The Children's High Collection is a collection of children's books of historical value that contains rare, older, out of print, and autographed books written and illustrated by award-winning notable children's book authors from the 1600s to the present. The High Collection is named for Mrs. Harriet “Hattie” Wilson High, prominent American philanthropist. This historical collection consists of well-regarded International Children's books with a specific focus on winners for the John Newbery Award, Randolph Caldecott Award, and Coretta Scott-King Award.
There are approximately 3,586 volumes located in the Children's High Collection. Notable items in the collection includes the first published children's book, Orbis Pictus by John Amos Comenius (1658), Cobwebs to Catch Flies, by Ellenor Fenn, (1783), Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868), The Five Little Peppers Series by Margaret Sydney (1881), and books used to teach American children how to read including the McGuffey Readers and Spellers by William Holmes McGuffey, (1836).
Outstanding contemporary children's books were acquired through donated funds from the Hattie Wilson High Memorial Fund in memory of Mrs. Harriet "Hattie" Wilson High, by her daughters. Among the modern children's author's represented are Robert McCloskey, author of Make Way for Ducklings, Ashley Bryan author of Beat the Story-Drum, Pum Pum, Margaret Wise Brown author of Goodnight Moon, Tomi dePaola, author of the Strega Nona Series, Virginia Hamilton, author of The House on Dies Drear, and Ezra Jack Keats, author of The Snowy Day. There are also many children's books from the early 20th century Inclusive, Martin Luther King Jr.: Man, of Peace by Lillie Patterson is the first Coretta Scott King Award book awarded in 1970 and added to the collection the same year.
The Children's High Collection allows patrons to compare classic literature with modern works; to apprise and expand their understanding of children's literature.
The Children's High Collection is housed in the Central Library Headquarters Special Collections Room.