel, Library 7th ser. 1.4 (2000): 446–48.

Essays on the history of several forms of children’s literature (e.g., picture books, graphic novels, poetry) can be found in Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature, ed. Shelby A. Wolf, Karen Coats, Patricia Enciso, and Christine A. Jenkins (New York: Routledge–Taylor and Francis, 2011) 179–314.

See also

Literary History of Canada (R4565).

Tebbel, History of Book Publishing in the United States (U5260a).

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias


Watson, Victor, ed. The Cambridge Guide to Children’s Books in English. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001. 814 pp. Online through Gale Virtual Reference Library (I535) and through Credo Reference ( PR990.C36 820.9′9282′03.

An encyclopedia of authors, illustrators, and works published in English since pre-Norman times that have had significant influence, anywhere in the world, on young readers or that have “in some way influenced the production of children’s books.” Ranging well beyond what is thought of as “children’s literature” and the Books in the title, the signed entries include critics, technical terms, topics (e.g., movable books, child authors, and superheroes), drama, television series, comics, media texts, illustration techniques, awards, genres, organizations, folktales, fairy tales, periodicals, and genres. An appendix lists winners of selected literary prizes. Although ostensibly limited to works in English, there are entries for several Anglo-Saxon authors of Latin works (e.g., Ælfric and Aldhelm), whereas Beowulf only appears as a cross-reference. Impressive in its breadth of coverage and attention to the political, social, and commercial forces affecting what young persons read and view, Cambridge Guide to Children’s Books in English is now the standard desktop companion in its field.

It readily supplants Humphrey Carpenter and Mari Prichard, The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1984; 587 pp.), a dictionary of British and North American children’s literature, as well as foreign works important to the English-language tradition, through May 1983 (although coverage is less thorough for post-1945 publications and persons). The approximately 2,000 entries encompass works, authors, genres, critics, scholars, publishers, illustrators, organizations, characters, magazines, awards, fairy tales, folklore, and children’s literature in various languages and countries. Entrants are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). Entries are sometimes uneven, inaccurate, or conservative in their criticism, and there are notable omissions (especially for North American writers and works). Reviews: Brian Alderson, Library 6th ser. 8.2 (1986): 187–89; Hugh Brogan, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 4 May 1984: 505–06; Irving P. Cummings, Children’s Literature 14 (1986): 187–93.


Hahn, Daniel. Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2015. 663 pp. PN1008.5 809.'89282.

This is the second edition of a 1984 companion by Humphrey Carpenter and Mari Prichard (U5450a). Alphabetically arranged entries include updates of the original text as well as 900 new entries. Hahn truncated many of the original entries to make room for changes in the landscape of children’s literature over the past thirty years.

Entries run from roughly 50 to 1,500 words and are cross-referenced exhaustively (e.g., a twenty-nine-line entry can extend exponentially for a researcher who follows the cross-references). Yet there are the occasional, older, short entries that supply minimal information; in these cases, having access to both editions would be beneficial for ease of research.


International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature. Ed. Peter Hunt. 2nd ed. 2 vols. London: Routledge–Taylor and Francis, 2004. PN1008.5.I57 809′.89282′03.

A compendium of 112 separately authored essays on children’s literature worldwide. Organized in five parts—theoretical and critical approaches, forms and genres, contexts (a hodgepodge treating publishing, scholarly journals, censorship, television, film, research collections, and statements about the field by authors), applications (e.g., teaching, selecting books, and librarianship), and national surveys—that variously address the history or development of a topic, explain methodologies, survey the state of research, or illustrate applications; most conclude with a list of suggested readings. Although the essays inevitably vary in quality and accuracy (e.g., in “Bibliography,” M. O. Grenby erroneously asserts that there are “only two full-scale print-format bibliographies of children’s literature studies”) and, for historical reasons, many are anglocentric, International Companion Encyclopedia offers an important overview of the current state of the field of children’s literature.

A valuable complementary work is The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature, ed. Jack Zipes, 4 vols. (New York: Oxford UP, 2006; online through Oxford Reference [I530]). International in scope (but emphasizing the Anglo-American tradition from the Middle Ages to the present), its more than 3,200 signed entries cover forms, genres, regions, groups, terms, characters, periodicals, illustrators, and—predominantly—authors; many conclude with a selective bibliography. Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects. Review: Jan Susina, Marvels and Tales 22.2 (2008): 331–35.



Bingham, Jane, and Grayce Scholt. Fifteen Centuries of Children’s Literature: An Annotated Chronology of British and American Works in Historical Context. Westport: Greenwood, 1980. 540 pp. Z1037.A1 B582 [PN1009.A1] 028.52.

An annotated chronology of important or representative books written for or appropriated by children in Great Britain and the United States from 523 to 1945. The entries are organized in six periods, each of which is prefaced by a superficial and frequently inaccurate discussion of historical background, the development of books, and attitudes toward and treatment of children. English-language books are listed by date of publication; a foreign work is listed by the year it was introduced into Great Britain or the United States; works by a prolific or popular author are grouped under the year of his or her first important or popular publication (a practice that results in some lengthy, incomplete, and generally useless lists). A typical entry includes author, illustrator, translator, or editor; title; publisher or printer; annotation (with a brief description of content and list of other books by the person); and locations of copies in a limited number of collections. Three appendixes: a chronological list of American periodicals for children, 1789–1941; a chronological list of British periodicals for children, 1757–1941; an incomplete list of facsimiles and reprints of works cited in the chronology (which should have been incorporated into the individual entries). A selective bibliography of scholarship concludes the work. Two indexes: persons; titles. Marred by the uncritical inclusion of numerous works that hardly qualify as children’s literature, uneven annotations, incomplete publication information for several works, numerous factual errors, and the unfortunate practice of grouping works by an author under one year, Fifteen Centuries of Children’s Literature is useful for isolating only very broad trends (especially after 1800). Scholars still need an adequate chronology of children’s literature. Reviews: Brian Alderson, Phaedrus 8 (1981): 87–88; Irving P. Cummings, Children’s Literature 14 (1986): 187–93.

Bibliographies of Bibliographies


Ingles, Bibliography of Canadian Bibliographies (R4585).

Nilon, Bibliography of Bibliographies in American Literature (Q3225).

Guides to Primary Works

Guides to Collections


Special Collections in Children’s Literature. Ed. Dolores Blythe Jones. 3rd ed. Chicago: Amer. Lib. Assn., 1995. 235 pp. Z688.C47 S63 026.8088′99282.

A subject guide to collections of children’s literature in various media held by 419 public institutions in the United States, Canada, and forty other countries. Entries are divided into two parts: United States collections; international collections. Entries (organized alphabetically by state or country, then city, then name of institution) typically provide address information, contact person, details of cataloging or finding aids, and a description of holdings (usually fuller for United States collections). Since entries are based on responses to questionnaires, descriptions vary in accuracy and depth. Only the first part is indexed by subjects and persons (but the absurd decision to use National Union Catalog abbreviations for libraries makes locating entries unnecessarily time-consuming since one must either know a symbol or find it in a prefatory list); the concluding index of collections is more sensibly indexed by page number. Although the descriptions tend to be brief and the subject indexing is utterly inadequate, Jones offers the fullest guide to specialized collections of children’s literature. Coverage is supplemented by Karen Nelson Hoyle, “Libraries, Research Collections, and Museums,” pp. 722–30 in International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature (U5453) and “Archives and Special Collections Devoted to Children’s and Young Adult Literature,” pp. 386–92 in Handbook of Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature (U5445a). To identify other collections, see section E: Libraries and Library Catalogs/Research Libraries/Guides to Collections.



Fraser, James H., comp. Children’s Authors and Illustrators: A Guide to Manuscript Collections in United States Research Libraries. New York: Saur, 1980. 119 pp. Phaedrus Bibliog. Ser. 1. Z6611.L76 F73 [PN1009.A1] 028.52.

A guide to collections of manuscripts and original illustrations held in United States libraries and other institutions. Organized alphabetically by author or artist, the descriptions typically indicate the general kind and amount of manuscript material and describe the content of a collection. (Additions appear on p. 83.) There is a separate list of authors represented in the Kerlan Collection, University of Minnesota. Since they are based on reports from institutions, published descriptions, or entries in National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (F295), the entries vary considerably in detail and sophistication. (To understand the descriptions, users must become familiar with the explanation of terminology on p. x.) Concludes with a directory of institutions. Indexed by titles. Although Fraser is incomplete, cites collections of adult material for some writers, is based almost solely on reports or secondary sources, and emphasizes American writers, it at least offers an initial guide to the location of manuscripts and illustrations by children’s authors. It must be supplemented with National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections and other works listed under the heading “Manuscripts” in the various sections of this Guide.

See also

Sec. F: Guides to Manuscripts and Archives.

Printed Works

For an overview of bibliographies of primary works, see M. O. Grenby, “Bibliography,” pp. 202–21 in International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature (U5453).


Children’s Books in Print. Amenia: Grey House, 1969– . Annual. Z1037.A1 C482 028.52. Online through Books in Print (Q4225).

Author, title, illustrator, and subject indexes to currently available children’s books published or distributed in the United States. Produced from Books in Print (Q4225), Children’s Books in Print excludes textbooks, toy books, and workbooks but otherwise leaves the definition of “children’s book” to the publishers who supply information; the Books in Print database includes DVDs, e-books, videotapes, and audio books and offers access to reviews in selected library journals. In Books in Print users must check the header Children under Audience on the Advanced Search screen. Since entries are based on information supplied by publishers, some are incomplete or inaccurate, and names and titles are not standardized. Identifying books about a topic is much easier and faster in Books in Print than in the subject guide to Children’s Books in Print, which utilizes some broad or inexact headings. The print version also includes a directory of publishers. Although not exhaustive and lacking any explanation of the kinds of materials included or excluded, this work is the standard guide to children’s books currently for sale in the United States. Most entries for imaginative works through 1985 are incorporated into Fiction, Folklore, Fantasy, and Poetry for Children (U5475).


Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD). CLCD, n.d. 31 Dec. 2014. <>. Updated monthly.

A database that currently includes MARC records for about 2,000,000 “children’s books, video and audio recordings, and other children-focused media” and c. 365,000 reviews. The search screen allows users to limit keyword full-text searches by such fields as category (i.e., fiction or nonfiction), genre, illustrator, language, publisher, and date (and combinations of the preceding). The source of the MARC records is not specified (probably the Library of Congress); the database includes a substantial number of records for works that can hardly be classified as books for children (e.g., a search for Shakespeare returns hundreds of records for material not targeting children); many of the older records offer minimal details; there is no explanation of editorial principles and practices; there is no indication of the date when coverage of publications or reviews begins (c. 1900 and c. 1989, respectively, it seems). In short, Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database is an unsophisticated resource that relies heavily on automatic reproduction of cataloging records to populate its database and map searches; its chief value for literature researchers lies in its reproduction of reviews and ability to isolate works for children by subject, genre, illustrator, or prizes. Children’s literature scholars deserve a far more sophisticated resource.


Fiction, Folklore, Fantasy, and Poetry for Children, 1876–1985. 2 vols. New York: Bowker, 1986. Z1037.A2 F53 [PN1009.A1] 016.80806′8.

Author, title, and illustrator lists of editions and reprints of imaginative books for children published or distributed in the United States between 1876 and 1985. Incorporates records in the American Book Publishing Record (Q4110) and Children’s Books in Print (U5470) databases—as well as from other sources—with selection largely determined by Library of Congress classifications and subject tracings. The author and title indexes provide full entries that, when the information is available, cite author, editor, illustrator, title, series, pagination, size, publication date, grade level, edition, LC card number, ISBN, publisher, and selected list of awards. Details vary with changes in Library of Congress cataloging rules and are frequently incomplete for early works. Entries in the illustrator index cite title, author, publisher, date, and selected awards. A separate list of winners of 20 children’s books awards is also included. Although incomplete in its coverage and sometimes inaccurate (and subject to many of the same shortcomings as the cumulative American Book Publishing Record), Fiction, Folklore, Fantasy, and Poetry is the fullest single list of imaginative works for children published in the United States between 1876 and 1985.

Although limited to the “best” books (as determined by panels of librarians), the following are useful for their descriptive annotations and subject indexing of books for children as well as about children’s literature, all but a few of which are in print:

  • Children’s Core Collection. Ed. Anne Price. 20th ed. New York: Wilson, 2010. 2,318 pp. Core Collection Ser. (Annual supplements between editions.) Title varies. <>.

  • Middle and Junior High Core Collection. Ed. Price. 10th ed. New York: Wilson, 2009. 1,595 pp. Core Collection Ser. (Annual supplements between editions.) Title varies. <>.

  • Senior High Core Collection. Ed. Raymond W. Barber and Patrice Bartell. 18th ed. Ipswich: Wilson-EBSCO, 2011. 1,671 pp. Core Collection Ser. (Annual supplements between editions.) Title varies. <>.

Each work organizes nonfiction by Dewey Decimal Classification, followed by an author list of fiction, and then short story collections. An entry is accompanied by a description of contents or quotations from reviews. Indexed by authors, titles, and subjects. Earlier editions remain useful for their subject access to works subsequently dropped; several of these are included in the online versions. For the Core Collection Series selection policy, see See entry I512 for an evaluation of the EBSCO search interface, which all the Core Collection databases use.

See also

Cheung and Yogi, Asian American Literature (Q3940).

New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, vols. 2–4 (M1385).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism

Surveys of Research


Children’s Literature Research: International Resources and Exchange. München: Saur, 1991. 247 pp. PN1008.3.C45 809′.89282.

A series of reports, prepared for the first International Youth Library conference in 1988, that assess the state of research in more than 25 countries or geographic areas. The individual reports vary considerably in content, but many survey available reference tools, historical or critical studies, and current periodicals; describe current projects and research needs; note research centers; and conclude with a selective bibliography. Although the surveys are far from systematic and highly variable in the adequacy of their coverage, the collection is valuable for its international perspective.

Serial Bibliographies

Unfortunately, work on the CLIP (Children’s Literature in Periodicals) database sponsored by the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books has been suspended. For a description of the project, see Lena Törnqvist and Anne de Vries, “The CLIP Project; or, Coming of Age as a Discipline,” Bookbird 31.4 (1993): 20–23. Some journal articles and essays in edited collections published after 1998 can be identified through ELSA, the institute’s online catalog (


““Bibliography, [1982, 1987–97]”.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 8 (1983), 14–24 (1989–99). Title varies. PN1008.2.C48 809′.89282.

An annotated bibliography of studies of children’s and young adult literature that is primarily derived from Children’s Literature Abstracts (U5490). The entries are listed in 18 divisions (only a few of which are subdivided): authors and illustrators, awards, prizes, and organizations; bibliographies, reading lists, and reference works; canon, censorship, and stereotypes; collections, exhibitions, and libraries; critics and critical approaches; curriculum, instruction, and bibliotherapy; fantasy and science fiction; folklore, fable, fairy tale, myth, and storytelling; historical and sociological studies; illustration, design, comics, and picture books; media and theater; mimetic fiction and series; national and minority literatures and multiculturalism; nonfiction; periodicals; poetry; publishing and bookselling; and young adult. Indexed by critics. Although several entries are taken from other bibliographies, the majority are accompanied by descriptive annotations; unfortunately, however, the lack of a subject index—coupled with minimal cross-referencing and subclassification—renders the bibliography much less accessible than it should be. Once the most important serial bibliography in children’s literature, its coverage and annotations were scaled down so drastically with the bibliography for 1990 (17 [1992]) that researchers were far better served by Children’s Literature Abstracts.

See also

Secs. G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts and H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

ABELL (G340): English Literature/General/Literature for Children in volumes since that for 1975, and the Literature for Children section in period divisions since the volume for 1985.

Bibliographie der Buch- und Bibliotheksgeschichte (U5280).

MLAIB (G335): General IV/Children’s Literature in the volumes for 1976–80. In later volumes, researchers must consult the “Children—as Audience” or “Children’s Literature” headings in the subject index and “Children’s Literature” in the online thesaurus.

Victorian Database Online (M2490).

Other Bibliographies


Hendrickson, Linnea. Children’s Literature: A Guide to the Criticism. Boston: Hall, 1987. 664 pp. Reference Pub. in Lit. Z2014.5.H46 [PR990] 011′.62. <>.

An annotated bibliography of significant English-language books, articles, and dissertations (through the mid-1980s) on imaginative works written for or read by children. (The online version includes “a few corrections.”) Although the work is international in scope and covers some classics published before 1900, Hendrickson emphasizes twentieth-century works in English. The entries are organized alphabetically in two divisions: individual authors (with highly selective lists for those who are not principally children’s authors); subjects, themes, genres, and national literatures (along with a substantial section on critical theory). The brief descriptive annotations frequently do not offer clear outlines of content. Two indexes: critics; authors, subjects, and titles of children’s books. Hendrickson is wider in scope, fuller in coverage (especially of twentieth-century literature), and more current than Rahn, Children’s Literature (U5485). However, the principles governing the selection of both primary authors and scholarship are unclear; subject headings and the classification of entries are frequently imprecise; and there are numerous significant omissions. Hendrickson and Rahn should be used together (especially because of the latter’s superior annotations and coverage of older scholarship).

Although dated, Anne Pellowski, The World of Children’s Literature (New York: Bowker, 1968; 538 pp.), remains a useful complement to Hendrickson and Rahn, Children’s Literature, because of its annotations of foreign scholarship.


Rahn, Suzanne. Children’s Literature: An Annotated Bibliography of the History and Criticism. New York: Garland, 1981. 451 pp. Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 263. Z1037.R15 [PR990] 011′.62.

A selective bibliography of important English-language scholarship published through c. 1979 on imaginative works written expressly for children. Rahn excludes dissertations and theses, as well as studies of educational works and adult literature appropriated by children. The 1,328 entries are organized alphabetically in four divisions: discussions of the definition and aims of children’s literature, historical studies and annotated catalogs of collections (inadequately organized in sections for general histories and specialized ones), genres (extensively classified by type and including magazines), and important authors (with sections for individuals and for multiple-author studies and collections of essays). An appendix describes important scholarly journals. The full descriptive annotations usually include comments on the quality or importance of a work. Indexed by persons. The cross-references that conclude each section do not compensate for the lack of subject indexing and the imprecise classification system. Although selective and insufficiently precise and detailed in its classification of entries, Rahn is nevertheless valuable for its judicious annotations. It must be supplemented by Haviland, Children’s Literature (U5440), Hendrickson, Children’s Literature (U5480), and the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G. Review: Selma K. Richardson, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 9.1 (1984): 44–45.

See also

Boos, Bibliography of Women and Literature (U6600).

Greenwood Guide to American Popular Culture (U6295).

Haviland, Children’s Literature (U5440).

Lindfors, Black African Literature in English (R4425).

New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, vols. 2–4 (M1385).



Children’s Literature Abstracts. Austin: Intl. Federation of Lib. Assns., Children’s Libs. Sect., 1973–2001. Quarterly, with cumulative index and two supplements. Z1037.C5446 [PN1009.A1] 028.52.

An abstract service for scholarship on children’s literature. The international coverage extends to a wide range of journals and a few newspapers; beginning in late 1984, books and pamphlets are abstracted in two supplements each year. Entries are organized in classified divisions for authors and illustrators; awards, prizes, and organizations; bibliographies, reading lists, and reference works; canon, censorship, and stereotyping; collections, exhibitions, and libraries; critics and analytical approaches; curriculum, instruction, and bibliotherapy; environment; fantasy and science fiction; folklore, fable, fairy tale, myth, and storytelling; historical and cultural studies; illustration, design, picture books, and comics; media and theater; mimetic fiction, school stories, and historical novels; national and minority literatures; nonfiction; poetry; publishing, bookselling, and periodicals; and young adult literature. The English-language abstracts, prepared by a team of international contributors, tend to be brief but adequately descriptive. On the history of Children’s Literature Abstracts, see Gillian Adams, ““Halfway to the Future: Children’s Literature Abstracts ”,” Bookbird 31.4 (1993): 15–19. Although it is not comprehensive—especially in its coverage of books—its international scope makes Children’s Literature Abstracts the most important source for identifying studies of children’s literature. It should be used with the surveys in Phaedrus: An International Annual of Children’s Literature Research (1973–88), which are sometimes more comprehensive for individual countries.

With the demise of Children’s Literature Abstracts and of the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly “Bibliography” (U5478), researchers face a field with no adequate bibliographical control of its scholarship.

Review Indexes


Children’s Book Review Index. Detroit: Gale-Cengage, 1975– . Annual, with cumulation for 1965–84. Z1037.A1 C475 028.52. Online through Book Review Index (G415).

An author or editor list of reviews of children’s books (print and electronic) and book-related media that is cloned from Book Review Index (G415), which offers more current information on recent titles. Although it is restricted in its coverage of periodicals and does not distinguish between substantive reviews and brief descriptive notices, Children’s Book Review Index does index the important serials that regularly review books for children.

Biographical Dictionaries



Children’s Authors and Illustrators: An Index to Biographical Dictionaries. Ed. Joyce Nakamura. 5th ed. New York: Gale, 1995. 811 pp. Gale Biographical Index Ser. 2. Z1037.A1 N18 016.809.

An index to some 200,000 biographies of about 30,000 writers and illustrators of English-language children’s books (including translations) in approximately 650 standard biographical dictionaries, including several not confined to children’s literature. Each entrant is followed by a coded list of dictionaries that include entries about him or her. Cloned from Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565) and suffering from many of the same editorial shortcomings, Children’s Authors and Illustrators provides some additional entries and attempts to differentiate those of the same name and to cross-reference pseudonyms (but without eliminating duplicate entries). Although lacking an explanation of the criteria governing the selection of works indexed and not discriminating between substantial biographical discussions and brief entries, this work is a time-saving source for determining what dictionaries to consult for biographical information about children’s authors and illustrators.

Complemented by Writers for Young Adults: Biographies Master Index: An Index to Sources of Biographical Information about Novelists, Poets, Playwrights, Nonfiction Writers, Songwriters and Lyricists, Television and Screenwriters Who Are of Interest to High School Students and to Teachers, Librarians, and Researchers Interested in High School Reading Materials, ed. Joyce Nakamura, 3rd ed. (Detroit: Gale, 1989; 183 pp.; Gale Biographical Index Ser. 6). It indexes some 16,000 entries from about 600 dictionaries but suffers from a lack of clear focus and criteria governing selection of entrants.

Entries in these two indexes that also appear in Biography and Genealogy Master Index can be searched more efficiently through the online version of BGMI.

See also

Sec. J: Biographical Sources/Biographical Dictionaries/Indexes.

Biographical Dictionaries


St. James Guide to Children’s Writers. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. 5th ed. Detroit: St. James-Gale, 1999. 1,406 pp. St. James Guide to Writers Ser. PN1009.A1 T9 820.9′9282.

A biographical, bibliographical, and critical dictionary of established twentieth-century writers and illustrators of English-language literature for children. A typical entry consists of three parts: biographical information, including address or agent; a list of separately published works (including those for adults); a signed critical essay. Some entries also note the location of manuscript collections, list selected criticism, and print a comment by the entrant. Important nineteenth-century writers are grouped in an appendix. Concludes with a very selective list of foreign authors whose works have been translated into English. Indexed by titles of books for children; entrants are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). The brief critical commentaries vary considerably in quality, but St. James Guide to Children’s Writers is a useful source of basic biographical and bibliographical information about established children’s authors. The Dictionary of Literary Biography (J600) volumes on children’s literature are superior sources of information for those writers and illustrators in common.

See also

Sec. J: Biographical Sources/Biographical Dictionaries/General Biographical Dictionaries.

Dictionary of Literary Biography (J600).


Guides to Primary Works


Kelly, R. Gordon, ed. Children’s Periodicals of the United States. Westport: Greenwood, 1984. 591 pp. Hist. Guides to the World’s Periodicals and Newspapers. PN4878.C48 051′.088054.

A collection of separately authored profiles of about 100 representative American children’s periodicals from 1789 to 1980. Entries, listed alphabetically by title, typically provide an overview of contents and publishing history; a selected list of scholarship, indexing sources, and locations; and a record of title changes, frequency, publisher(s), place(s) of publication, and editor(s). The preface surveys the state of general scholarship on children’s periodicals. Three appendixes: title, chronological, and geographic lists of 423 American children’s periodicals. Indexed by persons, titles, and subjects. While the work is flawed—it lacks an adequate statement of criteria governing selection, is admittedly weak in coverage of religious publications, excludes foreign language periodicals, and is uneven in the quality of individual essays—it still offers some of the fullest discussions of children’s periodicals published in the United States.



Guides to Primary Works

Index to Children’s Poetry: A Title, Subject, Author, and First Line Index to Poetry in Collections for Children and Youth. Comp. John E. Brewton and Sara W. Brewton. New York: Wilson, 1942. 965 pp. First Supplement. 1957. 405 pp. Second Supplement. 1965. 451 pp. Index to Poetry for Children and Young People, 1964–1969. Comp. Brewton, Brewton, and G. Meredith Blackburn III. 1972. 574 pp. 1970–1975. Comp. J. E. Brewton, G. M. Blackburn, and Lorraine A. Blackburn. 1978. 472 pp. 1976–1981. 1984. 317 pp. 1982–1987. Comp. G. M. Blackburn. 1989. 408 pp. 1988–1992. Comp. G. M. Blackburn. 1994. 358 pp. 1993–1997. Comp. G. M. Blackburn. 1999. 461 pp. PN1023.B7 821.0016.

An author, title, subject, and first-line index to English-language poems and translations for readers through grade 12 and printed in single-author collections and anthologies published from the early twentieth century through 1997. Selection is by vote of a committee of consulting librarians and teachers. The title entries cite author or translator, variant titles, and first line when needed to differentiate poems with the same title; other entries are more abbreviated; all refer by code to a prefatory list of collections indexed. Although limited in scope, the Index is a convenient source for identifying children’s poems on a subject and locating texts.

Subject access to some additional poems is offered by Subject Index to Poetry for Children and Young People, comp. Violet Sell et al. (Chicago: Amer. Lib. Assn., 1957; 582 pp.); supplement, 1957–1975, comp. Dorothy B. Frizzell Smith and Eva L. Andrews (1977; 1,035 pp.).