Bookbird 1 / 2017

Bookbird or Bookworm – or both? If the bird represents the visual – both because of its striking appearance and because of its keen eyes, surveying the land – the worm digests the letters, the words, thinking and imagining. In this issue we sometimes take the bird’s eye view, sometimes dig into the words with worm-like appetite. Picturebooks are the main focus in Penni Cotton’s article on a travelling exhibition of “Lampedusa’s Silent Books” that has been used to engage school children in the small French town of Montolieu in various ways. 

Picturebooks are also featured in two of 
the full-length articles in this issue.
 Christèle Maizonniaux discusses the
challenges and possibilities, linguistic as
 well as cultural, involved in using franco-
phone picturebooks with Australian 
university students who are studying 
French at tertiary level. Then we have
 Jessica Whitelaw who discusses what she
 calls “disquieting picturebooks”: books 
that address sensitive issues, or are 
aesthetically complex, or are politically
 radical. There is a great deal more of visual 
content in this issue, ranging from Francois
 Place’s beautiful cover image to the many 
picture postcards from all over the world,
including a “Letter” article by Anzhela
 Lebedeva on a Russian “Postcard competi
tion.” However, far from being a “silent
journal,” Bookbird is also a Bookworm.
 Thus, there are several texts that focus on
 writing and words, rather than illustrations. Beatriz Alcubierre Moya and
 Rodrigo Bazán Bonfil write about José
 Vasconcelos’ classic Mexican children’s
 books, while Junko Sakoi and Yoo Kyung
 Sung bring up a much neglected subject with their article on the stories and situation of the indigenous Ainu people (on the island of Hokkaido in Japan). Finally, in a lead to the next themed issue of Bookbird (“child authors,” forthcoming, Spring 2017), Jenni Woodroffe writes about “Children Creating Their Own Books.” Picturebooks may be wordless, but they are never world-less. Children’s books are worlds to enter and explore. And children can enter these worlds through words or images, or make them up themselves.