L’accès à la connaissance : les livres de vulgarisation scientifique dans la collection La Scala d’Oro
La Scala d’Orois one of the most celebrated Italian series for young readers. It was published between 1932 and 1936 in 93 volumes. It was divided into eightcategories, based on the age of the reader. There were three different types of books: all-time classics, the most famous children’s books and the «opere originali istruttive», or books whose purpose was to explain the basics of science and humanities to children.
The ten authors of the scientific books were mainly literary writers; among them, only Giuseppe Scortecci was a zoologist. The protagonist of the stories was often a child, with whom the reader was supposed to identify. His parents and, more widely, the adult characters play a role of support, helping the young reader to understand the scientific explanation. The topics are various: life of animals, chemical processes, radio parts and functions, the development of the universe and so on. Some themes recur in a more elaborate fashion in books suitable for older children.
The series is mainly known for its illustrations, realized by famous artists. The role of images is particularly important in scientific books, and their complexity grows with the complexity of the texts.
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