Happy World Book Day! Now in its 18th year, World Book Day aims to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading. We hope you’re all celebrating by dressing up as your favourite book character and, most importantly, sitting down with a good book (print OR digital).
Here at Reading, we’ve been spending a great deal of time on our Ladybird collections, since Ladybird celebrates its centenary in 2015. Ladybird is a great example of a publisher aiming to introduce others to reading – from format to content, their books are designed to help young readers and inspire learning. Most of us here remember reading Ladybird books as children, and we still get nostalgic over the art and books.
Our Ladybird collection comprises 700 boxes of original artwork, proofs and some documentation from the 1940s to the 1990s, including examples of the work of notable artists such as C.F. Tunnicliffe, Rowland Hilder and Allen Seaby. The collection covers the wide range of subjects Ladybird published, ranging from What to Look for in Spring to Transformers: Laserbeak’s Fury.
Ladybird books were first produced during the First World War by Wills & Hepworth, a jobbing printer. Initially they were simply children’s story books but after the Second World War the firm started to produce educational books which increased sales enormously. Remarkably, the price stayed the same at 2s 6d from 1945 to 1971, a feat achieved by strict production rules and increasingly large print runs.
To celebrate World Book Day, take a few minutes to pull out your favourite Ladybird book or explore some Ladybird art. Even better, book onto our ‘Ladybird by Design’ lecture on Tuesday 10 March and hear Lawrence Zeegan on 100 years of Ladybird.
Don’t forget to let us know what your favourite children’s book is! Leave a comment here or tell us on Twitter with the hashtag #WBD2015.