Free exhibition starring some of the most memorable characters from children’s literature opens at the British Library this November

© Zog by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler  2010 (Alison Green Books)

A new, free exhibition spotlighting famous rebels in children’s literature will open at the British Library this November. Featuring such perennial favourites as Pippi Longstocking, Jane Eyre, Matilda and Dirty Bertie, Marvellous and Mischievous: Literature’s Young Rebels (8 November 2019 – 1 March 2020) will shine a light on the Library’s vast collection of children’s literature and explore characters who break the rules and defy conventions.

Showcasing around 40 books, manuscripts and original artwork, the family-friendly exhibition will include a diverse range of rebels, outsiders and spirited survivors from children’s literature spanning more than 300 years, inviting visitors to rediscover their favourite characters, as well as meeting new ones, in the home, school and on journeys.

The exhibition includes the first UK edition of Anne of Green Gables, the first version of Cruikshank’s coloured illustrations of Oliver Twist as well as original artworks for books including Tracy Beaker, What Planet Are You From, Clarice Bean?, Zog, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and Azzi in Between.

Throughout the exhibition young visitors are invited to create their own rebel tales by dressing up and reflecting on which cause they themselves might stand up for. They can also enjoy a selection of books in the exhibition’s dedicated reading area.

Lucy Evans, lead curator of Marvellous and Mischievous, said:

‘Marvellous and Mischievous is a fun, interactive exhibition all about exploring what makes a young ‘rebel’ in children’s stories. They could be a character that resists authority or breaks away from convention. Children’s literature over the last 300 years has shown that rebels come in all shapes and sizes, including children who may struggle to actually rebel and so their quest is more one of survival; these resilient characters are very much part of our story.’

Marvellous and Mischievous at the British Library is open from 8 November 2019 – 1 March 2020. The exhibition will be accompanied by a full programme of events, including a family day and events featuring world-famous authors such as Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman and Lauren Child. For more information and to book, please visit:


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