A genre which renews its appearance and contents as if to highlight the importance of a good start to raise a child as a curious and demanding reader. This segment of production, which is growing strongly in the global market, is characterised by multiple experiments, stylistic exercises and fresh starts.
2. SILENT BOOKS
Editors all over the world beckon us to a full immersion into the visual dimension of their wordless books. Wordless books have become a veritable genre in their own right. Adults are won over by them, as are young people that like the language of graphics.
On the other hand, it is not a genre readily accepted in schools.
3. ALPHABETS BOOKS
Evergreens that they are, they have greatly renewed their contents and have become experimental fields for graphics and the art of typography. The great scholar Walter Benjamin loved and collected them, pointing out how in time the books’ letters had greatly benefited from the work of so many artists. Despite technological advances and IT fonts, these books maintain the high standards of quality of children’s books.
4. PICTURE BOOKS
Considered the king of children’s books, the large-sized picture book, usually consisting of 32 pages, has become he most immediate and appreciated instrument used by very young readers.
The stories glide past the readers’s eyes on the pages and the pictures enrich the narratives. Apparently simple in their brevity, these books require significant conceptual effort, skilful layout and composition. The great Maurice Sendak considered these books a success when they had no trace left of the tacking (sewing) process.
5. BOOKS IN BLACK
A subsection of Picture Books highlights an aspect which might appear daring, but which in effect upends lazy conventions. They reward the courage of those who know that childhood doesn’t require to be sugarcoated and that visual education is the way to gently enter the world of images and representations without taking shortcuts. The black covers and pages invite us to experience darkness, mystery and fear.
6. ART, ARCHITECTURE, DESIGN
This section documents how the language of Art can be offered even to the youngest of children.
Visiting museums and coming into direct contact with the work of artists allows breaking down the walls that culture has erected, whilst defining different types of audiences: scholars, students, enthusiasts. These books, resulting from a sustained pedagogical awareness, declare Art, just like beauty, to be everyone’s heritage, without exception.
Gianni Rodari taught us: “She who is last to contemplate the sky, does not experience it to be less resplendent.”
The sensibility of the youngest of children is also open to the language of poetry. Words become sound besides meaning, words that engage with other words through rhyme, words that echo each other by means of their similitude. Words may also contrast one another to form odd rhetorical figures.
All of this makes the child realise that language can become a space for playing and creative self-expression.
Such books also allow us to realise that through words we can celebrate, criticise and create worlds and visions.
8. SHOW: Music, Dance, Theatre, Cinema
In order to complete an artistic education in the widest sense, books that introduce other types of language systems are very useful to start exploring these worlds. Do we want all children to become artists? Should they all be able to become musicians, actors, dancers and film or theatre directors? No, our goal is simply to enhance their taste, their level of education, to help them to go beyond stereotypes and enable them to access all the experiences the human realm holds.
Literary classics, those works that have conquered solid and durable ground, enjoy the aura of very high quality illustrations. It has always been this way, but there is currently no lack of new interpretations entrusted to young illustrators. They bring a fresh and novel perspective to the pages of these literary monuments.
In every country comics have been experiencing a time of great vitality in the past few years. Many young people have taken a new interest in the genre and new collections for very young readers are appearing. Comics are also what allow artists to experiment with styles and modes of self-expression that allow them to approach art. A story told through drawings has strong autobiographical and biographical imprints and has become a swift and inclusive means of self-expression.
11. KNOWLEDGE BOOKS
Books to acquire knowledge, discover things, and gain information are at centre stage in the latest publishing season. In the past decade, some new ideas, such as atlases, have become global successes. Following the uncertainty due to technological change, editors have gone back to their jobs. That means putting on paper stories, concepts, analyses, data, scientific discoveries. This enables children to build a foundation of knowledge by means of these materials. Some say children prefer discovering new worlds - the animal and the vegetable kingdoms - to fairy tales. Many adults have borne testimony to their love of atlases, maps and encyclopaedias.
12. WOMEN ON STAGE
Women are the real protagonists of children’s books, in every country. Their struggles for rights, principally the fight for the vote, are narrated by books which remind us of what history has blotted out. The term HERStory has been coined to highlight how much important work has been done by women in every field. The many books on women have provided a mirror for society, a society in which women are playing an ever greater part.