The Orbis Defined

In The Children’s Literature Oxford Encyclopedia, the Orbis Pictus is defined as:

“A picture book illustrating Latin and vernacular vocabulary by COMENIUS printed in Germany in 1658, published in England in a translation by Charles Hoole in 1659 and usually credited for being the first picture book designed exclusively for children. Hoole’s translation was entitled A World of Things Obvious to the Senses. The book was for the use of children learning to read English and then, at the age of six or seven, Latin.

After an illustrated alphabet which is expressed in terms of animal or other noises each picture shows a group of numbered objects in their context, ranging from the solar system to a tailor’s shop. Then come the names of objects with descriptions. The introduction recommends that the book be freely given to children, even at home before they are put to school, ‘to delight withal as they please, with the sight of the pictures.’

            Hoole’s translation of the Orbis Pictus was often reprinted up to the 19th century. The first American edition was produced in 1810 by T. & J. Swords of New York, with illustrations by Alexander Anderson.”

Carpenter, Humphrey, and Mari Prichard. The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1984. 388. Print.


Web-Show Teachers

One particularly incredible and dedicated person to education and Latin is the Web-Show “host” under the web-name of “Evan1965.” He has uploaded 1276 videos on teaching others Latin. He has 4, 481 subscribers and a total of 680, 599 views of his videos in total. 14 (plus) of those videos are fixated on J.A. Comenius’s Orbis Pictus. His videos are not longer than 7 minutes.  “Evan 1965” teaches the Orbis as a professor would in order to teach Latin, however he does emphasize that in these contemporary times we live in, we have the most Latin texts available right at our finger tips, the only problem is very few people are left to understand the language. He mentions that Comenius’s work contains over 8000 words and he had taught it in a very effective way.

Here are two videos which I enjoyed by this Web-show teacher:  (Episode 3) (Episode 5)

Short Biographical YouTube Sketches

Having been searching for Comenius and information on the father of modern education, many videos appear on YouTube from various places. The videos are in Spanish, Italian, English and other languages which proves that even today people around the world, still understand and respect the value of Comenius’s grand work and his role in our human development history.

This is one video I was particularly fond of despite it having fewer views than the others due to the accuracy of information it presents:     <–

Orbis Pictus Award

Orbis Pictus Award Seal

   The Orbis Pictus Award for outstanding nonfiction for children was established in 1989 by the NATIONAL COUNCIL OF TEACHERS OF ENGLISH. The NCTE Orbis for outstanding nonfiction for children commemorates the work of John Amos Comenius’s, Orbis Pictus: The World Illustrated, published in English in 1658. Historically, this is considered the first book actually planned and published for children, its goal was to teach children about their world. The goal of the Orbis is to encourage the production of high-quality non-fiction and to promote its use in the classroom.

The NCTE Committee on the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Non-fiction for children established the criteria of excellence and meets annually to select the winner of any Honor Books. The first award was presented in 1990 to The Great Little Madison by Jean Fritz.

The above excerpt is taken from The Coninum Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature available at the Osborne Collection at the Lillian H. Smith Branch of the Toronto Public Library (Reference only) 

Person, Diane G., and Bernice E. Cullinan. “Orbis Pictus Award.” The Coninum Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature. New York, London: 2001. 603. Print