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Children's books

Many people tend to have the wrong idea about stories for children and children's books, which have been around for much longer than you think. For example – when do you think that the story about Robin Hood was written? Would it surprise you to learn that the original story was written by Thomas Malory some 560 years ago? Well, it was, and many stories such as this one have been around for far longer than we imagine. Another good example is Charles Perrault, a French writer who lived from 1628 to 1703. Perrault “invented” the fairy tale in the middle years of the 17th Century, and some of his more famous stories include the Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Puss in Boots, and Little Red Riding Hood. Three other famous authors who wrote children's books in the past were Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm – affectionately known as the Brothers Grimm, never as the Grimm brothers – and Hans Christian Andersen. All three were writers from the early part of the 19th Century, and were responsible for such titles as Snow White and Hansel and Gretel by the former, and The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor's New Clothes and The Little Mermaid by the latter.

Children's books have always been extremely important, and we parents will always remember the times we read bedtime stories to our toddlers as we tucked them into bed. Every so often a writer comes along who outshines all the others. Sixty or seventy years ago it was Enid Blyton and her Famous Five, and Beatrix Potter and her Peter Rabbit. Today the favourite author of many children (and some adults) has to be J. K. Rowling with her series of books about Harry Potter. Yes, this type of literature has been around for a long time, but it is much of the earlier literature that is set to be with us for many years to come.

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