Riddell, Scheffler contribute to freedom of speech title

Riddell, Scheffler contribute to freedom of speech title

Illustrators such as Chris Riddell [pictured], Axel Scheffler and Peter Sís have contributed to a book defending freedom of speech after the terror attack on Charlie Hebdo in France.

The book will be published on the 12th February by German children’s publisher Aladin and is entitled Illustrators Defend Freedom of Speech, or Zeichner Verteidigen Die Meinungs Freiheit in German.

Publisher Klaus Humann said created the book in response to last month’s terror attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which saw 12 people lose their lives. 

“After what happened in Paris I thought it would be a good idea to collect the best cartoons about the event, but then I thought no, we’re a children’s publisher so why not ask what our illustrators thought about the situation,” he told The Bookseller. “We wanted to show what kind of a weapon a pencil is and how powerful it can be. There are a variety of pictures – some provoke, some are more sad. It shows the mixed feelings there are about what happened.”

He added: “I was not really a fan of Charlie Hebdo but they have to have the right to express their feelings, even if I don’t agree with most of their pictures.”

The book has 29 illustrations in total from artists based in Germany, the UK, France Belgium and Australia and the US.

The Riddell drawing shows Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic, protecting an illustrator [below], while the Scheffler illustration features various animals showing support for other creatures and using pencils to cross divides. Some are more provocative and the first image in the book, by the artist Atak, shows two children reading Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

The book will retail at €12.90 and all profits will go to PEN’s Writers in Prison programme in Germany. “Everyone worked for free on it, even the printers and the paper suppliers, so there will be a lot of donations going to PEN,” said Humann.

Aladin plans to only publish the book in Germany at the moment, rather than sell translation rights abroad, but Humann said: “There are not a lot of words in the book so I’m sure people will buy it online from all over the world.”