The ABC of It – Why Children’s Books Matter

Until 7 September 2014
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York

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This exhibition looks at what children’s books reveal about the society who produces them. It explores the reasons why children’s books are important and how they are used as a teaching device.

0627F_childrensbksmoon_50p‘Goodnight Moon’s’ room is life-size at the exhibit at the New York Public Library.
From: Art review: ‘The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter’ at the New York Public Library,

‘Through a dynamic array of objects and activities, the exhibition celebrates the extraordinary richness, artistry, and diversity of children’s literature across cultures and time.

Our first books stir and shape us as few books ever again can. Goodnight Moon! Alice in Wonderland! A Wrinkle in Time! For three centuries and more, books made especially with the young in mind have served as indispensible gateways to literature, art, and knowledge of the world. And if, as adults,we find that our own childhood favorites remain as thrilling or funny or heart-stoppingly beautiful as ever, we should not be surprised. As W. H. Auden wisely observed: “There are no good books which are only for children.”

Today’s brightly packaged, increasingly globalized books for young people have complex roots in world folklore, Enlightenment philosophy, nationalist fervor, and the pictorial narrative traditions of Asian and Western art, among other sources. Collectively, they form a vivid record of literate society’s changing hopes and dreams, and of the never-ending challenge of communicating with young readers in the most compelling possible way.’
(New York Public Library)

What are your favorite childhood books and why? How do you think children’s books shape us from children into adults?

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