The conference Infanzie ai margini (Childhood on the Sidelines), to be held March 22 at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, explores ways to address reading challenges in “book deserts” around the world. The panel will offer a deep dive into some of these international movements, best practices and inspiring experiences in bringing books to places where resources can be scarce.

The conversation will be led by Patsy Aldana, Canadian publisher and president of IBBY Trust, and will include Zohreh Ghaeni, children’s literature expert and head of the Iranian Read with Me project; Bel Santos Mayer of Ibeac, a Brazilian community support institute working with children in favelas; Maria Beatriz Medina, from Banco del Libro de Venezuela; and Alison Tweed, chief executive, Book Aid International, UK/Africa.

“We are always looking ahead to how we can foster a love of books and reading among the next generation,” says Bologna exhibits manager Elena Pasoli, “not just for those privileged readers in North America, Europe, and Asia, but everywhere.”