Children’s literature – key elements

The definitions of children’s literature are varied and broad.  They do seem to have a common element: the literature  must be written in a way that children can read and understand.  While much of what we would classify as children’s literature is written with the intention of entertaining children, it is not necessarily a key element.  If children can read, understand and enjoy it, then it surely qualifies as children’s literature.  Obviously a lot of children’s literature is written specifically for children, is developmentally appropriate for children, and is intended to develop their understanding of the world.  And that’s good. But many children can also read and understand things not targeted at them and still benefit from it so a concise and definitive way of defining children’s literature does not seem particularly worthwhile.

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