Bookbird 2 / 2017

Bookbird 55.2 (2017) “Child Authors and Illustrators”

On the cover of Bookbird 55.2 we see an early, previously unpublished illustration by Lisbeth Zwerger depicting a scene from Heinrich Hoffman’s “The Strange Child.” It is a beautiful piece of art, for sure, but it also points to the theme of this issue: child authors and illustrators. For the fairy tale miniatures by Zwerger are the fruit of a young artist, a young adult. They are from that period of life when you take the step from childhood to adulthood. Yet there is nothing immature or incomplete with these illustrations. Does it even make sense to talk about the age of an illustrator and author, as long as they have the talent and ability to write and paint as well as any of their elders? Wishing to hook you, I will let this question dangle, enticingly. Just let me say that my co-editor Peter Cumming untang­les and explores the child author theme further in his critical introduction. Moreover, the child-as-author/illustrator theme is addressed variously and expertly in the feature articles. There is Elizabeth Marshall’s and 
Theresa Rogers’ article on “Youth, Poetry, and Zines: Rewriting the Streets as Home,” Marija Todorova’s piece on “Children’s Voices from War Zones,” Ryan Twomey on the topic of “Maria Edge­worth’s
 Juvenilia,” and Jennifer Duggan’s analysis of “Youth-Authored Harry Potter Fanfiction.” In the other sections we also keep close to the theme, for instance in the section “Translators and Their Books,” where Ant O’Neill unearths some “Moominvalley Fossils” and writes about the task of translating the early comics by Tove Jansson. Finally, in the section Children and Their Books, there are, predictably, a number of texts on children’s writing and publishing: the library as a publishing hub for children, children’s book clubs, and children’s own publishing, are some of the topics raised.

Björn Sundmark