Children's literature

A guide to children's literature including resources at the State Library and elsewhere

1900s

To find instructional books for children search the Library catalogue. In the large Search box enter words like grammar OR mathematics OR education OR instruction OR biography OR environment or other non fiction terms and click Search. Scroll down the left hand column to refine your results. At SLV collection click Children's to see only children's books in your keyword search. To refine your search further scroll down to 'Creation date' and click the range you are interested in. In the middle of that search screen you can sort your result list by newest date first.

To make an electronic request for a selected item, click on the 'Request' tab and follow the prompts. Some items will be in our Rare Books Collection. To request rare children's books go to an Inquiry desk or phone 8664 7002 to have the rare book delivered to the Heritage Collection Reading Room at the next available delivery time.

Our holdings of Australian children's books are comprehensive. The book Bottersnikes and other lost things (2009) is based on the Library's Children's Literature Collection and the first chapter gives examples of well known and lesser known examples of Australian 20th century education books for children.

In Victoria the Education Department's School papers were compulsory reading for children until the 1930s when the Victorian readers became compulsory and the School Papers supplemented them. The three grades of School Papers were renamed in the late 1960s to become Meteor, Comet and Orbit reflecting the appeal of space race imagery.

The database AustLit indexes the contents of both editions of the Victorian readers and the Victorian School papers from the late 19th century to the end of 1930 and then across all grades for the single year of 1940.

Victorian readers

Victorian reader

The wonderland of science

Wonderland of science