Le Bonhomme-Soleil

I bought this beautiful book in Paris, last year at the fabulous second hand bookshop Librairie Michael Sekisk. It caught my eye because it is entirely written and illustrated by children. Five year old kiddies from a reception class in the center of France. Imagine the pride these lil' authors and illustrators must have felt when it was released, back in 1977? Their drawings and words good enough to be published?! YES!

It is not only beautiful to look at but it also tells a slightly bonkers and non-sensical story. That, to me, makes the perfect ingredients for an unforgettable book!

I decided to find out a bit more about this true gem and with the help of good ol' Google, I have discovered that it was part of a series called Art Enfantin (Kids Art). Art Enfantin was a publishing initiative inspired by the Freinet method of teaching. Its founder, Mr Freinet, a 1920s French primary school teacher believed that it is freedom that galvanizes creativity. He referred to his method as "a method that has no methods". Not one that our current Education Minister would support then!

These books were published to encourage creativity amongst kids and give them a voice: music to my Anorak ears! It looks like every time one came out, it was met with a barrage of criticism from grown-up authors and intellectuals who refused to accept these titles as valid kids literature. Nonetheless, 35 titles were released by a series of (very brave) publishers over the years with this particular one coming from Editions La Noria towards the end of the 70s.

I am now in love with this book even more. You can see how lovely it is here.

If you have come across or own any of the other books, I would love to hear from you!