- Harriet Irving Library
- Science & Forestry Library
- Engineering Library
- Saint John Library
- Law Library
Welcome to Portolan: The Bibliography of Atlantic Canadian Children's Literature. Portolan has been under continuing development in the Eileen Wallace Children's Literature Collection for three years. It began as a simple research assignment. The Collection's Advisory Committee had decided several years ago to make works by and about Atlantic Canada a key focus of collection development. Because the Wallace Collection is the largest research collection of its kind in Atlantic Canada and because Atlantic Canada is under-represented in broader surveys of Canadian children's literature, it seemed only logical that the Wallace Collection situate itself as a centre for regional holdings and as a locus for research in this area.
In 2004, the Curator realized that although the collection now housed a broad array of Atlantic Canadian books for children, there was no easy way to identify and find these books among other collection materials. Some form of finding aid was in order. Collection staff began a makeshift bibliography intended mainly for internal purposes; the intent was to label the books themselves with some form of spine sticker. As we delved into the collection, however, we realized that the extent of the collection's holdings and those of the larger UNB library system were indeed significant. At that point the bibliography became an end in itself. Relying on what little research had been done in the area, we began to cobble together a picture of Atlantic Canadian children's literature.
The earliest work uncovered in our research, Miss Grove's Little Grace, or, Scenes in Nova Scotia, is dated 1846. The adventure tales by James De Mille and J. MacDonald Oxley along with works by one-time Fredericton resident, Juliana Horatia Ewing anchor much of the writing in the 19th Century. Two key books that defined the region and/or the genre, Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables and Saunders' Beautiful Joe, followed in the early 20th Century. Mary Grannan's radio and television adaptations in the mid-century reveal the broadening of the genre to other media than print and Brunswick Press's Beaverdime books are early examples of the picture book genre in the region.
As the century progressed publishing trends evolved: the early works that came out of Boston Publishing Houses eventually gave way to a Canadian-centred model with Toronto Publishers taking centre stage. Late in the twentieth-century regional publishing houses that deal with children's literature started to emerge, particularly in the provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. In part, the story of this bibliography is the story of a genre coming of age in a region that not only helped to define it but that has also been defined by it. The influence of Montgomery has been large on this region, yet one look at the plurality and scope of this bibliography and it becomes clear that this is a region of distinct voices and varied artistic talents. From folklore to picture books; from Acadian works to tales by and about the First Nations people of the region, Atlantic Canadian Children's literature is a rich ground for research and for pleasure.
We have divided the bibliography into three categories: those held by the Wallace Collection, those housed in the greater UNB Libraries' system, and those we did not yet own. The first bibliography, the one featuring material from the Wallace Collection, carries value-added information: annotations, keyword descriptors, audience age-range indicators, call numbers, and notes on jurisdiction within the Atlantic region. The middle list, the books held by the larger library system, also has call numbers and notes on jurisdiction. This final list has become our wish list to guide future purchasing and to be shared with the general public to help guide gift-giving.
We hope you enjoy using this research tool. Should you notice errors or omissions in the bibliography, please let collection staff know so that we may address the problem as soon as possible.