Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A History of Pop-up and Movable Books: 700 Years of Paper Engineering

It is no secret that I love pop-up books (which is evident from all the pop-up book videos I post on our blog). At Bookaroo, I was extremely excited about one particular session. The session by paper engineer Robert Sabuda. The schedule in my hand stated that the event was open to the first 50 children who register for the event. At the assigned time, I made my way to the workshop and spotted a long queue of children and parents. More than 50 children had registered and the place was not spacious enough to host everyone. All the adults were banned from the session. Banned! But, since I work with Pratham Books, I was one of the few lucky adults who got to attend the session. Sitting amongst a room full of children and a handful of other adults, I was in paper heaven. Scissors, colours and pop-ups! Glee! And Robert Sabuda is absolutely wonderful. He was patient and made an effort to guide each and every child in the room. The kids would hold up their new creations and try to get his attention and approval and then try to skip all the steps once they thought that they were paper engineers too. After the session, one spotted many kids rush to buy the pop-up books available at the bookstore and then run to Sabuda to get it signed by him. So, that workshop was my favourite session at Bookaroo. But imagine our surprise when we visited Sabuda's website and saw pictures from his India trip...and...and...and... the paper flowers we took ages to make for one of our own events were featured on his site (Click here to read about why the paper flowers were made). See Robert Sabuda's pictures here. Yayyyyy, Sabuda liked the flowers we made. If you visit our Delhi office, look out for the cherry blossom tree in some corner of our office.

And since we are on the topic of pop-up books, you can watch a video about the history of pop-up books (The video is 52 minutes long, so make sure you watch it when you have a lot of time. It is worth your time if you are a pop-up book fan!)

Via Smithsonian Videos

Ellen G. K. Rubin discovered pop-up and movable books when she began reading them to her sons over 25 years ago. Today, she has more than 6,500 books and thousands of uncataloged movable ephemera. While at Yale Medical School's Physican Associate program in 1987, she attended the Sterling Library's exhibition on the history of movable books. It was there that she learned about the scholarly dimensions of her passion.

Ellen now lectures and writes about her books, conducts workshops, and curates exhibitions.

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