published its KULLANA KULTURALI (a multi-volume encyclopedia of
Maltese culture), Trevor Zahra was commissioned to write the one about
children's books in Malta. He was the one who invited Charles Briffa
and myself to write a critical appraisal of children's books and
illustrations respectively. Trevor himself supplied the history
The book has become a major source (possibly the only one, apart from
a few booklets and articles here and there) of what children's books
in Malta are all about.
Here is a translation of the blurb on the back cover:
"The last thirty years of
the XX century are a period that led to the golden age at the
beginning of the XXI century in the field of children's literature. At
the beginning of the third millenium, children's literature is being
considered as a unique branch of the national literature; is being
recognised as an essential part of our cultural identity; is
containing a large selection of themes and literary tendencies and
styles; and is serving the needs of society in the psychological and
academic development. All of this apart from the entertainment it
provides. Children's literature has become a genre all by itself.
Books in Maltese are being written like never before. Children's
literature has become independent from adult literature, and has
bettered its quality and stature."
The book, with Andrew Micallef's illustration from
Taht Sema Kwiekeb
on the cover, was published in March, 2002.