The British Library are asking the nation’s children to create their own miniature books while stuck in lockdown.
The budding authors will be following in the footsteps of the Brontë children who created their own mini novels by recycling old paper. The British Library’s scheme will form part of an online ‘National Library of Miniature Books for the toy world’, taking inspiration from the library’s collection of ‘miniature gems’, which includes 600 miniature volumes in Queen Mary’s dolls’ house.
The project is backed by authors and illustrators including Axel Scheffler and Jacqueline Wilson, each of whom has created their own book for the library.
The Brontës created miniature books for their toys to enjoy
The authors showed off their miniature books online, Jacquline Wilson’s mini novel is about a rabbit called Radish that lives on her desk, while illustrator Axel Scheffler’s tale is of Fipsy the squirrel who is adjusting to life in lockdown. The Gruffalo illustrator revealed that he also makes tiny books occasionally for his daughter’s dollhouse, such as a miniature edition of The Snail and the Whale, and The Gruffalo.
The British Library’s Anna Lobbenberg said how the tiny books created by the Brontës “provided a kind of literary workshop for the children, allowing them to experiment with different genres and styles and thus to evolve their own extraordinary writing style”.
“Being able to hold and manipulate tiny versions of ordinary objects is both powerful and delightful for children, helping them to take on new responsibilities and personas,” she said, adding that the library hoped the project would encourage young readers and help them gain in confidence by imagining themselves as authors, illustrators, book makers, and librarians.
Children can share their homemade miniature books with the Twitter account @BL_Learning using the hashtag #DiscoveringChildrensBooks, or send them by email to [email protected] It will commission an illustrator to create a virtual bookshelf to display the work.