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Banner: Beyond the Letters: A Retrospective of Canadian Alphabet Books
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About This Site

The alphabet books presented on this site have been drawn from the Library and Archives Canada's collection. In viewing them, one can trace not only the development of Canadian ABC books, but also the evolution of Canada's children's book industry in general.

Beyond the Letters: A Retrospective of Canadian Alphabet Books provides the opportunity to view sample pages from a selection of both English and French books. Included is an ABC book that was created in 1859, but not published until 1966. Also included is correspondence between authors and publishers, which documents the publishing history of several of the books featured on this site. There are books that depict Canada's history, geography and culture; books that will amuse; and books that will challenge you. There are even books that will require readers' active participation. ABC books are no longer just about teaching young children the alphabet; they have become much more.

Today, children around the world can enjoy the innovative and top-quality children's books that Canada is producing. ABC books make up only a small portion of a much larger body of work that brings the best of children's literature to readers young and old. Have a look for yourself. Discover the world of Canadian ABC books and all that the genre has to offer.

Library and Archives Canada invites you to visit the physical exhibition of Beyond the Letters: A Retrospective of Canadian Alphabet Books, which begins on June 2, 2003 and runs until September 8, 2003. The exhibition is open daily from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm, and admission is free.

The images used for this website design are taken from ABC books that are featured on this site. The "ABC" comes from the cover of ABC by Elizabeth Cleaver. The robot or "Robozo" was obtained from L'abécédaire des robots by Jacques Thisdel. The "G" or "La Girafleuriste" was extracted from L'abécédaire des animots by Marjolaine Bonenfant and Robert Soulières.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial assistance of the Department of Canadian Heritage, whose Canadian Cultural Online Program (CCOP) made this website possible.