If you’re a fan of children’s books, you won’t want to miss From Apple Pies to Astronauts, A Chronology of Alphabet Books with Aphorisms, Amusements, and Anecdotes! at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections. The exhibit offers a selection of English language alphabet books from the late 18th century to the present day. These books illustrate the changes in alphabetic education for young children in England, the United States, and Canada. The exhibition is curated by UBC Master of Library and Information Studies candidates Sarah Bagshaw and Laura Quintana, under the supervision of Professor Kathie Shoemaker.  We chatted with Laura and Sarah about their curation process.

What inspired you to create an exhibit around Alphabet Books? 

Sarah:  The books themselves were the inspiration.  Once Kathie Shoemaker suggested the idea, I got to search for alphabet books in the Rare Books and Special Collection catalogue.  Then I got to go and look at them and was amazed by all the different styles through time, all the differences and similarities to alphabet books now.  In discussing what I was looking at with my husband, he suggested displaying them in chronological order as well as going through the alphabet from A to Z.  This turned out to be an excellent way to showcase the books and the changes in illustration, the way they were written, and their educational purpose over time.

Laura: It was Sarah’s idea, actually. I got into the project in a later stage and helped her with everything I could. I have to say that I found the project really interesting. I did not grow up with Alphabet books and during our research we found out that in countries with languages other than English it is not as common as it is here to use alphabet books as an introduction to literacy.

What intrigues you about children’s books? 

Sarah: Children’s books are amazing.  There are so many wonderful books being published for children today.  Picture books are particularly fascinating as they tell stories with both text and pictures.  The types and styles of illustration we see now in picture books is incredible.  They are a window into the cultural context of the time period they come from as well as an entertainment piece for both adults and children.  Picture books are not easy to create.  They have to tell a story well and the text cannot fall down on the job – it has to work being read out loud.  Current writers could take a page or two from the writers of the past!  The rhyming text in the old alphabet books in the exhibit was a joy to read.

Laura: There is a common misconception that understands children’s literature as a second class kind of literature, as if authors and publishers were lowering their scales to produce books that appeal to children but are not good enough to engage adults. And it often happens that adults who read children’s literature are seen as infantile. Children’s literature has a specific audience, and that audience is the most demanding and honest of all. Authors need to really address a particular need and satisfy very high expectations. Children know what is good and what is not, and they won’t read a book that does not give them what they are asking for. Another important think to highlight is that children are still able to see the marvels of the world. Children’s books authors need to honor the splendour of that point of view and produce books that fully satisfy the children’s need for beauty, and that is not an easy thing to do. Alphabet books address a learning expectation, but they also appeal to children through illustrations, text, reading rhythm and originality. They are a learning tool and also a source for enjoyment. Alphabet books these days can be simply amazing.

How did the two of you come to work on this project?   

Sarah: Kathie Shoemaker approached me last summer while I was taking her Illustrated Materials for Children course about possibly putting together an exhibit of alphabet books in the Rare Books reading room.  This sounded like such a cool idea!  Everyone in the West who speaks English is familiar with alphabet books, we all grew up with them and there are so many different kinds.  To be able to look at old alphabet books as well as find beautifully illustrated new ones was so much fun. 

Laura: Sarah had already created the concept, and her enthusiasm and passion was contagious.

 

How did you select the books displayed in the exhibit? 

Sarah: Once we had the idea for a chronological tour, we selected books that best represented different eras or decades in the development of early childhood learning and alphabet books.  Some of the more recent alphabet books are very well known, but we felt that they should be included as they represented either specific ideas about children and learning, or a change in illustrative style.  Everyone knows Dr. Seuss, so did we need to have him in this exhibit?  Yes!!  He represents a big shift in the thinking about children, learning, and books.  Each book has a reason for being in the cases even if we didn’t create a lengthy item label for it. We were really lucky that Kathie has an extensive library of alphabet books to choose from and I also asked friends and family to search their libraries.

 Laura: We looked for the most appealing materials, and also for the ones that best represented a particular moment in time and in the evolution of Alphabet books.

Do you have a favourite alphabet book? 

Sarah: That’s hard.  There are certain books that have a nostalgia for me, like Cecily Mary Barker’s Flower Fairy Alphabet because I grew up with it, as well as Dr. Seuss.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom  because we read that to our daughter and the rhythm in it is so spot on.  However, now that I have seen all these old alphabet books, I find the Battledoor fascinating for what it is and for showcasing street vendors from the early 19th century.  Wanda Gag’s ABC Bunny is such a good example of picture and text working together to tell a story.  The old alphabet books I got the most excited about are the ones illustrated by Walter Crane, who was part of the Arts and Crafts movement.  He worked with William Morris.  So many interesting things to read about him and his art!

 Laura: I fell in love with several of them, but if I have to choose it would be Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, with all its rhythm and freshness. I also love The Neverending Story since I was young, and until now I have never thought about the fact that it was written as an alphabet book, with chapters that start with a letter of the alphabet, in order. I found that very interesting.

What was your favourite children’s book as a child? 

Sarah: Another hard question!  My family is British and so I grew up with books from England.  I still have the copy my Granny sent me of Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree.  I blame this book for my love of fantasy and my fascination with doorways to other places.  I also have a soft spot for Wind in the Willows, original Winnie the Pooh, and A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson.  I pinched the family copy of The Real Mother Goose illustrated by Blanch Fisher Wright to use with our daughter and love looking into the history of weird and obscure nursery rhymes.  Clearly the rhyming and rhythm of text read out loud is important to me!

Laura: My favourite book as a child was Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. I’m still in love with this concept of Peter Pan as a newborn child who can fly, who used to have wings and is able to fly because he does not know that that is impossible. In this book he does not need fairy dust or the help of Tinker Bell to be able to flyI felt so sad when I first read it: to think about a child who flies away from his mother and finds out later, when he wants to come back, that the windows have been barred and that his mother has a new baby that has taken his place. I think that it is a wonderful book with an extraordinary, powerful and heartwarming main character.

From Apple Pies to Astronauts is on display at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections on the first floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre from February 27 through April 30, 2017, and can be viewed Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 12-5 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public, and people of all ages are encouraged to attend. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.

UBC Library is celebrating Freedom to Read Week, February 26 to March 4, 2017. Freedom to read can never be taken for granted. Even in a free country such as Canada, schools and libraries are regularly asked to remove books and magazines from their shelves. Banning books and restricting free expression on the Internet affects the […]

 

It is exciting to announce the arrival of a new series of Grand Rounds from the UBC School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) now underway in cIRcle, UBC’s Digital Repository!

 

UBC SPPH encompasses “both public health and population health” as they each relate to the “well-being of a community equally” in terms of “health trends and causes, and suggests approaches to promoting health. Interestingly, “where they differ is in the way that each addresses and studies the health of a population”.  It has four Divisions which are listed as follows: Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Public Health Practice; Health in Populations; Health Services and Policy; Occupational and Environmental Health.

 

Held throughout the academic year, the UBC SPPH Grand Rounds is a monthly seminar series featuring open and free to the public educational talks based on timely topics and cases. These talks are presented by current and emeriti faculty of UBC SPPH including Canada Research Chairs and various postdoctoral students, other visiting professors and invited research scholars from across Canada and around the globe.

 

The main objective is to share, discuss and disseminate evidence-based and innovative scholarly research including best practices and methods happening at UBC and beyond.

 

While the target audience is for ‘all faculty and students to attend and be part of the ongoing conversation about current issues in Population and Public Health’, the audience also includes an interdisciplinary cross-section of medical and clinical professionals comprised of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, epidemiologists, laboratorians and other health education specialists as well as patients and their families and the general public.

 

Watch the latest UBC SPPH Grand Rounds’ talk, “Tackling Poverty and Socioeconomic Inequities” by UBC’s SPPH professors John Millar, Craig Mitton and Bob Evans, and Vancouver School of Economics professor Craig Riddell

 

Click here for upcoming UBC SPPH Grand Rounds’ talks

 

 

About Grand Rounds

 

In this 21st century, Grand Rounds take place in a variety of ways. For example, some of them are in the form of weekly or monthly events where the topical presentation is forty-five minutes long while others may be an hour-long along followed by a half-hour discussion afterwards. Some Grand Rounds are recorded and archived as videos or webcasts. Meanwhile, others can only be found in an online/virtual environment such as on a departmental or clinical website, or as perhaps electronic newsletters, or as a round-up of topics in various blog posts.

 

In 2006, a published article by Dr. Lawrence Altman was released in the New York Times and delved into the origin and style of Grand Rounds.

 

In 2013, another well-known published article on making Grand Rounds “grand” again by Drs. Shaifali Sandal, Michael C. Iannuzzi, and Stephen J. Knohl in which they explained the classical background of Grand Rounds which began in the late 19th century and outlined the modern day style and delivery formats of Grand Rounds seen today.

 

Written by the Head of Medicine at Queen’s University in 2013,. Dr. Stephen Archer provides an insightful synopsis on the important role of Grand Rounds now and into the future.

 

 

Explore the UBC Library Guide “Population and Public Health: Getting Started”

A guide to support research in Population and Public Health including recent SPPH Theses and Dissertations

 

 

Above photo is courtesy of Martin Dee – UBC Public Affairs

 

 

 

Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is delighted to announce a new exhibition: From Apple Pies to Astronauts: A Chronology of Alphabet Books with Aphorisms, Amusements, and Anecdotes!

The exhibition, curated by UBC Master of Library and Information Studies candidates Sarah Bagshaw and Laura Quintana, under the supervision of Professor Kathie Shoemaker, offers a selection of English language alphabet books from the late 18th century to the present day. These books illustrate the changes in alphabetic education for young children in England, the United States, and Canada. The authors and illustrators who created these books were influenced by the political and social contexts of their worlds. As both printing and publishing changed and advanced, so too did the alphabet books being produced.

The exhibition, featuring materials from RBSC’s historical children’s literature collections, including the Arkley Collection of Early and Historical Children’s Literature and the B. Roslyn Robertson Collection of Children’s Literature, contains many familiar favourites still enjoyed by children today. As well, there are many that may be unknown treasures that are sure to delight.

From Apple Pies to Astronauts is on display at UBC Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections on the first floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre from February 27 through April 30, 2017, and can be viewed Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 12-5 p.m. A complete catalogue of the exhibition can be downloaded here. The exhibition is free and open to the public, and people of all ages are encouraged to attend. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.

We hope to see you there and that you will enjoy learning about alphabet books and those that created them!

 

Freedom to Read Week runs February 26 to March 4, 2017. The annual event encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Attend one of the FTRW events hosted by UBC Library.

Freedom of Expression in the Post Truth Era: Open Mic Event

Date & Time: Tuesday, February 28th, 2017 at 12:30PM – 1:45PM

Location: Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, level 2 foyer.

Freedom of Expression is a charter right in Canada and is a fundamental value of professional groups such as librarians, archivists and journalists, who promote transparency, public accountability and the broadest possible access to information. However, we are seeing an erosion of these values in public life, through steps to censor scientists and public servants, to retract, hide or ignore information that does not conform to partisan views, and to treat the free press as a public enemy. This is a symptom of “post-truth” politics, in which sentiment and personal belief have more influence than facts, and facts are openly manipulated. As fake news, Orwellian newspeak and “alternative facts” flood our media streams, how do we continue to make sense of our world? How do we hold public figures accountable for their actions?

This open mic session invites the UBC community to speak up on what freedom of expression means in this post-truth era.

Bring your thoughts, arguments, poems, and stories.

Register for the event.

Freedom of Information Request Workshop

Date & Time: Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 at 12:30PM – 1:30PM

Location: Woodward Library Computer Lab – Room B25

Learn about the process of filing Freedom of Information (FOI) or Access to Information (ATIP) requests in BC and Canada. Topics include finding out if the information you need is already publicly available, structuring your request so it can be answered efficiently, and knowing your information rights under FOI laws. Session led by Greg Kozak, UBC iSchool adjunct faculty.

Register for the workshop.

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

UBC Library

Info:

604.822.6375

Renewals: 

604.822.3115
604.822.2883
250.807.9107

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC | © Copyright The University of British Columbia

Spam prevention powered by Akismet