More recently I have been introduced to the information book, which is a book with the design and format of a picture book – that essentially is non-fiction, holds a lesson or information and is aimed at readers from 9-14. For me the only issue that arises from formatting a book like a picture book, is that at a certain age children are less likely to pick up a book that looks like its written for small children – especially as their reading independence grows and they are starting to feel proud and gaining a sense of achievement from reading bigger books and reading them on their own.
Having said that the pros are also evident with the author having more space for pictures and allowing them freedom with their layout and content. Lisa Hölzl’s information book ‘found – The art of recycling‘ uses the format to create a book on art and how famous artists have used recycled products as to encourage such recycling and use of recycled elements in art to children. Hölzl is a practicing artist and teaches art part time at a high school, in order to encourage that students look outside the conventional art practices and look to recycled products she has created this book which holds unique information about artists that one doesn’t learn in art class at school. Like Picasso’s use of cardboard instead of paint, Hausemann’s use of mannequins and how more and more artists weren’t using conventional mediums but using what was found.
Recommended for children 9+ and being released for sale from October 1 this book holds great activities and challenges for children to take on – experimenting with found objects and new art forms (which could help around the house, with less paint and conventional art forms to be spilled or drawn onto the walls!)
Although children from 9-14 may not understand the signification of the artists used in the book I think the idea that these people who used found items have made lots of money and are now famous is enough to gain the interest of a child. Especially as so many children love arts and crafts.
However, I think that children in the 13+ category (high schoolers) could still gain something important from this book. As a classroom tool it encourages the use of recycled items and a new way to view and create art – it also holds facts that I, as a teenage art student, didn’t learn (even though we certainly learnt about the artists in the book). So as both a school resource for upper primary and lower secondary and as a book for the home to encourage creation and imagination through craft Hölzl has created an effective and fun book.
Imprint: WALKER BOOKS AUST
Distributor: Harper Collins Distribution
Services for Australia and New Zealand
Release Date: October 1, 2012
Dimensions: 244 x 288mm, 48pp
Australian RRP: $34.95