Belinda Hollyer

Once Upon A Time…

Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter


University of Chicago Press 385pp £15.50 order from our bookshop

Seth Lerer contends that the history of children’s literature is inseparable from the history of childhood – for children have always been ‘made’ through the texts and tales they hear, study and repeat. In this way, he suggests, learning to read is not only a lifetime experience: it is also a life-defining one. We are all formed in significant ways by our childish reading matter, and especially at those moments of transformational reading when particular books arrive in our lives just as we are exactly ready for them. Such moments chart the development of a literate imagination, and trace the ways in which children fall in love with books, and so find worlds within books and books within worlds.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,