By: Sarah Martin, News Editor
The University of Michigan-Dearborn Alfred Berkowitz Gallery is hosting an exhibition of the original artwork from the Little Golden Books collection—a series of children’s books celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Barbara Kriigel, the Associate Director for User and Technical Services at the university, is one of the workers at the Berkowitz Gallery.
“These books were revolutionary for their time,” Kriigel says, “This is a time where books were expensive and children were discouraged from having books because parents didn’t want them to get dirty or ruined.”
Little Golden Books began in 1942 with a series of 12 books that only cost 25 cents per book—which was very cheap for the time. Kriigel said the success of the books was due to them appearing on book racks in the very first grocery store chains, which first started appearing in the 1940’s. Mothers would take their children to the grocery store and the books were a reward for the children—and it didn’t cost them much either.
The books stayed the same until the 1960’s. To keep prices down they lowered the page count from 40 to 25, removed the book cover, and began using staples in the binding but covered them with gold leaf. This was the inspiration for the name of the book series.
“We had Diane Muldrow, the editor of the Little Golden Books, come and do a presentation and book signing,” Kriigel said, “And last week we had a family afternoon for kids to come and do crafts and win prizes.”
The gallery will run until Dec. 15 and is located on the third floor of the Mardigian Library. Weekday hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday, Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and weekend hours from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.