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'The ABC Of It : Why Children's Books Matter' | New York Public Library Exhibition | By Ria

nyplbooks-exhibition entrance
High on the list of places I really wanted to visit on my recent trip to New York was to head to the beautiful New York Public Library and see the Rose Reading Room for myself. The room was unfortunately closed for repair (sad face) but what I did stumble upon was this small exhibition housed in the lower ground floor of the building.
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The ABC Of It…’ exhibition takes us on a literary journey into the history and importance of children’s books. The exhibit starts with earliest examples of moral stories and early folklore told to children and adults alike, before delving into the beginnings of formal children’s writing and publishing. We see first edition copies of childhood favourites such as Dr Suess’ ‘Cat In The Hat’ and even a letter from Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) to his muse for the Wonderland books, Alice Liddell.
The exhibition also delves into the societal, technological and political influences on children’s books, which not only demonstrates the development of literary publishing for young readers but the shifting moods of the history of the world.
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Personal highlights from the exhibit include seeing the development of the comic book genre, from the newspaper back pages to fully fledged graphic novels; a section on the publication of the Harry Potter series in the US, a sight not often seen here in the UK; and a rather poignant section and list of every banned and challenged book deemed unfit to be read by young readers – the list includes such classic as ‘Perks of being a wallflower’, ‘Where the wild things are’ and even the Chronicles of Narnia series.

Overall, I’m glad I got to stumble upon this exhibition. It was such a fantastic demonstration of the influence children’s literature has had on the generations gone by and how it still continues to influences the readers of the future.

If you want to read more about my NYC experience I'm doing a little mini series on my blog!

*not sponsored! As I said in the post I simply stumbled upon this during my travels

This was written by regular reviewer Ria, get to know her here.


  1. Wow wow wow! This looks like it was amazing!!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. This looks like such an interesting exhibition! x


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