The Darker Side of Children's Literature

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Come CloserCoinciding with the launch of a new database of children's books and accompanying exhibition,  Timothy Young (Yale University) delivered a lecture at Dublin City Library & Archive on 28 September 2015 entitled 'Happy Deaths and Urban Dangers: The Darker Side of Children's Literature'.

Young is curator of the Betsy Beinecke Shirley Collection of American Children's Literature, Yale University.


Listen to a recording of the lecture:

About the NCCB Database

A two year project by the National Collection of Children’s Books (NCCB) project has seen the development of a new online catalogue ( detailing over 250,000 children’s books in over 90 languages from five libraries in Dublin, including the Dublin City Library & Archive in Pearse Street.  The catalogue also lists books from the following libraries: Trinity College Library; the Church of Ireland College of Education Library; the National Library of Ireland; and Cregan Library, St Patrick's College, Drumcondra (DCU).

Access the NCCB catalogue.

About the Included Dublin City Library & Archive Material

Children's Books Collection

There are 779 books in the Children's Book Collection held at the Dublin City Library & Archive in Pearse Street, Dublin 2. The material within the Children's Book Collection does not come from one single source. Some of the material originally formed part of the Dix Collection (donated to the city by the Irish bibliographer E. R. McClintock Dix and containing some 700 books and pamphlets), while more of the material was moved from the Gilbert Collection. The remainder of the items were donated or acquired by Dublin City Public Libraries since its establishment.

More about the Book and Manuscript Collections housed in the Dublin City Library & Archive.

Chapbook Collection

The Chapbook Collection contains 108 texts. Most are fictional works, though some are textbooks. A considerable number are Kildare Place Society 'Library books'.

Schoolbook Collection

The Schoolbook Collection has been assembled over the last 25 years following an appeal for donations through the public library network. There are 1,334 individual items in the collection, which includes both primary and second level textbooks, almost exclusively Irish published. Over 1,000 of the texts are English-language with 307 Irish language texts.

Read more about the Dublin City Library & Archive material included in the NCCB database.

About the Exhibition

'Come Closer: The Darker Side of Children’s Books', went on display in the Dublin City Library & Archive until 14 November 2015.  It offered a glimpse of some of the sophisticated and complex ways in which writers and illustrators of children’s texts have engaged with controversial subjects. The exhibition featured 40 children's books from the 17th century to the modern day which have dealt with controversial issues such as death, fear, sexuality, depression, and violence.

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