A new way to picture Canada

Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is delighted to announce a new exhibition: Picturing Canada: The History of Canadian Illustrated Books for Children.

Many thanks to guest bloggers Jade Baptista, Vanessa Bedford Gill, Sue Choy, Angie Goertz, Leïla Matt-Kacai, Kira Razzo, and Sarah Van Mook for contributing the below post! This intrepid team of graduate students at the UBC School of Information or in the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program curated this picturesque new exhibition under the supervision of Dr. Kathryn Shoemaker, Adjunct Professor with the UBC School of Information.

Picturing Canada is an exhibition that will take visitors on a journey from the earliest published Canadian illustrated children’s books to current ones. Commencing with Northern Regions, published in 1825 to On the Trapline, a 2021 award winning picturebook, nearly 200 years of children’s books in Canada are covered. This exhibition explores the changing historical and cultural aspects of Canadian identity through the lens of children’s illustrated books. This exhibition is a testament to the artists, authors, publishers and ultimately readers, who shaped and continue to shape, children’s literary culture in Canada. The Picturing Canada exhibition can be thought of as a tapestry of over 120 Canadian children’s books, with each thread made up of our curated individual book selections. We could not hope to include every book and many threads were left out of the display, mostly due to space constraints. However, we encourage the visitor to celebrate the books we have chosen and ponder how they might picture Canada at different points in history.

Picturing Canada: The History of Canadian Illustrated Books for Children is on display on level 1 (RBSC reading room) and level 2 (main foyer) of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre from March 8 through May 31, 2022. The exhibition is free and open to the public, and people of all ages are encouraged to attend. A complete catalogue of the exhibition can be downloaded here. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca. You can also visit an exhibition site created by the curators.