Children's Literature: Italy

Figure 1.--We do not yet have any information on Italian children's literature. We do know of a charming little book set in Italy by an American author. A British reader remembers reading it a a little boy.

We do not know much about Italian children's literature. Here language is a factor. Msny Italian books hazve not been translated. We of course know about the Itlalian classic Pinocchio. We know nothing else about Italian children's literature at this time. Unfortunately this is another area in which we have very little information. For some reason we have had more difficulty obtaining information on Italy than manyother countries. The only book that we have noted is a book about Italy written by an American author. Hopefully our Italian readers will provide us some information about children's literature. We suspect that many English-language have been tranlated and distrunyted in Italy.


Edmondo de Amicius wrote a charming book about an Italian school boy--Enrico. The title is Curoe, it might be translated 'The Heart of a Boy'. There are charming illustrations by Nardi, an Italian illustrator we know very little about. They provide very detailed images of period Italian children's fashions. De Amicius published the book in ????. It is written as the boy's diary. Enrico describes his friends and the clothes they wear. The boys come from various socio economic backgrounds. The boys are a mixed age from about 6-14 years old. The book begins, "October: First Day of School - Monday 17th: To-day is the first day of school. These three months of my holiday in the country have passed like a dream. This morning my mother took me to school. I was entered for the third elementary class. Near the school door, I spoke with my teacher from last year. He said to me: 'Hello Enrico I hope you like your new class.'


The most famous Italian book about a boy is of course "Pinocchio", the story of Jepetto, a poor lonrly carpenter. He makes a marrionette, Pinocchio, who comes to life. The book was written by Carlo Collodi. I do not know if he wrote any other children's books. His book Pinocchio, however, and is known to children all over the work through countless translations. I am not sure who illustrated the first edition of Pinocchio, but a large number of illustrators have worked on the many subsequent editions. Pinocchio is most commonly costumed in red short pants. I am not sure this is mentioned in the text or shown in the early illustrations, but this was how he was costumed in the Walt Disney film which has played a major role in establishing the image of Pinocchio in the public mind.

(The) Small Miracle

A British reader writes, "I've found the book I got as a prize for R.E. ( or Scripture as we called it) at my primary school that I mentioned when I was talking about my Sunday school. You can see why as a child I was disappointed with the illustrations as compared to the bold Ladybird Book illustrations. I didn't realise it had been made into a film as the cover blurb of the book mentions - I've never seen it - even on T.V. but would be very interested if anyone has as I loved the story (the illustrations took away from it I felt as a kid.) Costume is not mentioned in the book except that the boy goes barefooted. It's set in 1950s Italy so I don't know how accurate these illustrations are. In the playground after the prizegiving one of my mates said the boy looked like he was wearing pyjamas. I wasn't impressed.


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Created: March 14, 2004
Last updated: 8:41 PM 9/6/2010