Ways Out of No Man’s Land
Jella Lepman, Erich Kästner, and Carl Zuckmayer
The work in the beginning years of the International Youth Library, which was founded in 1949, was influenced by the efforts to rebuild a democratic society (“re-education programme”) and can until today be considered trail-blazing. Library founder Jella Lepman’s approach of using children’s books to build bridges between cultures and nations was revolutionary. Just how revolutionary can be gleaned from casting a glance back at her forward-looking methods of working with children and children’s literature. She continually fostered children’s rights to self-determination and societal participation, thereby laying down the foundation for a well-developed democracy, as well as for the budding post-war generation’s creative self-awareness.
Noted artists, politicians, and intellectuals in Germany and abroad supported Lepman’s library project. Two of her very important associates were Erich Kästner and Carl Zuckmayer. The exhibition frames the cultural and historical background of the International Youth Library’s founding through the lens of the friendship between Lepman, Kästner, and Zuckmayer.
38 text and picture panels with photographs, letters, and numerous other documents
Available in German, English and Spanish
Historical photo from the exhibition.
Exhibition in the Biblioteca de México, México City during IBBY Congress 2014 (© IBBY México), in the Biblioteca Casa de la Cacica, Oaxaca, México, 2015 (Photo: Freddy Aguilar Reyes), and the University of Costa Rica, 2016.