Postcard artwork for Of Wonders Wild and New exhibition features fairies and butterflies. The exhibition runs from November 10, 2018 through January 5, 2019.A collection from the Henry Madden Library is now on display at the celebrated American Bookbinders Museum in San Francisco. The exhibit consists of rare and cherished works from the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature.

Jennifer Crow unpacks books for display at the exhibition
Jennifer Crow, curator for the Arne Nixon Center, unpacks books to be displayed in the exhibition.

This partnership began when the museum director for the American Bookbinders Association reached out to the center to organize an exhibit centered around children’s literature that would also be perfect for the holidays. Jennifer Crow, curator for the Arne Nixon Center, was delighted to help.

The name of the exhibit, Of Wonders Old and New: Picture Books, A Gateway to the Imagination, is an ode to the beloved children’s book, Alice in Wonderland. It is a reference to a line in the introductory poem:

The dream-child moving through a land
Of wonders wild and new,
In friendly chat with bird or beast—  
And half believe it true.

Crow was heavily involved with the development of the exhibit and worked closely with the museum staff. Not only on putting the display together, but in selecting books that would best fit the exhibit. She was also in charge of listing, photographing, and carefully transporting the books to San Francisco.

Museum workers lift a glass case onto a table of books for protection while on display
Museum workers put the final touches on the exhibition in San Francisco.

The works featured in the exhibit are from some of the most notable authors in literature. Some of the works from the Arne Nixon Center collection on display include, a signed copy of Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, James Baldwin’s only children’s book, Little Man, Little Man: A Story of Childhood and a copy of Mark Twain’s translation of a famous German children’s book, Der Struwwelpeter.

The books range from childhood classics such as Mother Goose nursery rhymes to books that celebrate diversity. Crow hopes that those viewing the exhibit will have something meaningful to take away from the children’s books.

“The messages and felt emotions of the books we read in childhood are carried with us throughout our lives. Children’s literature has great impact.” says Crow.

An assortment of children's books on display
A portion of the Arne Nixon Center collection is on display at the Bookbinders museum in San Francisco

Of Wonders Old and New will be open Saturday mornings at 10:00 am from November 17 to January 5. The exhibit is free and open to the public, for more information visit The American Bookbinders Museum.