You can now even go back in history, to as early as 1744, with the oldest book in the digital collection. "A Little Pretty Pocket-Book" is often considered to be the first book written specifically for children and you can now read it online for free!
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Children's Book Week, you can now read over 70 rare children’s books that are over a century old, in the comfort of your own home. This is all thanks to The Library of Congress that has now digitized classic children's books and you can now get your hands on it for free, reports Bustle.
NEW ONLINE: In celebration of the 100th anniversary of #ChildrensBookWeek, today the Library of Congress launched a unique online collection of 67 historically significant children’s books published more than 100 years ago. https://t.co/aDo89jMo9s— Library of Congress (@librarycongress) April 29, 2019
For readers like me, this is indeed a dream come true! The new collection of classic books include The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter and a first-edition copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.
"This special collection presents children’s books selected from the General and Rare Book Collections at the Library of Congress. The collection includes classic works that are still read by children today and lesser-known treasures drawn from the Library’s extensive collection of historically significant children’s books," the description on the collection's "About" page read.
And the best part is you can now even go back in history, to as early as 1744, with the oldest book in the digital collection. "A Little Pretty Pocket Book" is often considered to be the first book written specifically for children and you can now read the book online for free! It was originally published in 1744 by John Newbery, who is often touted as the pioneer of children's literature. The Library of Congress’ edition was printed in 1787.
Although the books are nearly centuries old, some of you might be aware of a lot of classics offered by the library. The books that you might recognize are the Potter and Baum tales, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, and Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving. The collection also comes with quite a few familiar characters and book titles, including Aesop, Hans Christian Andersen, Humpty Dumpty, and Mother Goose.
The library website goes on to describe the collection: “The books in this collection were published in the United States and England before 1924, are no longer under copyright, and free to read, share, and reuse however you’d like. These selections and related materials are presented as part of the record of the past. They are historical documents which reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times."
In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the @LibraryCongress has made available online 1,000 Chinese rare books some date as far back as the 10th century. It includes manuscripts, hand-painted pictures, ancient maps and more! #APAHMhttps://t.co/jGjtKlQCn2 pic.twitter.com/QUi9ib1OhO— Carla Hayden (@LibnOfCongress) May 6, 2019
“Highlights of the collection include examples of the work of American illustrators such as W.W. Denslow, Peter Newell, and Howard Pyle, as well as works by renowned English illustrators Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane, and Kate Greenaway,” it added.
The first Children’s Book Week came to existence in 1919 and it has been ongoing ever since. Although back then, there were very few American children’s books being released on an annual basis, the numbers have significantly gone up. Earlier, the cost of printing such books with colored illustrations was very expensive as compared to printing them in black and white.
Check out the complete collection of "Children's Book Selections" on the Library of Congress' website, and let us know the books you'd like to read!