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Children's Literature Guide

Find Articles

When searching for journal articles, an indexing and abstracting database is usually the best place to begin. Below are some recommended databases for research in Children's Literature. For other databases, check the Article Databases page of the library website.

Often the only source of secondary criticism for children's books, especially newer books, is reviews. The Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (listed below) offers an excellent starting point for locating reviews of post-1990 children's literature.


Key Resources

  • Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)
    The Children's Literature Comprehensive Database contains a listing of over 900,000 children's books. Full-text reviews from a wide range of Children's literature journals are included from 1993 onwards. Major international awards, honours, and prizes are listed as well.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Literature Criticism Online
    Provides Online access to the content of the following reference works on literature: Twentieth-century literary criticism, Nineteenth-century literature criticism, Literature criticism 1400-1800, Shakespeare criticism, Contemporary literary criticism, and Children's literature review.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
    ERIC is a "bibliographic database that contains education-related documents and journal articles." The EBSCO interface also provides some full text linking.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Modern Language Association (MLA) International Bibliography & Directory of Periodicals (EBSCO)
    MLA International Bibliography is a subject index for books, articles and websites published on modern languages, literature, folklore, film, literary theory and criticism, dramatic arts, as well as the historical aspects of printing and publishing. Listings on rhetoric and composition and the history, theory and practice of teaching language and literature are also included. Dating back to 1925, the database contains more than 2.7 million citations, over 6,000 journals and series, 1,200 book publishers and over 372,000 subject names and terms and adds over 66,000 records annually (May 2018).

    Coverage is international and includes titles and full-text links from online publishers including JSTOR, Project MUSE, Wiley-Blackwell and Taylor & Francis.

    The MLA Directory of Periodicals contains all information available on the journals and series on the bibliography's Master List of Periodicals.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Canadian Business and Current Affairs (CBCA) Reference (ProQuest)
    Please note: CBCA Reference is now searchable as part of the larger CBCA Complete collection. Canadian Business and Current Affairs (CBCA) Complete is the nation's largest and most comprehensive bibliographic full-text reference and current events database. Available through the ProQuest Web interface, CBCA Complete combines full text and indexed content from all four CBCA database subsets (Business, Current Events, Education, and Reference). Subject coverage is comprehensive and information is available from the broadest range of Canadian sources anywhere.
    NOTE: In certain instances ProQuest has decided to omit particular 'articles' from full-text access due to copyright restrictions or because the item has not met their criteria for being an 'article' (ie. too short, a letter, not attributed to an author, etc.).
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Canadian Periodicals Index Quarterly (CPI.Q)
    Indexes over 400 Canadian periodicals (English and French) with full-text and reports from 165 periodicals.
    Limited to single-user access.


Reference Sources

When researching a new topic it is often necessary to get an overview, explanations of unfamiliar terms, or brief factual information. The print and electronic resources listed below include selected reference materials (dictionaries, encyclopaedias, handbooks, guides, and standards) for the field of Children's Literature. To find additional reference materials, check the library catalogue or our Reference Materials database.

Key Resources

  • Literature Criticism Online
    Provides Online access to the content of the following reference works on literature: Twentieth-century literary criticism, Nineteenth-century literature criticism, Literature criticism 1400-1800, Shakespeare criticism, Contemporary literary criticism, and Children's literature review.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature [HIL-REF PN1008.5 .O94 2006 (4 vols.)]

    Contains brief entries on genres, issues and individual authors.

  • Continuum Encyclopedia of Children's Literature, The [HIL-REF PN1008.5 .C66 2001]

    This reprint from 2001 lists 97 topics and 1200 entries on authors and illustrators of literature for children and young adults around the world over a period of 150 years, mainly in the English language. Author and illustrator listings include date and place of birth and death, biographical information, critical considerations of their works, achievements, awards, and bibliographies. Indexed topics in the encyclopedia range from genres to books as films, Disney, censorship, specific awards, and young adult literature. Cullinan is a writer and editor, and Person is a children's librarian. Annotation #169;2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR ( Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Oxford Handbook of Children's Literature [HIL-REF PR990 .O94 2011]

    This reference book contains 26 articles by key scholars in the field of children's literature and that touch on key texts both historical and contemporary.

  • Canadian Children's Books: A Critical Guide to Authors and Illustrators [HIL-REF PS8081 .S75 2000]

    This book provides teachers, librarians, and other educators, parents and relatives, and students with a comprehensive and detailed examination of Canadian children's books. Each of the 133 entries on authors and illustrators presents factual and critical information along multiple dimensions. In addition to authors and illustrators of historical and contemporary importance in the English mainstream, creators of ethnic, Aboriginal, and French-Canadian origin also are included. There are representatives of regions--the North, the East, the West, and the rest between--and of all genres: retold folktales and myths, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, sports, wilderness adventure, animal epic, chapter books, picture books, poetry, stories for reluctant readers. Appendices list the winners of the major English-Canadian children's book awards and sources for further reading. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Keywords for Children's Literature [HIL-REF PN1009 .A1 K48 2011]

    Contains brief, signed articles on key concepts that are used frequently in the study of children's literature.

  • Children's Literature: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies [HIL-REF PN1009 .A1 C455 2006 (4 vols.)]

    Edited by Peter Hunt. A compedium of theoretical articles on key issues in children's literature.

Additional Resources

  • Critical Handbook of Children's Literature, A [HIL-REF PN1009 .A1 L84 2007]

    Contains chapters which describe and define the key elements that comprise children's literature such as plot, theme, and character.

  • Children's Books, Awards & Prizes: Includes Prizes and Awards for Young Adult Books [HIL-REF PN1009 .A1 C418 1996]

    Covers 213 awards and prizes in four sections: United States awards selected by adults; United States awards selected by young readers; Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and United Kingdom awards; and selected international and multinational awards. Entries contain the author, illustrator, title, and publisher of recipients from the time the award or prize was initiated through 1996. Classified lists of the awards appear at the front of the book and are followed with lists by award type. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Children's Literature, a Guide to the Criticism [HIL-REF PN1009 .A1 H46]

    Covering works as diverse as a historical survey of the alphabet book and an analysis of the young adult novels of Judy Blume, this annotated bibliography draws together significant articles, books, and disseratations of children's literature criticism. Compiled from a wide variety of popular and scholarly sources, Children's Literature provides a thorough and easy-to-use resource to this burgeoning field of study. Children's Literature categorizes and assesses the critical response to fiction, drama, poetry, and some nonfiction written for children between the ages of one and sixteen.

  • Children's Literature [HIL-REF PR 990 .H85 2001]

    An historical examination of the last two centuries of children's literature in English is followed by sections on 38 writers (from Louisa May Alcott and Lewis Carroll to J.K. Rowling); 32 major works or series; and 13 topics (including fantasy, colonialism, and literacy). The historical section is historicist--Hunt (English, Cardiff U.) is concerned with children's literature against the backdrop of its own time, as well as the times of subsequent audiences. Yet, Hunt remarks, children's literature often has a long shelf life which "can be seen as the result of deliberate acts of commercial conservatism." Entries on writers are critico- literary, not biographical; and entries on works are short, addressing some combination of critical history, literary history, and Hunt's own commentary. The many and short treatments make this a reference to consult on the way to more in-depth study. A many-faceted chronology is a valuable feature. Annotation copyrighted by Book News Inc., Portland, OR Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • International Companion Encyclopedia of Children's Literature [HIL-REF PN1008.5 .I57 1996]

    Eighty-six essays from around the world discuss various aspects of children's literature. Divided into five parts, they examine theory and critical approaches (definition, history, ideology, linguistics, styles); types and genres (from fairy tales and religious texts to science fiction and children's magazines); the context of children's literature (design, publishing, reviewing, censorship, prizes, translations, alternative media, libraries); applications (literacy, teaching, librarianship, bibliotherapy, publishing); and the development of children's literature in countries other than the US. Annotation copyright by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Something About the Author [HIL-REF PN497 .S66 vols. 1-6]
  • Cambridge Guide to Children's Books in English, The [HIL-REF PR990 .C36 2001]

    Alphabetised reference work on children's books from King Alfred to J. K. Rowling.

Find Books

To search for books at UNB Libraries, use the library's online catalogue, WorldCat.

If you don't  know the specific title or author you are looking for, you may need to use advanced search terms and strategies in your search. The most efficient way to find children's and young adult books is to search by location. Most of UNB Libraries children's books can be found in the following locations of Harriet Irving Library: HIL-JUV, HIL-EASY and HIL-CLC. To search by location, you need to use the WorldCat index term "b8."


farm and b8:HIL-EASY  (will return books with the keyword "farm" in the location of HIL-EASY (picturebooks and books for early readers)

violence and b8:HIL-JUV (will return books with the keyword "violence" in the location of HIL-JUV (fiction, poetry, folklore and non-fiction, etc)

fisheries and b8:HIL-CLC (will return books with the keyword "fisheries" in the location of HIL-CLC (the non-circulating Eileen Wallace Collection with a strength in Atlantic Canadian books for children)

If you need any assistance finding children's literature, please drop by the Research Help Desk, use the AskUs chat feature on the libraries' home page, or contact your subject librarian, Sue Fisher at


Search UNB WorldCat:
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Books and other materials not available at UNB may be available for loan from another institution through our document delivery service. See the document delivery page for electronic request forms and more details.

Bibliographies list publications that have been written about a particular subject, including books, journals, government publications, etc. Annotated bibliographies provide concise summaries of what has been published in a given area.

  • A to Zoo: Subject Access to Children's Picture Books
    HIL-REF PN1009 .A1 L537 2008
  • Beyond Picture Books: A Guide to First Readers
    HIL-REF PN1009 .A1 B375 1995
  • Best Books for Children: Preschool through
    Grade 6
    PN1009 .A1 G532 2006
  • Best Books for Young Adults
    HIL-STACKS PN1009 .A1 C34 2007
  • Fantasy Literature for Children and Young Adults: An Annotated Bibliography
    HIL-REF PN1009 .A1 L97 1995


Find Internet Sites

While there is a wealth of information freely available on the internet, not all sites are created equal. Careful evaluation is a critical part of doing research on the Internet. Below are some recommended sites:

Institutional Sites:


Children's Literature Scholars' Blogs and Websites


Citing Your Sources

Accurate, properly formatted footnotes, reading lists, and bibliographies are hallmarks of good academic research. Through citing, you acknowledge the source of any ideas you mention in your writing, document your research, and provide the information your readers need to track down your sources.

Numerous citation styles exist, and each specifies what elements are required (title, author, journal name, etc.) and how the citation should be formatted. The standard citation style for Children's Literature is MLA, but your instructor may require or recommend that you use another. Consult your course syllabus or check with your instructor to be sure of using the correct citation style for your assignment.

For more information on research and using/citing sources, see the following:


More Information More Information

Subject Specialties:
Children's Literature; Gender and Women's Studies