Publishing professionals from across the world gathered for the 61st Bologna Children’s Book Fair—which runs April 8 through 11—to learn about the latest trends, celebrate accomplished artists, and forge connections with colleagues in the industry. PW takes you on a photo tour with highlights from the event, featuring authors and illustrators from near and far, award announcements, after-hour publisher parties, and more.

The aisles stayed crowded throughout the fair, which featured more than 1,500 exhibitors from 100 countries and regions around the globe. Photo: Diane Roback.

On April 9, Maria Russo, former children’s books editor at the New York Times, moderated a panel titled “Dead Bunnies and Naked Bottoms: Meeting the Challenges of Children’s Publishing Across Cultures,” focusing on intercultural successes and failures, taboos, and publishing strategies. Here, panelists (from l.) Erik Titusson, founder and publisher of Lilla Piratförlaget (Sweden); author-illustrator Beatrice Alemagna (Italy and France); Russo; Neal Porter, v-p and publisher of Holiday House/Neal Porter Books (U.S.A.); and Dolores Prades, founder, director, and editor of Instituto Emília (Brazil). Photo: Roback.

Cindy Loh (l.), publisher of AMEET Publishing and LEGO Books, in a meeting with Patty Sullivan of p.s. ink. Photo: Roback.

Italian illustrator Eleonora Pace in action at the Creative Company’s stand. Photo: Kantor.

A photo-op with Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man. Photo: Roback.

Bologna veteran Klaus Flugge, who attended the very first Bologna Book Fair in 1964, greets longtime friend and publisher Markus Weber of Moritz Verlag in Frankfurt, on the Andersen Press stand. Photo: Roback.

Licensing also plays an important role at the fair. Iconic brands such as American Girl and Barbie were on display, along with up-and-coming properties. Tailored Stories, a new Colombia-based company by Maravillarte, in collaboration with Kreaktiva Lab, was named a Licensing Star of 2023 by the Bologna Book Fair. Karen Loewy, head of Kreaktiva, described the product as “wearable stories”: children’s clothing that features a QR code leading to a voice-narrated story. Here, Loewy showcases their products with colleague Violeta. Photo: Kantor.

A stand at the fair presents the exhibition “Drawing for Palestine,” which offers 56 illustrations for sale with the intent of raising awareness about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. The illustrations are all for sale with proceeds going to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Photo: Kantor

In the Literary Agents Center, (from l.) Nicole Eisenbraun and Ginger Clark of Ginger Clark Literary meeting with book-to-film guru Eddie Gamarra. Photo: Roback.

Further reflecting the fraught geopolitical climate, the BACHI Collective, which stands for Bologna’s Authors for Collective and Human Illustration, invited fairgoers to contribute drawings in response to the prompt “Children should never be…” Responses included “soldiers” and other burdensome roles that young people are forced to take on in times of war. The finished illustration will be sold for charity, with proceeds benefitting the children of Palestine. Photo: Kantor.

Sylvia Vardell, president of the International Board on Books for Young People, at a celebration following the announcement of IBBY’s Hans Christian Andersen Awards for lifetime achievement in children’s literature. This year’s winners are Austrian author Heinz Janisch, for writing, and Canadian artist Sydney Smith, for illustration. Photo: Kantor.

Greg Heffley looking a bit overwhelmed by it all. Photo: Kantor.

Nicola Robinson of Australia’s Indigenous Literacy Foundation, which was named the 2024 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award laureate. Photo: Kantor.

A celebration with the Catalan Publishers Association. Photo: Kantor.

Attendees view the 16 finalists for the 2024 Silent Books Contest for wordless picture books. The selections were narrowed down from 250 participants, hailing from 57 countries. Photo: Kantor

A celebration of Finnish author-illustrator Tove Jansson’s Moomins, which took place Tuesday night. Photo: Kantor.

Macmillan threw a stand party to toast Roger Priddy’s retirement in June. His accomplishments over the last 24 years were recapped in the speeches, including 200 million books sold around the world. “Let’s keep making books and having fun!” he said. Photo: Roback.

Artwork on display from Solo una noche by Andrea Antinori, winner of the BCBF International Award for Illustration. Photo: Kantor.

Fans pose with the Gruffalo. Julia Donaldson’s picture book, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, turns 25 this year. Photo: Kantor.

Promising illustrators from around the world descended on the fair for a chance to showcase their artwork. Photo: Kantor.

Hello Kitty says “ciao”! The iconic Sanrio character celebrates her 50th birthday this November. Photo: Kantor.

Bridging the worlds of the page and screen, children’s book luminary Mo Willems and the team behind his Hidden Pigeon Company hosted a party on Monday evening. The company is an extension of Willems’s library of kids’ and family IP, including popular characters such as The Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny, Elephant & Piggie, and Unlimited Squirrels, many of which have been—or will soon be—adapted in an animated format. In his toast, Willems said that beyond creating content, the mission of Hidden Pigeon is to inspire children. “Our job is not to make; our job is to spark.” (From l.): Emily Meehan of Union Square and Co., Willems, and Hidden Pigeon CEO Karen Miller. Photo: Kantor.

Cin cin, and see you at next year’s fair, March 31 through April 3, 2025!

Click here to read our overview of this year's fair.