Featuring rare children’s books from the Bentley Rare Book Museum, Play by Design: The World of Children's Books invited visitors to explore illustration styles and techniques, intriguing formats, and the interplay of text and images on the printed page. From the Enlightenment to today, the children’s book has evolved dramatically. Initially, books were meant to be instructive tools used to impart moral lessons. As time progressed, children’s books were refashioned to combine both learning and amusement. The manipulation of the size, materials, illustrations, layout, and typography of books have worked to create unique worlds for their readers and helped shape individual experiences with various books. The interplay of physical elements highlighted in children’s books makes this medium especially relevant to today’s world in which electronic interactivity informs our daily lives. Books have many purposes: they teach, entertain, broaden our horizons, and introduce us to new ideas. In no genre is the interplay of various literary elements more evident than in children’s literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Today’s digital world is providing even more opportunities for readers to engage in traditional elements of children’s books (typography, story, and illustration), while introducing new realms of interactivity. Print books may be converted to electronic books to be read on a computer screen, and authors and publishers are producing new books written specifically for the digital format, including games, music, and other features. In this exhibit, we see authors, illustrators, and publishers continually innovating to enhance readers’ interactions with books.

Recent Submissions

  • Play By Design: The World of Children's Books 

    Skinner, Julia; Livingston, Tamara; Oswald, Heather (Kennesaw State University, 2016-12-16)
    Administrative records pertaining to the development of the exhibit "Play by Design: The World of Children's Books," curated by Julia Skinner, Tamara Livingston and Heather Oswald and highlighting children's books from the ...