What is Children's Literature?

It may seem strange to think that there is some question as to what constitutes a children's book for many after all this would seem like a question with an obvious answer. A children's book was after all created for children. However Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain one of the books considered to be classical children's literature was originally intended for adults and as indeed received some past censorship because of how interpret it was considered for children. The Grimm's fairy tales also where written initially for adults, yet they where bought for children. This situation of children taking over what was supposed to be an book for adults has led to many problems. After all society then complains that the story was not appropriate for children, and so attacks to book. Further the book not being appropriate for children perhaps does cause some social problems. Yet we still seem to consider many such books as children's literature.

Why is it books written for adults become children's books? Or at least books read by children. Although it is perhaps impossible to state all the reasons for this situation, I would forward three theories on ways in which this can occur.

The first reason is that a book offers a fantastic reality, an imaginative story, children like such stories and so for whatever reason it is presumed that such imaginativeness is in the realm of children's literature. This could for example be the case with Gulliver's Travels and of course the Grimm's Fairy Tales. In many ways I would argue it's sad that if a story is fun and imaginative it is automatically pushed off into the realm of children. Not that children's literature is lesser, indeed this imaginativeness has helped in many ways to make it superior to that created for adults. Rather it is sad that adults do not presume that such creative genius is worth more of their time.

Another reason which a book might become children's literature is that it is about a child, for some reason a child character makes people automatically assume a child should read it, as if they are the only ones who can relate to a child. This is a ridiculous notion of course, we where all children and besides of which all such books where written by intelligent adults.