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Children's & Young Adult Literature

Guide for library and Internet research resources about children's and young adult literature.
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Article Databases

The following databases are excellent resources for find information about children's and young adult literature including their use in the classroom.

Education Full Text
(6/1983+) Covers education topics such as critical thinking, teaching methods, curriculum, comparative education, literacy standards, multicultural education, psychology, special education, counseling, teacher/parent relations, vocational education, etc.

ERIC (via Proquest)
(1966+) Premier U.S. database of education literature. Sponsored by the US Department of Education. Includes journal (EJ) and ERIC Document (ED) citations with abstracts; full text of ERIC Documents from 1993 to present.

A unique database which includes complete digitized backfiles of core scholarly journals, starting with the very first issues. Many of these journals date from the 1800s with over 4 million pages now available. JSTOR indexes over 100 Education journals, 211 Language & Literature journals, 24 Folklore journals, and 9 Library Science journals.
LISTA is a free resource intended for those interested in libraries and information management. This bibliographic database provides coverage on subjects such as librarianship, classification, cataloging, bibliometrics, online information retrieval, information management and more. Delivered via the EBSCOhost platform, LISTA indexes several hundred periodicals plus books, research reports, and proceedings. With coverage dating back to the mid-1960s, it is the oldest continuously produced database covering the field of information science.
Covers library & information science. Indexes articles, book reviews, books, collected works, conference proceedings, theses, & pamphlets. Covers automation,cataloging, censorship, copyright, information brokers, management, publishing, etc.

Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts
(1973+) Indexes literature on the nature & use of language. Covers linguistics (nature & structure of human speech); language (speech sounds, sentence & word structure, meaning, spelling, phonetics); and speech, language, & hearing pathology.
Designed specifically for high school libraries, this database contains full text for several hundred popular, high school magazines. MAS Ultra – School Edition also provides full text reference books and thousands of biographies, and primary source documents. Included is also an Image Collection of several hundred thousand photos, maps & flags, color PDFs and expanded full text backfiles (back to 1975) for key magazines.
Primary Search
Provides full text for popular magazines for elementary school research. All full text articles included in the database are assigned a reading level indicator (Lexiles).

Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost) (1975+ )
Covers a wide range of academic subjects. Indexes more than 8,200 journals (7,1000 are peer-reviewed) and directly supplies full-text articles for nearly 4,500 journals (including 3,700 peer-reviewed).
This database does includes magazines and newspapers so when looking for scholarly sources be sure to limit your results to peer-reviewed journals.

Sage Premier
Includes the full text of peer-reviewed journals published by SAGE and participating societies.


Search the ASU Library By Genre

To search for children's or young adult books by genre do a keyword search using the name of the genre and either 'children's or 'young adult'.

For example to locate a children's or young adult science fiction books do one of these keyword searches:

science fiction childrens

science fiction young adult


Subjects for Childrens & Young Adult Literature

Following are subject headings that can be searched to locate children's and young adult literature in the library catalog.  Often searching by keyword is as fruitful in locating titles and an easier search to perform.  The keyword "juvenile" can to added to any topic search to find books suitable for young people.  The subjects listed below are divided between those used to find titles FOR children and those used for finding books ABOUT children's and young adult literature.

To locate books FOR Children & Young Adults use these subjects:

Childrens Books
Children's Stories
This is used instead of juvenile fiction which is generally either a sub-heading under a topic [eg. Arizona-juvenile fiction] or it is used in conjunction with a topic [e.g. juvenile fiction horses]

Picture Books for Children

Children's Poetry

To locate books ABOUT Children's and Young Adult Literature use these subjects:

Children - Books and Reading

Children's Literature
This subject also locates some books for children

Teenagers - Books and Reading

Young Adult Fiction

Generally followed by a qualifier in the manner: Young Adult Fiction, American

Young Adult Literature

Juvenile Literature

This is similar to searching juvenile fiction; it cannot stand alone as a main subject in the same way the subjects above do; it must be combined with a topic  If you want to find all titles that are juvenile literature there are 2 options:  search juvenile literature as a keyword OR search it together as part of a topic. For example, if you want to find juvenile literature about a topic you can do a subject search like this: flags-juvenile literature or Africa-Juvenile Literature. Juvenile fiction or juvenile literature can be searched alone as keyword phrase but they are "monster" searches retrieving thousands of titles.  It is best to combine one of these phrases with a specific topic [e.g. families juvenile literature].


Genres in Children's & Young Adult Literature

A genre is a category of literature which is defined by the pattern or structure of a literary work. Each genre contains universal elements of form and content.  Generally there are two main sub-categories: fiction and non-fiction.

According to Galda, Cullinan & Swipe in their 2010 book, Literature and the Child the following constitute the genres in children's and young adult literature:

Genres in Children's and Young Adult Literature

Category: Brief Description:
Picture books 

Are considered a format and not a genre. They are a format in which art and text are interdependent.  All genres appear in picture books. 

Poetry and Verse Condensed language, expression of imaginative thoughts and perceptions, often containing rhythm and other devices of sound, imagery, and figurative language.
Folklore Traditional stories, myths, legends, nursery rhymes, and songs from the past.  Oral tradition with no known author, passed on from generation to generation.
Fantasy Stories set in places that do not exist, about people and creatures that could not exist or events that could not happen.  Make-believe and imaginative worlds.

Science Fiction

Based on extending physical laws and scientific principles to their logical outcomes, usually futuristic.  Describes worlds that are plausible and could exist someday.
Contemporary Realistic Fiction Stories could happen in the real world; characters seem real; contemporary setting.
Historical Fiction Stories reconstruct life in the past, using realistic actual and fictional characters, events and historical setting.
Biography An account of a person's life, or part of a life history by someone else or the person him or herself.  Includes, autobiographies, memoirs, letters, diaries, journals.
Nonfiction Informational books that explain a subject or concept using facts about the real world.

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