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Research Guides

Children's Literature: Books

Guide to beginning research in children's and young adult literature

UW Libraries Search


Advanced Search | FAQ | Known Issues

Tips for searching UW Libraries Search for Children's and YA Books

  • By Title - Type in the first few words of the book title in quotations.  For example: "mouse on a motorcycle"
  • By Author - Type in the last name followed by the first name of the author in quotations.  For example: "wilder laura ingalls"
  • By Topic - Type in keywords that broadly describe your topic.  For example: postmodernism AND "picture books"
    • To limit to books meant for children, add the phrase "juvenile fiction" (or, for non-fiction, "juvenile literature")
  • By Language - Search for the phrase "X language materials - juvenile" (including the quotation marks). For example: "Spanish language materials - juvenile". OR, Do a keyword search, then use the Refine My Results menu on the left to limit by language.
  • To limit your search results to books: After searching by keyword, click Books under Resource Type on the left-hand side of the results page. In Advanced Search, choose Books in the Materials Type drop-down menu.
  • To find juvenile literature throughout the UW Libraries, search for these subheadings as part of a keyword search:
    • “juvenile fiction”: finds fiction for ages 0-18
    • “juvenile literature”: finds nonfiction for ages 0-18 
    • “juvenile poetry”: finds poetry for ages 0-18
    • “juvenile drama”: finds drama for ages 0-18
  • A search for the phrases “young adult literature” and “children’s literature” as subheadings will more likely to find you books about those topics.
  • Use genre search terms  to identify children’s materials in different genres (E.g., Adventure stories; Alphabet books; Children's poetry; Stories without words; Stories in rhyme; Toy and movable books; Picture books for children).
  • Use the Advanced Search to limit your search to words in the title or subject, to items at a specific UW library, or by other criteria.
  • Getting too many results? Don't want to wait for interlibrary loan? After performing your initial search, choose "UW Libraries" in the drop-down menu at the top of the page and click "Search".



Tips for searching WorldCat for children's and YA books:

  • To search or juvenile literature in all the UW Libraries and in other libraries, use the Audience and Content limits, which can be applied either after you search, or beforehand using the Advanced Search.
    • The Audience limit will allow you to select only those items aimed at a juvenile audience
    • The Content limit will allow you to specify whether you're looking for fiction or non-fiction
  • Getting too many results? Don't want to wait for interlibrary loan? Try searching the UW Libraries Search beta and limiting your search to UW Libraries in the dropdown menu for items *only* in our system

Online Children's Books

Your local public libraries are often the best choice for large collections of contemporary children's books, including ebooks. The following sites present digitized collections of children's books in the public domain or licensed through broad copyright provisions.

Local Public Libraries

About Children's Literature at UW

The Children's Literature Collecting Guidelines describe the scope and focus of the Seattle campus children's literature collections.

Major collections of children’s literature at UW are located in:

Browsing for Children's Literature

Children's nonfiction is filed under the relevant Library of Congress designation, while the majority of the juvenile fiction (including picture books) falls under LC's PZ designation, which is used exclusively for children's literature.

PZ call numbers include:

PZ 5 : Collections
PZ 6 : Early to 1860/1870
PZ 7 : Genl. juvenile lit., 1870-2014
PZ 7.1 : Genl. juvenile lit., 2015-
PZ 7.5 : Novels in verse
PZ 7.7 : Graphic novels
PZ 8
: Fairy tales
PZ 8.1 : Folklore & legends
PZ 8.2 : Fables
PZ 8.3 : Nursery rhymes & Stories in rhyme
PZ 10.3 : Animal stories
PZ 10.4 - PZ 90 : Non-English languages

In addition to browsing the physical stacks, UW Libraries Search contains a browsing function. Choose By Library of Congress call numbers in the drop-down menu and enter a whole or partial call number to browse titles.