Prelibri di Bruno Munari, how they are used and what they are for

Source: Corraini Edizioni

Prelibri: what they are, how to use them, what they are for


  • what are pre-books
  • how to use pre-books
  • prelibri, which skills they develop
  • the books are illegible
  • prelibri, how they were born
  • pre-books, how much they cost
  • Bruno Munari's games
  • the Bruno Munari association

Can there be a book without text and images? A book where there are no words and drawings, but which is able to communicate many emotions, sensations and suggestions? It seems incredible but these books really exist and are i prelibri by Bruno Munari, artist, designer and writer from Del Paeseno whom Pablo Picasso called "the new Leonardo" to underline his genius inclination.

What are pre-books

Very useful for children from 0 to 7 years, these little books without drawings and words are full of stories, surprises and information, you just need to know how to make them talk: "It is a collection of 12 books made with different materials: cardboard, cloth, plastic, wood, sponge, designed for children who cannot read. Thanks to the manipulation of these materials, the noises they can generate (as in the case of the wooden book, for example) and the colors chosen, they are able to provide the child with a whole range of tactile, sound and visual information"explains Silvana Sperati, President of the Bruno Munari Association. 

"Inside these books you can find some forms or of the objects: a button and a buttonhole, a red thread, a feather: all stimuli to activate curiosity in the child and lead him to experiment. In the case of the button with the buttonhole for example, even if she has never seen it done, the very young child begins to connect the two objects and perform the gesture of buttoning something ".

Read also: DIY sensory books: ideas for "quiet books"

How to use Bruno Munari's pre-books

From crib to first grade, these books are very useful to accompany the growth of the little ones: "The fuchsia cloth book could be given to the child already in the cradle, so that he can experience this soft material. When the child is older, perhaps around 5 - 6 years, the books with small shapes or shapes inside, can become the ideal subjects for the creation of many small stories. Although they are designed so that the child can freely use them alone, in the latter case the parents could join the child and stimulate his imagination by inventing together some stories or the meaning of some small objects such as the red thread, for example, that in the imaginary of the child can be loaded with meaning and become the rope of an equilibrist ". 

Read also: 20 books to introduce children from 0 to 2 years to the world of reading

Prelibri, which skills they develop

  • stimuli
  • sensations
  • emozioni 
  • suggestion for the future

Not only stimuli, sensations and emotions, but also an excellent one suggestion for the future: "In Munari's interpretation, books are first of all objects that, through these positive experiments, the child learns to appreciate, continuing to maintain this vision even in adulthood". 

Read also: Read a book? Makes you smart

The illegible books of Bruno Munari

Books that should not be read, but which inform are also the basic concept of an artistic creation by Munari, i Illegible Books, one of which is exposed to the MoMA in New York. "They are very particular books. One for example has a thread inside, while another is a play of colors. Clearly it is a provocation, where a book is represented in its essence as an object that is able to always communicate , even when there are no words. These are artist's books and are not designed for a didactic purpose, but conceptually refer to the pre-books, inviting children to research that goes beyond the boundaries of the book ". 

Read also: Silent Book: what they are and how to read them

Pre-books: birth, cost and games

Prelibri: how they were born

The creation of the pre-books is preceded by the 45 book collection that the artist had made for his 5-year-old son, Alberto. "Munari had realized that there were no books suitable for children. Even those that were meant for the youngest readers needed the mediation of an adult. On this reflection, he created these active books that envisaged the involvement of the child in the experience through a combination of text, figure and form. A set of characteristics that the artist also applies in the book Nella Notte Buia where the experimentation of forms and materials returns ". 

Prelibri di Bruno Munari: how much they cost

The prelibri, published by Corraini, certainly have a cost much higher than the average of children's books, but as Silvana Sperati explains, it is not an object created to be consumed and then thrown away: "These books are assembled manually because the binding with the thread could not be done otherwise and this inevitably leads to an increase in cost. But if you think that these objects are not ordinary toys that have a short duration, but something that can accompany the child's growth over time, and be handed down to his little brother, or cousins, then you can understand their intrinsic value". 

Bruno Munari's games

Those of the pre-books and books of '45 are not the only Munari creations designed for children. The little monkey Zizì, a small shape in foam rubber and wire e the box of plus and minus to create skits with small transparent panels, "They are an example of the artist's design attention to childhood". 

Bruno Munari Association

This commitment to children's learning and experiences is concretized in Munari in the realization, in the last period of his life, of creative workshops for children. After her disappearance, theBruno Munari Association in which also works his son Alberto, Dean of the Faculty of Psychology of Geneva and collaborator of Jean Piaget, with the aim of carrying forward the artist's intuitions and continuing creative workshops for and with children. 

  • pre-books
  • reading
  • Bruno Munari
  • learning
  • creativity and children
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