Top Pick: Exhibition presents a world-class collection of children's literature

HUNDREDS of illustrated children's books are published in Slovakia every year, several of them first editions. Many of these books find their way abroad, where they are often highly acclaimed.
"Our children's books enjoy a very good reputation around the world and our illustrators win many awards abroad," says Eva Cíferská, head of the Slovak section of the International Board for Books for Young People (IBBY) at Unesco, based in Switzerland.
According to Cíferská, not many Slovaks are aware that Slovak children's literature gets a lot of praise abroad.


SLOVAK illustrated children's books win international awards.
photo: Courtesy of Bibiana

HUNDREDS of illustrated children's books are published in Slovakia every year, several of them first editions. Many of these books find their way abroad, where they are often highly acclaimed.

"Our children's books enjoy a very good reputation around the world and our illustrators win many awards abroad," says Eva Cíferská, head of the Slovak section of the International Board for Books for Young People (IBBY) at Unesco, based in Switzerland.

According to Cíferská, not many Slovaks are aware that Slovak children's literature gets a lot of praise abroad.

To show Slovaks the works of Slovak authors and illustrators who have been recognized by IBBY, Cíferská has organized an exhibition entitled IBBY's Award-Winning Slovak Authors. This exhibit, celebrating IBBY's 50th anniversary, is taking place in Bratislava at Bibiana - International House of Children's Art.

This show presents a collection of books that have been honoured by IBBY. The exhibition is displayed in only two rooms, and at first it looks like a very small amount of material. However, when one opens one of the 42 Slovak books on display, an entire world begins to spin out from the pages.

The works displayed in the first room include some by Dušan Kállay, who illustrated Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Fairy Tales from Great Britain. The walls are also adorned with his colourful drawings for Nobel laureate Isaac B. Singer's Fairy Tales. Information about Kállay, who was awarded IBBY's highest prize, the Hans Christian Andersen Award, in 1988, is laid out in the centre of the room.

In the other room one can see, in chronological order, all Slovak works that have been included on IBBY's Honour List since 1963, when former Czechoslovakia entered the institution. Since then, 22 Slovak authors, including Slovakia's most-translated writer Klára Jarunková, have been honoured by the organisation. Twelve Slovak illustrators and eight translators are included on the list as well.

Also worth seeing at Bibiana is a hands-on exhibition entitled Art is a Game, where children enter a fantasy world of art and create their own works.

An English-speaking guide leads them playfully through the works of IBBY-winner and Slovak painter Ľudovít Fulla.

The exhibition can be seen at Bibiana (International House of Children's Art) at Panská 41, Bratislava. Open daily except Mondays until November 10. Hours are 10:00 to 18:00. Admission: Sk5-20. To arrange an English-speaking guide contact Katarína Kosánová at 02/5443-3294.

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