April 29, 2019 Classic Works of Children's Books Published More Than 100 Years Ago Now Online at the Library of Congress

Celebrating the Centennial of Children’s Book Week

Press Contact: Benny Seda-Galarza (202) 707-8732
Public Contact: Lee Ann Potter (202) 707-8735
Website: Children’s Book Selections

William Wallace Denslow's Humpty Dumpty is now one of the classic works of children’s literature from the Library of Congress online collections.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week (April 29 to May 5), today the Library of Congress launched a unique online collection of 67 historically significant children’s books published more than 100 years ago. Drawn from the Library’s collection, Children’s Book Selections are digital versions both of classic works still read by children today and of lesser-known treasures. Additionally, today, DC-area children’s authors will be reading these books live at the Library and online at 10 a.m.

As part of the longest-running national festivity of books for young people, over 1,000 schools, libraries and bookstores will celebrate Children’s Book Week in all 50 states. In 1913, Children’s Book Week originated in the belief that children’s books and literacy are life-changers.

From Humpty Dumpty to Little Red Riding Hood, the books in this collection were published in the United States and England before 1924, are no longer under copyright, and are free to read and share.

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 is remarkable that when the first Children’s Book Week was celebrated, all of the books in the online collection we will be reading today already existed,” said Lee Ann Potter, director of the Learning and Innovation Office at the Library of Congress. “There is something powerful to me about how voices of the past and voices of today will be converging — because careful stewards insured that these books have survived, they all live together in the nation’s Library and new technologies are making them more widely available than ever.”

The selections span many generations and topics, and reflect three central themes: Learning to Read: Materials produced to teach American children to read: ABC books, primers and a wooden hornbook. Reading to Learn: Materials that support classroom instruction in subjects such as mathematics, classical mythology, natural science and the structure and function of the Unites States government. Reading for Fun: Materials to nourish the imagination: fiction, poetry, fairy tales and toy books.

To recognize and promote this new digital collection as well as Children’s Book Week, local children’s authors and literacy partners will be reading 20 books selected from the collection live in the Library’s Young Readers Center on April 29 between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. ET. The event is free and open to the public. It will be held in the Thomas Jefferson Building, room G29, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. 20540.

This event will also be livestreamed on the Library’s YouTube site (with captions) at YouTube.com/LibraryOfCongress.

This online collection reflects the advancement toward a goal in the Library’s new user-centered strategic plan: to enhance services, creating valuable experiences for every user to foster lifelong connections to the Library. Other recently announced strategic initiatives include the digitized Persian Manuscripts Collection and By the People, a digital transcription tool.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.


PR 19-044
ISSN 0731-3527