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Projects in our Centre for Children's Book Studies

Cover of children's book 'Look for ladybird in Plat City', showing a rabbit and a lizard searching in a colourful town made of plants

Look for Ladybird in Plant City

In October 2017, Dr Katherina Manolessou published her latest book through Frances Wilson.

The book invites readers to play detective and look for ladybird in all the busy double spreads. Plant City is a colourful, imaginary world inspired by the author-illustrator’s love of plants and gardens and by her curiosity for all the tiny creatures that live in them. The city is a hiding place for Ladybird but also a stage full of tiny dramas and interactions that the reader will discover along the way. These discoveries can inspire conversations between parents and children when they read the book together.

100 Great Children's Picturebooks

100 Great Children's Picture Books

In April 2015 Professor Martin Salisbury, Director of the Centre for Children's Book Studies, published this lavishly designed and produced new book, his personal selection of one hundred picturebooks from around the world over the last one hundred years.

Accompanied by a short essay, each chosen book is featured across a double page spread, lovingly photographed as a physical artefact, to be owned and cherished. The book features a specially commissioned cover design by renowned artist Sara Fanelli, celebrating and embodying the current resurgence of interest in (and sales of) the beautifully designed hardback book - a phenomenon that has emerged in the aftermath of a bottoming-out of adult paperback fiction and Kindle sales.

100 Great Children's Picture Books is published by Laurence King Publishing, and has already been co-editioned to the USA, Spain and South Korea. The book was presented as an exhibit at the Research Through Design Conference at the Microsoft Centre in Cambridge, along with published picturebooks and working rough dummies by two of Professor Salisbury's PhD students (current and former), Becky Palmer and Dr Katherina Manolessou, as part of the presentation 'Engineering the Book'.

'The Ransom of Dond' cover

Illustrations for The Ransom of Dond

Pam Smy, Senior Lecturer in Illustration, received rave reviews for her stunning illustrations to The Ransom of Dond by the late Siobhan Dowd.

Published by the innovative publisher David Fickling under the umbrella of the Random House Group, the book straddles the boundaries between picturebook and young adult fiction. Designed by Ness Wood, The Ransom of Dond swarms with Smy's illustrations, elegantly produced in two colour separations, superbly evoking the magical Celtic world of the story.

Here is a review in Metro (11 December 2013).

12 Dancing Princesses (inside)

Publication of The Twelve Dancing Princesses

The Centre for Children's Book Studies' first published book is available to buy from the Anglia Ruskin online store. This edition of The Twelve Dancing Princesses was designed and illustrated by Sheila Robinson in the late 1940s. It has never before been published and has lived in the Fry Art Gallery and Museum for a number of years since being donated by Robinson's daughter, the artist Chloë Cheese.

The original book is in the form of a single completed, hand-made, hand-bound edition, created to the exact format of the Picture Puffin series devised by Noel Carrington, alternating between colour and black and white spreads. Brian Webb and his team at Webb & Webb Design have been assisting with the careful scanning and retouching of the book. Much of the work has involved correcting spelling and grammatical errors in the hand-rendered text as well as incorporating a wraparound dust jacket that shows examples of the preparatory drawings on the inside. The book includes a short afterword by Chloë Cheese and an essay by Professor Martin Salisbury.

Children's Picturebooks cover

Children's Picturebooks: The art of visual storytelling

This book by Professor Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles, published in January 2012 by Laurence King Publishing, won the UKLA Academic Book Award 2013

A successful launch event was held at Heffers Bookshop, Trinity Street, Cambridge on 25 January. The book can be purchased direct from the publishers, or from all good bookshops including Amazon, where it has been receiving excellent customer reviews.

Martin has also given an interview on the themes of the book to National Public Radio in the US.

Story of Picturebooks

Working with Story of Picture Books from Korea

Having worked closely with the Korean children's publishing industry in recent years, Professor Martin Salisbury contributed articles to the beautifully produced Story of Picture Books, a journal published by Sang Publisher of Paju Book City in Seoul. The journal is published twice yearly and, in the words of Yu mi Myung, an editor with Sang publishing and assistant at the CJ Picture Book Festival office:

"This journal was started with the purpose of introducing the culture of picture books to a wider audience. In Korea, we have had many imported picture books and they have tended to be mainly educational. But in the last two or three years, this is changing. Now we are studying and learning from the books of many other countries and letting people know about them. We've covered Japan, England, Russia, France, Germany, Korea and the US. As a publisher, we publish this journal and also picture books. Our books have been exported to France, China, US, Switzerland and Taiwan."

European Storytelling Archive

The aim of this project, supported by the British Academy, is to create an archive of subtitled digital films of oral storytelling drawn from a wide range of European languages and cultural traditions. We have chosen to create a video archive in order to preserve not only the texts of the stories, but also the non-verbal narrative and performance techniques of a wide range of storytellers.

This will be of use to both the study of scholars and to teachers who wish to encourage their pupils / students to tell and record their own stories, giving them the opportunity to contribute to the archive themselves. To encourage these additional contributions we plan to develop a suite of open source software tools through which school pupils and FE/HE students will be able to create their own digital stories using computer technology and social media as a contemporary analogue of oral transmission. We also plan to create a virtual environment for communication and self-initiated, peer-supported creative learning - an online European Story Map - through which these contributions can be shared to stimulate and encourage further storytelling.

Bologna Book Fair

Professor Martin Salisbury regularly judges at Bologna Children's Book Fair. This video from the 2010 fair provides a taste of the event and features interviews with each of the judges, including Martin: