Until the 1960s, the childhood book, with the exception of Munari’s experiments, was a purely written book and only accompanied, at intervals, by some illustrative tables of contents. But in the sixties and seventies many publishers seem to embrace the indication of Walter Benjamin, who, reasoning around his collection of children’s books, speaks of the parallel and autonomous reading that the child accomplishes by immersing and losing himself in the illustrations, omitting the logical-verb shore, so that the illustrations come to constitute a further sense of the story.
Reading is in fact to be understood as a capacity not only alphabetic but also visual and figurative. The photographic image is a visual communication mode especially appealing to the youngest but also stimulating the higher age groups. In Italy, a census work and research on this rich child production has not yet been done, and there are no specific collections. The Malaspina Foundation, which has created the exhibition project in collaboration with the Cartastraccia association, aims to deepen the productive field of Italian and international photographic book publishers for childhood, to focus attention on this important sector and to promote it through activities for children and adults.
The Foundation’s library of contemporary photography, constituted by an initial acquisition of 150 titles selected from the publications of the most interesting independent Italian publishers, will be expanded over the years with further acquisitions in Italy and abroad. On the occasion of the exhibition on the photographic book for children, the Foundation has acquired 100 books for small toddlers, children and teenagers from innovative and experimental publishers such as Corraini, Ecole Des Loisirs, Editions Didier Jeunesse, Editions Thierry Magnier, Greenwillow Books, Fatatrac, Fulmino Edizioni, Nanaroku Sha, Topipittori and many more.