« ElőzőTovább »
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF CHILDREN'S
The responsibility of encouraging and guiding children in their reading rests mainly with the schools and the public libraries. In an ideal state of society this task might, perhaps, be assumed by the parents. But in most homes the parents are
. too busy, or too indifferent, or too uninformed. Hence the appeal that is frequently made for lists of books suitable for children has been met by lists prepared by both librarians and teach
Such lists as have been made vary not only in size, but in the standards set and in the critical judgments displayed. That recent lists show an improvement in standards and in the appreciation of the tastes and interests of children is due, no doubt, to the same general causes as are other improvements in elementary education.
The list here offered is a direct response to numerous requests that have come from libraries and schools alike for a fuller guide to children's books than any known to the author. It includes many books too recent to be in some of the good lists already in existence, and a wider range of topics than is commonly found. Books of "information," though commonly treated with contempt by those who praise "mere literature," are none the less interesting and valuable to young readers, and are therefore included. Stories made up of the ordinary commonplace of children's lives, if told with life and spirit, have also been admitted. The standards of choice have been, the author ventures to believe, rather liberal and catholic than the reverse. He hopes that they have not, however, been so liberal as to make his list an unsafe guide. He has tried to exclude what is cheap and vulgar, what is over-sentimental, what is harmful in ideal. If he has failed at
any of these points, the failure may be charged to his taste; or, by the more charitable, to the impossibility of examining minutely the many hundreds of books that were submitted for examination.
The work grew directly out of the appointment of a Committee by the Dean of Teachers College to inquire into the existing books suitable for children of early years. The immediate interests of the Committee were with material adapted to the kindergarten and primary years; its immediate purpose was to prepare such a list for the use of teachers of these grades, both for the reading by the children and by the teacher to the children. But the plans of the Committee were soon expanded to include books for children as far advanced as the secondary school. Indeed, the limited amount of material, aside from folk-lore, suited to the primary years would have confined the Committee pretty nearly to the consideration of the folk-stuff. Its plans thus enlarged, the Committee proceeded to invite the leading publishers to coöperate in a loan exhibit of books for children. Their coöperation was for the most part prompt and hearty; and the books were exhibited in the spring of 1906 in the Museum of Teachers College. To a casual observer of this collection, including, as it did, not only the well-bound and illustrated “gift-books,” but also the "supplementary” books, so-called, made for schoolroom use, it was evident that there is no lack of reading in accessible form. The impression, indeed, was that there was rather too much, and that the problem had become not one of discovery but of discrimination.
To these impressions the present catalog owes its origin. It is an attempt to give a list of what is best, —or at least what is good, --in the abundance of books for children.
It is, of course, not limited to books written only for children. Many books like Robinson Crusoe and The Arabian Nights, though written for adults, have long been classics for children also.
The classification made in the list is full, and, as a matter of course, not exact or logical. For, in the first place, books of a general class do not obligingly arrange themselves along exact lines for the convenience of those who write about them; and, in the second place, a classification which answers the question, What is the book about? is the serviceable one for the general reader. In order to answer this question, many titles appear