A Research Project on non-fiction picture books

The Centre for Research in Children’ s Literature (CRLI) of the University of Bologna is working with Bologna Children's Book Fair to carry out research on next-generation illustrated books. The project "From Orbis Pictus to next-generation non-fiction picture books for children. Teaching the world through wonder and beauty ", analyzes the real explosion shown in the sector of children's publishing belonging to the category of the so-called “non-fiction”. Books of incredible graphic-illustrative quality, often characterized by a large format, with remarkable compositional taste and the predominance of images, realized in different styles.

From world maps to zoology, to botany, anatomy, entomology: books on animals, insects, plants or flowers, books that try to catalogue and represent emotions.... An encyclopedia entrusted to the creative hands of authors and illustrators left free to go beyond too rigid or traditional schemes. This creates a new and hybrid category, which does not place these products together with the classic “research books”, because they have a clear authorial quality, often awarded with the best illustration prizes.

This publishing sector, expanding quickly today but so far little analysed, is at the centre of the research project, which intends to fill a gap in order to look into the educational and creative uses of these publishing resources. The project also aims to get in touch with other interested subjects: first of all the publishers but also foundations, associations, fairs, museums, science centres, authors who may be interested in creating a network of exchanges and collaborations to promote quality non-fiction titles.

The research project will come to an end in 2020 with the publication of an illustrated and critical work,  and an exhibition dedicated to the best non-fiction titles published worldwide.