The letters of the alphabet have inspired many original, creative, and highly artistic picture books. The wide spectrum of alphabet books ranges from classic Animal-ABCs to more design-driven interpretations that showcase the individual letters as objects of art. Many ABC books are built around visual puns and analogies, such as the letter “I” recognizable in a row of petrol pumps in an Edward Hopper painting or an illustration of an octopus consisting of a cluster of “o”s. Another popular strategy is taking the letters as cues for alliterating miniature stories or acrobatic nonsense poetry.
The exhibition, drawn from the collection of the International Youth Library, features unusual and remarkable alphabet books mainly published in the first decade of this millennium. Alongside picture books staging the letters of the Latin alphabet, there are also examples from other sign systems, such as Japanese, Greek, Cyrillic or Arabic script.
Content of the exhibition:
80 books, 2 text panels, 1 display panel showing different alphabets, 9 picture panels (Animal-ABC). Includes a 40-page brochure, offering brief informative texts, bibliographic references and images of all the book covers.
Text panels and brochure available in German and in English, picture books are multi-lingual.
Exhibitions in the Biblioteca Civica di Verona, Italy (© Barbara Rigon, Mara Balabio), the Public Libraries in Bayreuth and Bamberg, Germany, the State Library of Lower Austria (© Zeit Punkt Lesen) and the Public Library Vaterstetten, Germany.