Bologna Children’s Book Fair 54th edition

2 Mar - 2017

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The latest trends in the publishing market, the innovations in digital publishing, the very best of illustration from around the world, the most prestigious awards and much more.

Bologna Children’s Book Fair, from the 3rd to the 6th April 2017, is preparing its 54th edition, confirming its position as the leading international event for those involved in publishing for children and young people. An unmissable appointment also for the trade in copyrights, the Fair is an opportunity to discover the latest developments in the sector, meet the leading illustrators and authors of the moment and the winners of the most prestigious awards. Over 20 thousand m2 of exhibition space, 1200 exhibitors from over 75 countries, 26 thousand professionals from the sector arrive at the pavilions of BolognaFiere each year (figures from last year’s edition) in order to discuss the latest trends and developments in publishing and the digital sphere, take part in hundreds of workshops and conferences and visit exhibitions of the very best of international illustration. These statistics underline the global leadership in the sector for children and young people of the Bologna event, which for over 50 years has demonstrated an ability to bring together diverse international communities. The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is a unique and unmissable international appointment.


In this edition for the first time, Bologna Children’s Book Fair has decided to entrust the challenge of illustrating the event to an emerging talent in illustration, led by the graphic design studio Chailab. The artist that will give shape to the 2017 campaign is Daniele Castellano, who was selected for the illustrators’ Exhibition 2016. The then unpublished illustrator Castellano won the opportunity, following the boost to his international visibility at the Fair, to sign a contract and work with Chailab on the project for the visual identity of BCBF 2017. Thus was born “The natural habitat for children’s content”, an identity flexible like an alphabet, identifying and representative like a brand, communicative like an illustration, visible like an emblem and capable of narrating stories like a novel. This opportunity to work and attain visibility for emerging illustrators selected for the Exhibition will be continued also at this year’s edition for the 2018 campaign.


The 2017 Guests of Honour are Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, a territory with a long tradition of publishing houses specialized in books for children and young people, a tradition that dates back to the 1400s with the Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, Europe’s oldest press. Over the centuries this tradition has remained alive and today the sector of literature for children and young people and illustration play a leading role in the cultural and publishing landscape. Entitled Sharing a Future: Books in Catalan in Bologna 2017 and organized by the Institut Ramon Llull with the collaboration of other involved sectors, the programme for the initiative will highlight the quality of illustration in Catalonia and the Balearic islands and the reality of books and reading in the Catalan language for children and young people.


The Illustrators’ Exhibition was established in 1967 and went on to become the most prestigious competition for the sector in the world. In 2016 the Exhibition celebrated its 50th anniversary. In January in the pavilions of BolognaFiere an esteemed international jury selected the artists that will be the protagonists of the 2017 Exhibition. There are 75 talents,both published and unpublished, from 26 different countries, representing diverse cultures, sensibilities and styles. Their works, 375 to be precise, will bring to life the Illustrators’ Exhibition during the Fair and will be published in the Illustrators’ Annual, the catalogue of the Exhibition published by Corraini Edizioni and a review of the latest developments in global illustration. Accompanying the Illustrators’ Exhibition will be the personal exhibitions of Juan Palomino, winner of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair– Fundación SM international Award for Illustration 2016 and the 2016 winner of the Andersen Prize, Rotraut Susanne Berner, while “Pop-up show: the magic inside books” is an exhibition of pop-up books that tells the story, through the pages on display, of the changes and the evolution of the construction of three dimensional books over time and the innovations that have made these paper sculptures increasingly complex and fascinating.


Bologna Digital Media (hall 32, from the 3rd to the 5th April) is the pavilion, launched with great success in 2016, where publishing meets innovation and content for young people finds its multimedia expression. Leading international brands, such as Google and Amazon, and innovative start ups will discuss all the facets of content for children and young people: the main themes of the 2017 edition of Bologna Digital Media will be: augmented reality, creative technology and the new printing and digital services. The Digital Café and the Digital Conference Room will be the locations for international meetings at which exhibitors and visitors can experience, discuss and plan.


Again this year the Bologna Children’s Book Fair will take centre the stage for the international awards for children’s publishing: the BOP– Bologna Prize for the Best Children’s Publisher of the Year for international publishers; theBolognaRagazzi Award that acknowledges the best editorial-graphic projects; the BolognaRagazzi Digital Award, dedicated to the best creations in digital media; the Bologna Children’s Book Fair– Fundación SM International Award for Illustration aims to support new talent in illustration; the Strega Ragazze e Ragazzi Prize, in its second edition, this year is set to focus on the key role played by translators; the scholarship,  ARS IN FABULA – Grant Award; In Other Words, the new project by Booktrust of the United Kingdom and finally, the new edition of the translation competition promoted by BolognaFiere, In Altre Parole.


The Bologna Children’s Book Fair each year attracts artists, illustrators, graphic designers, literary agents, publishers, authors, translators, business developers, licensors and licensees, packagers, printers, distributors, booksellers, librarians, teachers, suppliers of publishing services and all of the professional figures involved in the world of children’s books. For this reason the Fair organizes dedicated areas reserved for meetings, seminars and workshops.

Authors Café: numerous meetings to discuss publishing, journalism and illustration.

Digital Café: meetings and discussions about innovation and multimedia in publishing.

Illustrators Café: debates and meetings on the latest developments in illustration around the world.

Translators Café: themed seminars and laboratories with the leading operators in the sector.


The Illustrators’ Survival Corner, designed by Mimaster illustrazione (Milan), is a new professional space dedicated to illustrators where they can share their experiences and questions, seek assistance and clarification. The Corner is a place for discussion between illustrators and professionals for whom the Fair is a key event. The Corner offers a free daily programme of events and workshops.


Completing the line up for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and once again taking place alongside the Fair in pavilion 31, is the Bologna Licensing Trade Fair, the only Italian fair event for the trade in licenses and the development of products based on established brands and intellectual property. Organised by BolognaFiere, this year’s event is its tenth edition. The scope of the event is not limited only to the target group of children but also to brands and property rights in other sectors, from fashion to sport. Scheduled for the 3rd to the 5th April 2017, this year too the Fair will include the participation of Italy’s leading companies in the sector as well as many international brands. The 2016 edition involved 58 exhibitors, of which 22 were from 14 different countries, representing a total of around 800 brands. The 2017 edition will take place in an even larger exhibition space in a pavilion packed with innovations and exhibitors, while there has also been an overall increase in companies that produce licensed goods exhibiting at the fair thanks to the increasing number of operators in retail, distribution and licensing among the visitors to the fair.


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