Children in Britain have something new to look forward to while in lockdown. The British Library has asked the nation’s children to follow the footsteps of author Charlotte Brontë and come up with their own miniature books in lockdown. It is believed that Brontë had written a miniature book containing a short story for her sister Anne. She had even stitched the book herself when she was all of 12 years old. But this was only among the many others she wrote with her siblings, for their toy soldiers to read. It is believed the initiative will be a part of the online “National Library of Miniature Books for the toy world”.
Have you made a miniature book yet? This one by @vivschwarz shows that small stories can still have big hearts ❤ Send your pint-sized poems, petite picture books and more to @BL_Learning #DiscoveringChildrensBooks https://t.co/KAuNFtO1nw pic.twitter.com/7LHwTWhfhP
— The British Library (@britishlibrary) May 18, 2020
According to The Guardian, the initiative has also been inspired by the library’s collection of “miniature gems”. These range from some 600 miniature volumes in Queen Mary’s dollhouse, to publisher John Marshall’s ‘Infant’s Library’, which is literally the size of a matchbox. It is also being backed by authors and illustrators Axel Scheffler and Jacqueline Wilson, who have already made their contributions by creating their own book for the library.
While Wilson’s book is about a rabbit called Radish that lives on her desk, Scheffler writes about a squirrel called Fipsy who is adjusting to life in lockdown.
We all need a bit of colour to brighten up the dark days. Can you make a miniature book with the things in your sunshine cupboard, like @TheJanePorter? Send your creations to @BL_Learning #DiscoveringChildrensBooks https://t.co/beRaHjNwnW pic.twitter.com/VNcwyJqiEi
— The British Library (@britishlibrary) May 20, 2020
According to The Guardian report, the library’s Anna Lobbenberg has said the miniature books that the Brontës created “provided a kind of literary workshop for the children, allowing them to experiment with different genres and styles and thus to evolve their own extraordinary writing style”. “Being able to hold and manipulate tiny versions of ordinary objects is both powerful and delightful for children, helping them to take on new responsibilities and personas,” she was quoted as saying.
Could your toy be the star of a miniature book? Take inspiration from this new small story by Jacqueline Wilson, about her furry friend Radish. Send your creation to @BL_Learning and you could be in our miniature library #DiscoveringChildrensBooks https://t.co/dkrwK7tIjB pic.twitter.com/T7pt4v28dK
— The British Library (@britishlibrary) May 14, 2020
The British Library hopes this all-in-one initiative will allow the young ones to gain confidence as they become authors, illustrators, bookbinders and librarians. It is also aware that many children across the country will not have access to computers and art materials, for which it plans to distribute “a printed pack through public libraries, food banks and sheltered accommodation, and emailing PDFs to teachers nationwide”.
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