Have you ever wondered what is the reason behind our seven decade long love affair with Little Golden Books? Is it because we all have our favourite Little Golden Book characters from childhood such as The Poky Little Puppy, Tootle or the Saggy Baggy Elephant? Or is it because they were such an integral part of our childhood? Everyone seemed to have Little Golden Books at home when I was growing up.
Some Little Golden Books were designed to teach us about the world we lived in, with stories about occupations such as policemen, firemen, doctors and nurses. Others were more child-centred such as We Help Daddy, New Brother New Sister and Tommy Visits the Doctor. Not only did Little Golden Books help us learn to read, they provided entertainment with their stories and brightly coloured illustrations, but were also relatable, containing every day childhood experiences.
The Little Golden Books Exhibition offers you the opportunity to take a walk down memory lane and appreciate the important place these books hold in our recent history. The exhibition is on display now at Liverpool City Library.
First created in 1942, Little Golden Books were designed for beginning readers aged from 3 - 8 years old. They were brightly coloured, slim and sturdy, and unlike most children's books of that time, at only 25 cents each they were affordable. At a time when children's books were a luxury for most families, the availability of inexpensive children's books at the grocery store was a welcome change.
In addition to our sense of nostalgia, Little Golden Books are now seen as an important part of the transformation of children's reading habits and helping to improve reading standards in the 20th century. In fact they are so well-loved and prevalent that in 2002, the 60th Anniversary of Little Golden Books, there were over 1200 unique titles in the series and over 2 billion books had been printed.
The Little Golden Books exhibition allows us to reflect on our favourite childhood stories. The exhibition showcases some of the original artworks and illustrations of the books. Interestingly it also looks at the background of some of the illustrators, many of whom had left Europe before or during the Second World War and had taken refuge in the United States. One such illustrator was Tibor Gergely, who created classic illustrations for Scuffy the Tugboat and Tootle the Engine.
The exhibition is small, with only a selected few Little Golden Book titles included, however there are plenty of Little Golden Books on hand to reminisce over or to read and share with your own children or grandchildren. There is a reading nook area set aside for children as well as a colouring in station where they can colour in classic Golden Book illustrations.
In addition adults can share their own memories or favourite Little Golden Book stories on the memory wall.
Liverpool City Library is hosting the Little Golden Books Exhibition, on loan from the Smithsonian Museum of American History. It is free and open for viewing now until the 26th February 2016. See the Library website for opening hours.