Study Guide

Children's Literature Timeline

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How It All Went Down

1744: John Newbery publishes A Little Pretty Pocket-Book

Often considered to be the first modern children's book, A Little Pretty Pocket-Book was written exclusively for children. At the time, that was revolutionary. Weird, we know.

1761: The Foundling Hospital is founded in London

The establishment of this home for orphans was an indication that people were finally waking up to the fact that children needed special protection and had special rights. Um, duh?

1760-1840: The Industrial Revolution

As the demand for labor rose during the Industrial Revolution in Britain, more and more children were forced to work long hours under terrible conditions in factories.

1812: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm publish the Fairytales

The Brothers Grimm introduced us to Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and loads of other wonderful characters in this collection of folktales.

1833: Factory Act passed in Britain

Finally, the government gives in to pressure by social reformers to limit the number of hours that children can work in factories. Took 'em long enough.

1865: Lewis Carroll publishes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

This book became an overnight sensation when it was first published. It was rumored that even Queen Victoria, queen of Britain at the time, was a fan. (We're pretty sure Prince Harry is a fan of Shmoop, while we're on the topic.)

1950: C.S. Lewis publishes The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

Nearly a century later, Lewis' book is the biggest hit since Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

1957: Dr. Seuss publishes The Cat in the Hat.

Dr. Seuss revolutionized the way we read: no more Dick and Jane from Boringsville, USA. No, the Cat is in town now. Take a look at our guide to The Cat in the Hat for more on Seuss's revolutionary ways.

1964: Roald Dahl publishes Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

What kid wouldn't want to hang out with Willy Wonka and the Oompa-Loompas? That's one children's book that stood the test of time.

1997: J.K. Rowling publishes Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

With the publication of this book about a boy wizard, J.K. Rowling establishes herself as the new it-writer of children's literature.

2007: J.K. Rowling publishes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

It's the end of an era. By this point, it's not just kids lining up around the block to get their hands on a copy—adults are elbowing their way through, too.

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