Europa 2010 - Children's Books SI

Europa 2010 - Children's Books

First child’s book is a picture book. Although, Jan Amos Komensky who in 1658 published a work in Latin language Orbis sensualium pictus (The Visible World in Pictures) is most often mentioned as the originator of children’s picture books aimed for educating adults and children, Justin Bertuch, a publisher from Weimar and a patron of art who between 1970 and 1830 published Bilderbuch für Kinder (Picture Book for Children) - a publisher’s series of 12 tomes on 1185 pages with 6000 illustrations is considered to be the real father of the children’s picture book. A children’s book should be an indispensable part of the child’s room inventory …like a bed, doll or a wooden horse... and the earliest child’s education has to start with pictures... were at that time the prophetic words of Bertuch and this opinion has remained unchanged to our days. Hence, first children’s books appear only at the moment when the child is seen as a person with special interests and needs. In the majority of European countries this is the period of the 17th and 18th century. First children’s books had – first of all – the role to educate and were intended for religious, moral and spiritual education. Among first such books was a book Spiritual Milk for Boston Babes, by the English priest John Cotton, published in 1646, which contained religious morals in verse. With the intention of educating, there appear at that time also the Fairy Tales by Perraut and the Fables by La Fontaine, to be followed by fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and stories of Gulliver by Jonathan Swift and Robinson by Daniel Defoe, though the last two had not originally been written for the youngest. Croatian children’s literature is almost two centuries late in relation to its world appearance. First books that appear are ABC books, readers, songbooks, catechisms, fairy tales, fables, and moral stories. They were aimed for the entertainment and instruction of well-behaved children, exclusively those that already could read. The first Croatian book for children is considered to be Mali tobolac (A Small Quiver), by the teacher Ivan Filipović, published in 1850. The time when Filipović lived was the beginning or the preparatory period of the Croatian children’s literature when children’s books were mostly written by male and female teachers: Ivan Filipović, Franjo Bartuš, Tomislav Ivkanec, Josip Milaković, Stjepan Širola, Milka Pogačić, Jelica Belović-Bernadzikowski, Marija Tomšić-Im and others. They are also authors of numerous revisions of stories and novels, at that time mostly originating from German or French sources. Well known children’s poets at that time were Ljudevit Varjačić and Krunoslav Kuten. Already established Croatian writers of the time - August Šenoa, August Harambašić, Petar Preradović and Vjenceslav Novak also wrote for children. The beginning of the 20th century is the epoch of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, the authoress who created works of high literary value by which she became and remained a Croatian literary classic. Among favourite books today are also her masterpieces, a children’s novel „Čudnovate zgode šegrta Hlapića / Adventures of the Apprentice Hlapić (1913) and Priče iz davnine / Tales of Long Ago (1916). At that time also Vladimir Nazor dedicates a part of his extensive literary work to children. His well known works are Halugica, Bijeli jelen, Dupin, Minji, Genovevina košuta and for children adapted „Veli Jože“/ “Big Joseph“. The authoress Jagoda Truhelka in her best known work Zlatni danci writes about her childhood and her birth town Osijek. The 20th century is in the whole world the flourishing time of children’s books. The child becomes a focus of interest of psychologists, educators, teachers and parents. First children’s libraries are being opened. The process of general democratisation of the society, new approach to education and the movement for the access to art also for lower social classes are in full momentum. Along with the general industrial and technologic progress this is the time of the development of new, up-to-date printing techniques, which influence the increase of literary production, also that aimed for children. In the thirties of the 20th century many printing houses are very successful in their business with children’s books. By the opulent look and illustrations of its issues, a distinguished printing house of the time is Kugli. This is also the time of Mato Lovrak, the founder of the Croatian children’s novel. Mato Lovrak believed in children’s capabilities and in the beauty of the teacher’s vocation and found the inspiration for his works in his daily associating with children in a classroom. Among about fifteen of his novels for children the most distinguished are two, published in 1933, Vlak u snijegu / A Train in the Snow and Družba Pere Kvržice / The Gang of Pero Kvržica, translated in many languages, widely read and popular with children till today. The period of Croatian children’s literature after the Second World War was marked by the writing of the poet Grigor Vitez. In distinction to didacticism and the idyllic picture of childhood in the pre-war period and the propaganda poetry of not much literary value, immediately after the War Grigor Vitez introduces play, cheerfulness, humour and nonsense into the poetry for children. First Croatian prize for children’s book, bearing the name of Grigor Vitez and established in 1967 has been awarded for more than 40 years by now. It is awarded for text and illustration and is a good signpost for parents and educators, helping them to choose a quality children’s book. The same can be said of two other literature prizes named after the classics of our children’s literature: the “Prize Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić” and the “Prize Mato Lovrak“. In the year 1970 there appeared the cult book of the contemporary Croatian children’s poetry: Nevidljiva Iva / The Invisible Iva by Zvonimir Balog, an author who by now has written more than 70 books for children and adults. Among modern authors the most distinguished are Ivan Kušan with a series of novels with the main character -a boy Koko, and the authoresses Sanja Pilić and Sanja Lovrenčić. Today we can best find out about the best world and Croatian contemporary production of books for children and about the projects to encourage reading by following the work of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People). The IBBY was founded in 1950; it comprises individuals and institutions and encourages international understanding through children’s books. Every second year IBBY awards the „Andersen Prize“, the most important world prize for children’s literature. From 1956 the Andersen Prize has been awarded to writers and from 1966 also to illustrators. The Croatian section of IBBY is the Croatian Centre for Children’s Book, at the Llibraries of the Town of Zagreb, which proposes Croatian authors. Croatian authors-candidates for the Prize from 1996 were the writers Ivan Kušan, Luko Paljetak, Sunčana Škrinjarić, Zvonimir Balog, Višnja Stahuljak and Joža Horvat and the illustrators Ivica Antolčić, Ivan Vitez, Cvijeta Job, Vojo Radoičić and Svjetlan Junaković. While in the beginnings of the development of children’s books the illustrators were anonymous, today they are authors with equal rights. The best authors create today top quality picture books as author’s projects, equally intended for small and big readers. The authors and publishers, librarians, educators and teachers come together each year at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the biggest of the kind in the world. This fair and the Bratislava Biennial of Illustration are the two most important manifestations for the promotion of children’s book. Today, the children’s book appears in numerous forms and kinds. For babies there are books-toys made of soft sponge and cloth which can be taken into bed or those made of plastic which are used for play in bath while the older children have at their disposal a whole series of luxurious and richly illustrated issues in all fields of popular science and literature. The children’s books educate small readers offering them a variety of information in an interesting way, encourage their creativity and introduce them to the world of art. And the adults are invited to be the mediators in offering the best books to children. Ranka Javor

Technical Details

Issue Date: 07.05.2010
Designer: Jasna Bolanča Popović and Maja Pauković, designers, Zagreb
Printer: Zrinski - Čakovec
Process: Multicoloured Offsetprint and folio
Colours: 4 Colours
Size: 29,82 x 35,50 mm
Values: 0.98, 0.98