Key elements for a definition of children’s literature:

From my readings it is clear that there is no one ultimate definition of ‘children’s literature’.

Focusing on meaning can take the joy out of 'reading'
Focusing on meaning can take the joy out of ‘reading’. Image: “Reading” by ThomasLife. Licenced under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0). Accessed 26 July, 2015.

However, I believe that any useful definition of children’s literature should include:

  • Some level of conversation between the author and the child reader about human existence, experiences and emotions, as suggested by Winch (2006).
  • A literature continuum that does not exclude children from reading literature that is seemingly too difficult, incomprehensible or inconsistent with current ideologies, especially considering the impact of rhyme and rhythm, symbolism and imagery as part of the whole experience of literature.
  • A wide variety of non-Western literature, including oral stories, images, songs and rich cultural reflections.


  • Winch, G. (2006). Literacy: Reading, writing and children’s literature (3rd ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press. pp.393-413.