Children's literature

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

Educational books

Instructional books for children have the longest history of all categories of children's books. The electronic database Nineteenth Century Collections Online includes twelve children's literature and childhood collections. Click the link to this database here, go to View Online, enter your keywords. At any time you can select the Children's Literature and Childhood archive, click the button Explore Collections and you can scroll through the twelve collections including education and handicapped children, the history of education, and juvenile crime and detention.

This guide also helps you find instructional books for children held at the Library from the 1500s onwards. On the right hand side of this page click the specific century to find educational books for children from that period.

To find books about literary and educational theory, didacticism or pedagogy search the Library catalogue and enter keywords like didacticism OR pedagogy.

In the left hand column of the Results list you can refine your search by subject, creation date or collection or just limit to Online resources at the top of the list.

Try this article in the La Trobe Journal about early instructional books for young children, The ABC of horn books by Juliet O'Conor.


To find articles about educational children's books, teaching and literary theory you can use our databases in the Library or at home if you are a Victorian registered user.

Some electronic databases include:

Horn books


Horn Books

Image of facsimiles of horn books from History of the horn-book by Andrew W. Tuer (1896)