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ENGL 40135— Children's Literature (Kiberd)

Children's Literature Library Guide

In this guide you will find information on the children's literature collection at the Hesburgh Library (which is primarily an Irish collection), on literary criticism and how to find it, and links to other collections and resources that you can use.

Finding Books

In addition to the Hesburgh Libraries, Notre Dame students may borrow books from St. Mary's College. Students at Notre Dame may also become members of St. Joseph County Public Library, and once they are members, may request books from that catalog to be delivered to the Hesburgh Library.

For more information, please see the section on Partner Libraries in the Borrow, Renew, and Request page.

Special Collections

The Hesburgh Library's Irish Fiction Collection includes children's literature from the past two centuries. Books range from Maria Edgeworth's nineteenth-century stories to contemporary novels, and include picture books, graphic novels and literature for all ages.

Most of the Irish Fiction Collection is in the Rare Books and Special Collections. These books may be read in the RBSC Reading Room.  To identify books, search the library catalog using the search phrases "Irish Fiction Collection" and "Children's literature".

While children's literature has not been collected systematically outside Irish Studies. we have beautiful and interesting editions of classics such as Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

This illustration from 'Thumbelina' is from an edition of Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales illustrated by Harry Clarke.


Literary Criticism

The following are good places to begin a search for literary criticism:


Use the Library homepage and Reference Desk for general assistance with research. For specific help with children's literature research, contact the following librarians:

Daniel Johnson, Librarian for English Literature and Digital Humanities

Aedin Clements, Librarian for Irish Studies

Breac Children's Literature Edition

A recent issue of Breac is on children's literature. This issue, published online in 2016, includes articles on literary criticism, on picture books, on children's literature in Irish, and many other topics. For students interested in picture books, I recommend 'Painting the Town Red: The challenging city in picture books" by Valerie Coghlan.

Cool Online Sources

Children's Literature and Childhood

This is available through Nineteenth Century Collections Online. It includes sources related to childhood as well as literature for children. 

Online Exhibits and Collections

Children's Literature: Digitized children's books at the Library of Congress.

Cotsen Children's Library: Virtual exhibitions on the website of Princeton University's Cotsen Children's Library.

Pictiúr. Catalog of an exhibition of contemporary children's book illustrators held in Ireland, curated by Niamh Sharkey (2013).