Author: Isabelle Glorieux-Desouche
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
ISBN: 978-0-7112-3091-0

Click Here To Purchase How to Talk to Children About World Art

Imagine that you are a child, agog with wonder, attending an exhibition of art from around the globe. You have as your guide a loving and well-informed mentor, who is only too pleased to answer your every question with a highly accessible and relevant answer. Would you not be thrilled?

 Well, such is my response (and, I am sure, will be that of every mentor of children, too) who opens the pages of How to Talk to Children about World Art. Taking key examples of art from around the world, which are all illustrated with full-page color photographs, answers are provided to all those questions that children are most likely to ask from age 5 to 13.

 The helpful format of the book, starting with what art really is, and debunking preconceived ideas about arts and crafts, takes one through the gamut of featured artifacts in ordered sequence, starting in North America. The culture trail then moves to South America, and on to West and Central Africa. The art of Central Asia and South East Asia is then considered, before exploring that of Oceania and Easter Island. In place of a standard index, in keeping with the graphic nature of this guide, a world map is presented on which the origin, and a thumbnail image of the picture, of each exhibit is indicated. The work concludes with an invaluable bibliography, proposing additional reading for both adults and children, as well as visits to relevant websites, films and museums.

 Details of the original source, as well as of the dimensions and the current location, of each exhibit is given as a caption beneath each photograph (imagine what you would be likely to see on an information plaque in a museum). A number of questions and comments follow, which are graded in terms of the age group most likely to ask, or pass, them. The responses in each case are informative and trenchant, with the initial topic sentence providing a synoptic answer, on which the rest of the paragraph expands. (One cannot help but compare this approach to that which is so often taken in museum guidebooks, where the focus tends to lie on an expansion of the intellectualism and knowledge possessed by the compiler of the guide concerned – children want ready access to information, and not to be bored with tedious explanations.)

The delight-filled voices of children can be heard throughout this text, ranging from the outright curiosity of the 5 to 7 year olds (such as asking, in the case of the sculpture of a Dogon couple, “Are they men or women?”), to the slightly more searching questions of the 8 to 10 year olds (such as asking, in the case of the Mandu Yene Throne of Bamum King Nsangu, “Did all kings have such impressive thrones?”). As the inquirers themselves would, no doubt, be quick enough to point out, the questions of 11 to 13 year olds tend, in contrast, to reflect the desire to classify and contextualize within an existing framework of knowledge (such as asking, in the case of the Fang reliquary figure, “Why did Alberto Magnelli buy this sculpture?”).

Art teachers and all those who are involved in stimulating the creativity of the young (as well as that of the young at heart) are likely to benefit from this incisive and inspirational introduction to the world of global art.            

Click Here To Purchase How to Talk to Children About World Art