In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week (April 29 to May 5, 2019), the Library of Congress has launched a unique online collection of 67 historically significant children’s books published more than 100 years ago. Drawn from the Library’s collections, Children’s Book Selections are digital versions both of classic works still read by children today and of lesser-known treasures. Local authors and illustrators gathered to read these books live at the Library in a livestreamed program.
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.
The selections span many generations and topics, and reflect three central themes:
- Learning to Read: Materials produced to teach American children to read, such as 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 Unites States government.
- Reading for Fun: Materials to nourish the imagination–fiction, poetry, fairy tales and toy books.
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.