Monday, February 15, 2010

Cambridge Centre for Children's Literature

The University of Cambridge is opening a new Centre for Children's Literature. There are already other centres in the UK focusing on children's literature, but this one aims to study what children pick up from all forms of the written word, whether it be a book, a blog or a computer game.

illustration from The Vege-men's Revenge, Stella & Rose's Books

The Centre, headed by Professor Maria Nicolajeva, will be unique both because of the breadth of what it will study, and its desire to bridge the current divide between those who study texts from a literary point of view, and those who seem treat them more as a study in social science.

illustration from Rosine, Peakirk Books

Professor Nicolajeva said: "Everybody can remember a book or film from their childhood that played a role in shaping the way they understand the world around them. For children, these are often secret and sacred places that they can go to and we need to study them if we want to improve their education and development."

The Centre's current programme of teaching and research ranges from old favourites like Robert Louis Stephenson's Treasure Island to current authors such as J K Rowling and Philip Pullman.

Ibooknet has several children's literature specialists: Stella & Rose, Peakirk Books and March House Books all have wide general stocks. Charlotte Robinson at the Amwell Book Company stocks children's illustrated books, and Jane Badger pony books. Vanessa Robertson's Fidra Books publishes classic children's literature, and she also owns the Children's Bookshop in Edinburgh.

High Heels for Jennifer, from Jane Badger Books

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