It’s the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week and the Library of Congress is celebrating by offering a free online collection of rare children’s books that first published more than a hundred years ago
his 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 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.
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.
The selections span many generations and topics, and reflect three general themes:
- Learning to Read: Materials produced to teach American children to read: ABC books, primers, and a wooden hornbook.
- Reading to Learn: Materials supporting 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.