Beatrice Alemagna celebrates childhood and invites readers to embrace children’s uniqueness

Beatrice Alemagna, What Is a Child?

First published in English in 2016 by Tate Publishing (first published in 2008),36p


Childhood is a state of innocence and evolution. Beatrice Alemagna creates a beautiful and sensitive collection of children portraits offering as well a thoughtful depiction of this age.

After months of observation and numerous sketches, the artist offers an over-sized book with mixed-media portraits that all celebrate childhood and invite grown-ups to reflect on the notion of individuality and on the relevance of childhood on each person’s formation.



A child has small hands, small feet and small ears, but that does not mean they have small ideas. Children’s ideas can sometimes be very big. They amuse the grown-ups and leave them open-mouthed, saying: ‘Oh’!

Children are different, they have strange habits, cry loudly to make sure they are heard, use imagination to create coextensive spaces to perceive and understand the world.

girl with butterfly

Children come in all shapes and sizes. The children who decide not to grow up will never grow up. They keep a mystery inside them. So that even as grown-ups they will be moved by little things: a ray of sunshine or a snowflake.

Children experience wide range of emotions, some are angry or frustrated while others are always quiet but this is part of the developmental process. What they really need for their growth is kind eyes and a little light by the bed.


I loved the art in this book, it is sophisticated and beautifully captures the wonder in children. Complement it with a lovely story on the power of childhood memories.


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