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Web Site of the Week: ABC books

Alphabet books have been used for centuries and are often one of the first texts that young children will encounter. ABC books is an online collection of 55 English language alphabet books published between 1805-1987. These books were collected from the Cotsen Children’s Library for a spring 2016 Princeton University class on children’s literature and are available for the public to browse. As the website notes, these books reveal more than changing aesthetic sensibilities; each book provides insight into past conceptions of childhood, morality, humor, and education. Many books are designed to teach moral lessons alongside literacy lessons, including Take Your Choice! (1822) and Anti-Slavery Alphabet (1947). Others are intended to be humorous and a surprising number center around apple pie. Some books, as the site notes, include offensive images, highlighting the way stereotypes and prejudice were modeled and taught to children through text. While many are centered around text and rhyming couplets, others are centered on illustration, providing a glimpse into how design in children’s books throughout the past two centuries has evolved. [MMB]

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2016.

http://scout.wisc.edu/

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