Guide to the Childrens Literature Collection

Our collection of Children's Literature is an important resource of historical and contemporary childrens' literature.The main focus is on Australian literature written for children and young adults, from the earliest through to the most recent publications.

The collection consists of over 10,000 titles and was established for use by researchers, tertiary students, and the general public. It is a valuable resource for those interested in:

  • Children's and adolescent literature.
  • Literary and illustrative techniques.
  • Publishing trends.
  • The study of childhood, and the changes in society.

This highly visual collection is often used to create displays and exhibitions at The Place.

Highlights of the Collection

The collection has a focus on West Australian and Australian materials, including published imprints, historical children's magazines and annuals, and award-winning books of the Children's Book Council of Australia and the West Australian Young Reader's Book Awards.

There are many rare items in the collection, including:

Popular books such as John Mystery's The adventures of Pearl and Plain which was printed on poor quality paper during World War II, are also represented.

The annuals collection consists of historical English and Australian children's magazines, papers, annuals and comics. They reflect the reading habits of the time. The Australian boys' annual deals with stories of adventure, travel, and sport. Other titles, such as The Empire annual for girls include school life and historical stories, as well as more feminine practicalities.

An important new addition to the collection is the Pre-1890 Australian children's books microfiche package produced by the State Library of South Australia.

Original archival materials which reflect the creative process of writers, illustrators and editors are an important component. This includes draft manuscripts, correspondance between authors and editors, and original picture book sketches.

Original picture book artwork, from the Peter Williams Collection, features in regular exhibitions at The Place.

A reference collection consisting of reference serials and books about children's literature, bibliographies, abstracts and indexes, subject guides, and biographical source materials supports the main collection.

Access to the Collection

Most of this collection, including many rare and valuable items, is held in the stack area. You can request items to view in the library, although some of our rarer preservation copies can only be handled and viewed in the Reading Room on the 3rd Floor. Just ask a friendly staff member for assistance.

A selection of books are available to browse at The Place in the Family Reading Centre on the mezzanine level. These books are for babies to 12 year olds, and while they can't be borrowed, if you find a story that you and your child enjoy, make a note and borrow it from your local public library. Remember, it's free to join! 


We welcome donations of original materials relating to the publication process, such as manuscripts, illustrations, editorial correspondence, as well as books not already in the collection.

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Page last updated: Friday 25 March 2011

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