Around the World in 70 Maps

Three Centuries of Cartographic Treasures from Children's Literature

Maps depict the world in its entirety or in segments: continents, countries, oceans, mountains, islands, cities, buildings, travel routes and many more. However, maps are not “reality” but rather two-dimensional depictions. In fact, they are representations of how people imagine the world to be, how they perceive it and order it, how they orient themselves in it. Sites are mapped for the purpose of making them easier to grasp and to make them more comprehensible.

Maps have long played an important role in children’s and youth literature. They are often used in non-fiction books to make locations and landscapes easier to visualise, for instance by inviting readers to let their fingers trace along the routes of explorers and discoverers. In children’s and young adult fiction, especially in novels and picture books, maps also depict and locate important settings and events. While some of this fiction features maps of the world as we know it, other texts map fictional places in the real world or include maps of completely fantastical places. Often it is these fantasy worlds that are drawn with the most attention to minute detail so that they appear utterly realistic and authentic, despite the fact that every line emerged out of the imaginings and musings of their creators and illustrators.

This exhibition showcases treasures found in the holdings of the International Youth Library, including maps from valuable books in our historical collections, for instance the travelogues of Joachim Heinrich Campe, illustrated editions of Daniel Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe”, or Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”.

Unusual cartographic examples from newer children’s books include, for instance, the maps found in the works of Peter Sís and François Place. Textual quotations from the books serve for a better understanding of the maps and the literary sites which they depict.

Content of the exhibition:
34 banners (60 x 80 cm) and 4 large-sized banners with 70 maps and quotations from books, 2 panels with introduction, 1 exhibition poster.

Available in German, English or Spanish

Next venue:
14 June - 21 July 2024:
AWO Community Center in Pfersee / Augsburg, Germany

Further venues in planning!

Here you can find a list with all exhibition dates up to now: Around the World in 70 Maps

Illustrations by:
© Iacopo Bruno from "Die Legenden der Blauen Meere: Dreckswetter und Morgenröte" by Geoffery Rodkey, Carlsen Verlag GmbH: Hamburg, 2013.
Jill Moursund from "Gjemmestreker", Cappelen Damm: Oslo, 2009.
Francisco Dasu Kaxinawa from "Atlas geográfi co indígena do Acre", Comissão Pró-Índio do Acre, 1998.

Exhibitions in the BS Biblioteca de Infantil Oaxaca, México, the Biblioteca Civica di Verona, Italy, and in the Public Library Bad Homburg in Germany.