Since its inception children’s literature has served two purposes – to entertain and to educate. In 1484 William Caxton, the first printer in Britain, published Aesop's Fables, a selection of stories each with a moral lesson. Around the same time 'hornbooks' were popular. These were single sheets of paper which taught children the alphabet and a prayer, typically the Lord's Prayer. Books of the following two centuries, such as John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, were meant to edify the children of Puritan parents. Children's literature has come a long way in the last 500 years!
How much did you read during your childhood, and how much of what you read can you recall? For instance, can you remember the name of the station porter in The Railway Children or the surname of Roald Dahl's Matilda? Have a go at this, the first of four quizzes on the vast topic of children’s literature.