Beltz & Gelberg

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Beltz & Gelberg is the children's and youth book division of Beltz Verlag in Weinheim , which became known as the orange books .


The children's book program by Beltz & Gelberg was founded in autumn 1971 by Hans-Joachim Gelberg and started with eight volumes. Right from the start, the aim was to create a new generation of high-quality children's books that would freely combine the knowledge of modern pedagogy with art and children's world of experience. In addition, a number of artists and authors could be won, some of whom are already counted among the classics of the genre.

The orange books

The graphic artist Günther Stiller developed a consistent image for all of Beltz & Gelberg's books. The main feature is the eye-catching color orange, which quickly made the series known as the orange books , paired with an extra bold Gill Sans , which began to become a trend font in the early 1970s.

Stiller took a lot of freedom in terms of design and typography. Some early books can be described as experimental. In addition, the idea was not to make particularly beautiful books, as adults often expect from children's books, but on the contrary to bring them closer to the children's real world through offensive, sometimes rough design and the blunt depiction of connections. The reader should feel that they are being taken seriously and that they are on an equal footing with an adult reader.

Although the Beltz & Gelberg books received a new typographical concept from graphic designer Wolfgang Rudelius in 1986 , the bright orange color remains the publisher's distinguishing mark to this day.

Book series

While classic short stories, novels and volumes of poetry were published, Beltz & Gelberg developed book series specially created for the program and its pedagogical approach in the 1970s. Here emphasis was placed on a low price and a robust, not valuable-looking workmanship. The children should be allowed to get the books dirty without remorse.

The series of yes, no and dispute books for children by Günther Stiller, Irmela Brender and Susanne Kilian aimed to sensitize children to communication and media and to give them critical listening and healthy self-confidence in their daily use of language. The authors achieved this without being didactic , through a cheeky style and the consistent use of photos, collages and the correlation of text and images.

In the series of pictures book comics and picture stories by various authors appeared. In the foreword to the first volume, Hans-Joachim Gelberg described the comic as an important and, at the same time, misunderstood medium of the time, as the complex intellectual processes required to read and understand picture stories encouraged creative and differentiating abilities in the mind of the reader.

Beltz & Gelberg also publishes yearbooks at irregular intervals - thick anthologies with stories and pictures by many authors. The editor recommends reading the books “criss-cross”. The first yearbook Go and play with the giant was in 1972 with the German Youth Book Prize awarded.

A current series are the Gulliver paperbacks.

The colorful dog

At the beginning of the 1980s, the quarterly children's literature magazine Der Bunte Hund started under the slogan “For children in their prime” . It brought together many authors' stories and pictures. The ad-free magazine with a very classic layout also offered a storytelling competition in which many children and entire school classes took part every time. The magazine was considered a showpiece of the German cultural landscape for children and was awarded prizes.

In November 2007 the magazine was completely redesigned. The new Bunte Hund contained advertising, was much louder and aimed more at girls, who traditionally had always made up the greater part of the subscribers. In addition to subscription, kiosk sales have also started and the frequency has increased to ten issues a year. With the July / August 2008 issue, the publisher announced the discontinuation of the magazine due to declining sales, which led to widespread protests.

Authors and artists

The well-known authors and artists of the Beltz & Gelberg publishing house include Anne Bous , Julia Donaldson , Michael Ende , Klaus Ensikat , Peter Härtling , Janosch , Norman Junge , Klaus Kordon , Erwin Moser , Salah Naoura , Christine Nöstlinger , Uri Orlev , Axel Scheffler , Louis Sachar and the laboratory studio community .

Due to the retroactive takeover of Bajazzo Verlag , which specializes in children's books, from January 1, 2012, Isabel Pin's works are now also part of the Beltz publishing group's portfolio.

Individual evidence

  1. Bajazzo moves to Beltz. ( Memento from March 1, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) at: , February 10, 2012.

Web links