Pop-up book artist to visit BYU


The scholarly communication librarian at the HBLL had heard the story “The Wizard of Oz” before, but when she read Robert Sabuda’s pop-up book version, the story came alive in a different way. The pop-up book, especially the tornado effect created with a string which unravels as the page opens, impressed her.

Sabuda, pop-up book artist and New York Times best-seller, will be speaking in the first-floor auditorium of the HBLL Wednesday at 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Librarian Elizabeth Smart loves Sabuda’s books, especially “The Wizard of Oz.”

“It is so ridiculously fun and so pretty,” Smart said. “It moves so much more than you would expect.”

Smart said she thinks BYU is very privileged to have Sabuda give a presentation.

“I think it’s amazing that he’s come to BYU because he just brings a lot of fun to reading,” Smart said. “I think Utah and BYU is an audience that really appreciates creativity and then the skills to act on that creativity and produce something beautiful.”

Sabuda’s presentation will include a brief history of pop-up books, how he works and how pop-up books are made. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

“You’ll never think of pop-up books the same way after seeing the presentation,” Sabuda said in an email.

While doing an internship with Dial Books for Young Readers during his junior year at Pratt Institute, Sabuda decided he wanted to be an illustrator. In 1987, he illustrated his first series, “Bulky Board Books.” After the series, he continued to illustrate books but truly rose in popularity when he started to publish pop-up books in 1994. Along with authoring his own books, Sabuda has taken popular stories, such as “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and created a pop-up book version.

In addition to presenting at BYU this week, Sabuda is speaking at the biennial Moveable Book Society Conference in Salt Lake City. Since Sabuda was speaking at this conference, the library had the opportunity to invite him to speak while he was in town, said Roger Layton, library communications manager at the HBLL.

“One of the things I hear is great about him is that he’s happy to share tips and tricks of working with paper,” Layton said. “He loves to share, and we love to learn.”

Layton recommended that those who particularly enjoy illustration, art or books attend this event.

“We are lucky that he is coming to visit,” he said. “We are excited about it, and we hear a lot of people are excited about it.”

Maggie Kopp, a curator for the L. Tom Perry Special Collections in the HBLL, had not heard of Sabuda until the library asked her to do a display case of his work. As she put together the display case, the books impressed her.

“I have never seen anything like the books he has put together,” she said. “They are nothing like the pop-up books I had when I was a little kid. These are so much more complex, and they’re just really amazing.”

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