chapter
5 Pages

Introduction

A recognizable literature for young readers is a relatively recent development within the fi eld of Irish literature and culture. Most Irish adults over the age of thirty-fi ve grew up reading books that were written and published primarily for British and American children and the majority of titles were for preadolescent readers. Older readers’ introduction to ‘Ireland’, in a literary sense, was frequently through the words of writers like John McGahern and Edna O’Brien and earlier authors such as James Joyce and Kate O’Brien. Books by these writers were often proscribed at a time when literary censorship, offi cial and unoffi cial, was the norm; consequently, they were passed from hand to hand around the schoolyard. Now, contemporary Irish children’s literature is established, the study of children’s literature is a growing academic discipline, and Irish writers and illustrators increasingly gain recognition within Ireland and internationally.