From touch-and-feel genre books such as Dorothy Kunhardt’s Pat the Bunny, originally published over 60 years ago, to new interactive ebooks such as those hosted on Scholastic’s Storia, which come with text, audio, and games, children’s literature has taken on many forms. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. As interactive children’s stories are taken to a new level, classic children’s books are being reprinted in new editions as part of the The New York Review Children’s Collection. Dorothy Kunhardt’s Pat the Bunny belongs to this collection, among many others with voices that are reaching a new generation of young readers.

Begun in 2003, The New York Review Children’s Collection issues products from picture books to young adult novels in an effort to reward readers with a return of their favorite titles to a new generation of readers. They take classics written by one generation, aiming to deliver to another. The collection accepts suggestions for additions to their series, which includes authors whom many readers from a younger generation may have never heard of, such as Eleanor Farjeon, Russell and Lillian Hoban, Ruth Krauss, E. Nesbit, James Thurber and T. H. White.

Interactive children’s genres are not new. Touch-and-feel books used tactile response to teach children vocabulary through different textures a word describes. Interactive children’s books have existed as pop-up books, coloring books and game books. Some of these, such as the classic searching game Where’s Waldo, have moved their adventures online. Today, parents can monitor children’s reading activity with a variety of ebook applications, and children can use them to learn new words or interact with a story. For example, on a tablet or other electronic device, a child can simply touch a word on a screen to have it defined for him or her.

Meanwhile, new children᾿s novels and stories are coming out with increasingly diverse characters and plots.

Coming out in early 2014 are comics featuring Kamala Khan, a 16 year-old Muslim American superhero. She will be the new Ms. Marvel and possesses the power to lengthen her arms and legs and change shape. Creators say they wanted a character that young women could relate to in a superhero world that is often occupied by white male characters.

Any story is intended for interaction with its reader, but digital learning tools are allowing this to happen in all new ways. From old to new, children’s books are entertaining young people from one generation to the next.

Did You Know?

In September of 2013, The New York Public Library (NYPL) published a list of 100 children’s books they believed to be the best of the last 100 years, based on specific criteria: the book had to be published in the past century, be available in print and still boast popularity with neighborhood libraries. The books within the list were not put on a rating scale, but instead are listed in alphabetical order. The list spans everything from children’s books to young adult stories, including Charlotte’s WebThe Chronicles of NarniaThe GiverGreen Eggs and HamHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s StoneThe HobbitMatilda and A Wrinkle in Time. The list notes each book’s author, the date it was originally published and a one- to two-sentence synopsis. The oldest book to make it on the list is Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne, published in 1926, while the most recently published is Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin, published in 2012. The list was released in tandem with a free exhibition titled “The ABC Of It: Why Children’s Books Matter,” hosted in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at the NYPL. The display, curated by children’s literature expert Leonard Marcus, features the importance of children’s literature by exploring its history and influence on society. It opened in June of 2013 and can be viewed until March 23, 2014.