As children’s publishers from around the world descend on (a hopefully sunny) Italy for the 51st Bologna Children’s Book Fair, running from Monday, March 24 through Thursday, March 27, here’s a look at some new things they can expect to see this year.
The inaugural Week of Children’s Books and Cultural Activities, called Don’t Tell the Grown-Ups, will open its doors and occupy all of Hall 33 at the fairgrounds (separate from the usual fair halls) from Saturday, March 22 through Thursday, March 27. Hall 33 is open to families on March 22 and March 23 – getting a weekend jump on the fair’s official opening – and to schools from March 24–27 via a separate entrance from Viale Aldo Moro. The cost of entry is five euros, though admission is free to children and university students, and to Bologna Fair attendees with a badge.
This celebration consists of a full docket of meetings, workshops, kids’ activities, book signings, interactive exhibits (including a planetarium inside the hall), and talks, and also boasts an international children’s bookstore stocked with nearly 25,000 books, both classic titles and new ones being presented at the fair. International award winning titles, including BolognaRagazzi winners, will be featured, and the store contains 18 sections devoted to such categories as picture books, teen books, “artivity” (arts and crafts), comics, dance, and books by illustrators from Brazil, this year's guest country of honor at the fair. A series of international illustration exhibitions will also be on display in and around the bookstore. To date, the roster of authors and illustrators making appearances includes David Almond, Teresa Andruetto, Oliver Jeffers, Gilles Bachelet, Roberto Innocenti, and Luigi Garlando, among others.
The Week developed out of a partnership between the Italian Publishers’ Association and the Centre for Books and Reading-Ministry of Cultural Heritage and the Environment, and was designed to promote books and reading as well as to emphasize the role of the Bologna Fair as the premier event for children’s literature worldwide. The week-long conference takes its name from author and academic Alison Lurie’s book Don’t Tell the Grown-Ups: The Subversive Power of Children’s Literature.
During Don’t Tell the Grown-Ups week, BolognaFiere and the City of Bologna will also promote reading for children through a series of events in local libraries and other cultural venues throughout the city, some of which continue into April.
Bologna Digital is a new slate of original programming focusing on digital media that essentially replaces the Tools of Change in Publishing Conference, which had been presented by O’Reilly Media on the eve of the Bologna Fair for the past three years. (O’Reilly has retired its TOC conference.) Throughout the fair, the Digital Café (Hall 26 B90) will be home base for a line-up of presentations and seminars addressing key issues of digital publishing. Bologna Digital is also offering four MasterClasses – short, intensive sessions focused on the core elements of digital publishing and featuring expert speakers. Sessions include How to Animate Your Children’s Story on Tuesday, March 25, and Story-telling and Story-selling: Digital Kids Between Transmedia Experience and Market Trends on Wednesday, March 26. Registration for the MasterClasses is required and some sessions also require a participation fee. Additional information can be found here.
The fair has increased the exhibition space in the Digital Area (Hall 26, B90), which will showcase new developments in digital media and publishing and products from app creators, device manufacturers, and publishers.
The Bologna Prize for the Best Children’s Publishers (BOP), which debuted last year, will again be honoring innovation and creativity among children’s publishers worldwide. Six prizes will be awarded, one from each of the following geographic areas: Asia, Africa, Central-South America, Europe, North America, and Oceania. Nominations are made by various international publishing associations, and winners are selected by votes from publishers who are exhibiting at the 2014 fair. Voting by exhibitors (via a dedicated area of the fair’s website) closes on March 16 and winners are set to be announced during the Bologna Fair’s opening ceremony on March 24.
To read our feature, Bologna Book Fair 2014 Preview: Emerging Imprints and Promising Publishers, click here.