Imaginary Library: About

The Imaginary Library Project

An Imaginary Library: Children’s Books That Do Not (Yet) Exist is an exhibit of original art by 72 illustrators from 30 countries. The exhibit comes to WWU from Chicago, having been staged already in Japan, Greece, and Iran. This is the last stop, and the only West Coast venue, before the exhibit returns to Germany.

For this project, the participating artists were invited by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany, to create an original book cover for a book that does not yet exist but which someday the artist would love to create. Each book cover is accompanied by a short text that expresses the artist's idea. The texts inspire the imagination and encourage dialogue, providing many opportunities for cross-cultural understanding.

These book-dreams were created for readers of all ages by three generations of artists from many regions of the world including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, China, Greece, Iran, Japan, Slovenia, Russia, Spain, South Africa, and Uruguay. Some of the countries in this exhibit are under-represented in the appreciation and understanding of children’s literature.

For many, a first exposure to visual art came through the pages of a children’s book. An Imaginary Library explores the craft of children’s illustration as well as the intersection between visual arts and literature. The project serves as a learning opportunity for students studying English, graphic design, writing, art, literature, education, and international studies.

Exhibit Catalog and Book

Exhibit Catalog: $5.00 Catalog is available for sale at the library circulation desk.

the Fish, the Piano and the Wind: An Imaginary Library (der Fisch, das Klavier und der Wind: Eine imaginä re Bibliothek)

This book is a hardcover publication of the entire exhibit and is available for purchase through The Western Washington University Associated Students Bookstore. Phone: 650-3655

The Imaginary Library Project

An Imaginary Library: Children’s Books That Do Not (Yet) Exist is an exhibit of original art by 72 illustrators from 30 countries. The exhibit comes to WWU from Chicago, having been staged already in Japan, Greece, and Iran. This is the last stop, and the only West Coast venue, before the exhibit returns to Germany.


For this project, the participating artists were invited by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany, to create an original book cover for a book that does not yet exist but which someday the artist would love to create. Each book cover is accompanied by a short text that expresses the artist's idea. The texts inspire the imagination and encourage dialogue, providing many opportunities for cross-cultural understanding.

These book-dreams were created for readers of all ages by three generations of artists from many regions of the world including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, China, Greece, Iran, Japan, Slovenia, Russia, Spain, South Africa, and Uruguay. Some of the countries in this exhibit are under-represented in the appreciation and understanding of children’s literature.

For many, a first exposure to visual art came through the pages of a children’s book. An Imaginary Library explores the craft of children’s illustration as well as the intersection between visual arts and literature. The project serves as a learning opportunity for students studying English, graphic design, writing, art, literature, education, and international studies.