Literature for children and youth

Article

August 14, 2022

Literature for children, literature for children and youth (LPDM), or children's literature, is a part of literature intended for children and young readers, which by its arrangement and content of books contributes to the reader's mental, ethical and aesthetic education and is adapted to them. It has two main branches - literature for children (roughly 6-12 years old) and literature for young people or teenagers (12-18 years old), between which there is a noticeable divide in terms of form and subject matter. A distinction is made between intentional children's literature, which is written for a child reader on purpose, and non-intentional children's literature, which was originally written for adults but is read by children today (e.g. J. Verne, the Brothers Grimm, H. Ch. Andersen, J Swift, D. Defoe, W. Scott, K. May, in Czech literature - B. Němcová, K. J. Erben). The opposite process can also take place - for example, Jirásk's Old Tales of the Czech Republic, originally intended for children, was also very popular among adults. The influence of literature on a child is irreplaceable. In a child, listening to read stories and later reading them himself awakens imagination, a feeling for language, and the vocabulary expands. It is a means of non-violently educating a child and forcing him to think. At the same time, the child inculcates aesthetic and above all moral principles and values.

Breakdown by age

3-6 years (preschool age) - fairy tales, coloring books, nursery rhymes, riddles, stories (preferably with animals). 6-11 years (younger school age) - fairy tales, stories from children's lives, stories from nature, adventure texts, rhythmic verses. 11-15 years (school age) - adventure literature (westerns, Indian women), encyclopedias, girls' novels.

History of Children's Literature in the Czech Lands

Until Romanticism, children read selected works of literature for adults, or drew on folk literature. Pre-romantic and romantic interest in folk literature was the impetus for the creation of children's literature. The first collections of fairy tales were written for adults, they were supposed to capture and communicate the values ​​of folk literature. Children's literature appears in the Czech environment for the first time in the 14th century, when Tomáš Štítný from Štítné wrote Colloquial Languages, intended primarily for children. Until the 18th century, children's literature was limited to the solitary works of individual creators and had a rather academic character, to this type belongs the Orbis pictus of Jan Ámos Comenius. This changed with the introduction of compulsory school attendance, which required the creation of textbooks, encyclopedias for children and publishing moral tales and so-called adaptations – for children of simplified texts, translated mainly from German, but also from other languages ​​(one of them is a children's Robinson Crusoe). Jan Amos Komenský created the first pictorial publication for children - Orbis pictus (The World in Pictures). It is a multilingual (Czech-German-Latin) picture dictionary. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it tries to reach children in a form that corresponds to their possibilities, which was very unusual at the time. Karel Alois Vinařický and František Doucha are considered to be the founders of children's literature in today's sense of the word.

Censorship of literature for children and youth

Due to the educational function of this type of literature, works for children and young people are often subject to censorship. During the period of the communist dictatorship, motifs that were considered inappropriate could be deleted (for example, the death of Jan Karafiát at the Broučki)[source?]. After 1989, direct references to communist realities or facts that contradict ideas of political correctness or current views on child development disappear from some editions of older works. The most famous cases are adaptations in the books of Bohumil Říha Honzíkova cesta or Little Bobši of Josef Věromír Pleva. Children's Literature Research a