‘Come to the Farm’ and ‘William the Dragon’: sharing stories from our Children’s Collection

What better way to celebrate May being National Share-a-Story Month and 15 May being the International Day of Families – than a chance to look at some of the highlights of our Children’s Collection!  The theme of 2015’s National Share-a-Story Month is dragons!

William the Dragon (1972)

William the Dragon (1972) [CHILDREN’S COLLECTION 823.9 DON]

Our Children’s Collection currently comprises over 6,000 books and journals written for children. Most are 19th and early 20th century English works with around 900 pre-1851 titles. There are good collections of Mrs Hofland and Mrs Sherwood, G.A. Henty, unbroken runs of Aunt Judy’s magazine and the Monthly packet.

The collection originated in the 1950s in a gift of early 19th century children’s books from Sir Frank and Lady Stenton. It was established by the University Library as a separate special collection with the addition of miscellaneous children’s books distributed throughout the University Library in the 1960s. Donations remained a significant factor in its early growth, and included a bequest from the author Elinor Brent Dyer.

The Children’s Collection has also been used during one of our Toddler Time sessions focusing on National Share-a-Story Month, as Karen Goulding from Reading’s Institute of Education describes here.

The collection is complemented by several other collections of children’s literature : the Crusoe Collection, the Wizard of Oz Collection and the Brock Collection. We also hold the archive of Ladybird books, alongside many hundreds of printed editions.

From Shopping with Mother (copyright Ladybird Books)

From Shopping with Mother (copyright Ladybird Books)

Complementing our MERL Library collections, we also hold many titles which celebrate  farms and farming for children.  Included are titles ranging from an early nineteenth century book on farming and ‘rural economy’ for children to a twentieth century pop-up book of a Victorian farmhouse.  Come to the Farm (below) is featured in an exhibition of children’s books on farming which is soon to open here at Special Collections.

Come to the Farm


So why not share a story this month!

For more information, please contact: specialcollections@reading.ac.uk


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