The ABC at the NYPL

 There are no good books which are only for children.

 W.H. Auden

I love visiting the New York Public Library. Aside from being a gorgeous building full of books, they have an amazing shop with fun book-nerd stuff (I may have bought a few things…) and they occasionally host must-see exhibits, like the one running right now. The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter is an incredible exhibit that uses the library’s impressive collection of books and artifacts to illustrate the importance of children’s literature through history, art, popular culture, and technological change.

It’s no surprise that this exhibit stirs up some emotion for those of us who remember reading a lot as children. And I especially loved seeing it at a library. I didn’t grow up in a house full of books, but my mom did take me to our local library as often as possible so I could sit and read as much as I wanted. I read anything I could get my hands on, and the books I read at that time still mean the world to me. The ABC of It gives children’s books the attention they deserve.

If you’re lucky enough to visit New York before the exhibit ends in September, you should definitely go see it. There are hundreds of items to look at, including:
– The copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that Lewis Carroll gave to Alice Liddell (the child he wrote it for)
– Frances Hodgson Burnett’s manuscript for The Secret Garden
– An audio recording of E.B. White reading excerpts of Charlotte’s Web
– Original Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals

I especially liked the room that dealt with banned books such as Pippi Longstocking, Huckleberry Finn, The Diary of Anne Frank, and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. And if you prefer more modern children’s books, there are sections of the exhibit devoted to Harry Potter and even graphic novels.

The ABC of It is a free exhibit that runs through September 7, 2014.  For more information visit the New York Public Library website.

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