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The Secret Self: An Exploration of Canadian Children's Literature

Books for Escaping
Books that Shape
Books that Share
Book List & Indexes


Cover of the original Secret Self exhibition catalogue

Cover of the original Secret Self exhibition catalogue. © 1988, National Library of Canada


The Secret Self: An Exploration of Canadian Children's Literature was first presented as an exhibition at the National Library of Canada in October 1988. It showcased some of the best Canadian children's writing published up to that time, as well as works with a Canadian connection.

The National Library offers this exhibition on its Web site in the hopes that it will increase awareness of Canadian literature for children and young people, and at the same time, inspire in its young visitors an interest in books and a love of reading that will last a lifetime. Adults may find that the older books evoke many memories that have enriched their lives. The stories that they read as children will provide a basis for sharing experiences with their own children.

The site contains three essays that demonstrate how children's books provide escape, guidance and a shared experience. The texts from the original catalogue, written by Jan Andrews, have been reproduced on this Web site and augmented throughout by links to a book's entry in the Secret Self Book List or to an external site providing more detailed information on various topics discussed in the three essays.

The National Library would like to acknowledge the help and participation of all those who made the creation of this Web site possible.