The Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) is preparing to give full voice to its cosmopolitan spirit by engaging directly with the international book community in advance of next year’s 61° iteration of the fair, 8 to 11 April 2024 in BolognaFiere.
The third Grand Tour, a fully-fledged journey around the world, will see the Bologna suite of three fairs take part in five prestigious events in Frankfurt, New York, Guadalajara, London and New Delhi. Exhibitions, meetings and opportunities for discussion and exchanging ideas with professionals in the book industry (publishers, authors, illustrators, graphic designers and others), will all be promoted during the tour.
It has a dual aim: to develop its network of international partners and encourage their participation at the BCBF, while promoting the very best of publishing and the Italian publishing sector around the world, laying the foundations for new opportunities for cultural exchange and trade relations.
First of all, in the centenary year commemorating the birth of the great 20th Century Italian author, BCBF has chosen to include in the Grand Tour the exhibition Italian Excellence – Illustrations for Italo Calvino, curated by the Accademia Drosselmeier/Cooperativa Giannino Stoppani, promoted by the Emilia-Romagna regional administration and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
This will be flanked by the presentation of the IBBY Italia Honour List – Turn the World Upside Down, organized by the Italian section of IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People, of which BCBF and the Association of Italian Publishers (AIE) are founding members.
A precious tool for publishers, teachers, librarians and the international public, the Honour List brings together 60 titles that represent the best of Italian releases for children and young people, published in 2021 and 2022, selected by a committee of experts in the sector and members of IBBY, in order to promote Italian publishing abroad and encourage its translation into other languages.
Both exhibitions will include guided tours led by experts selected by BCBF, celebrating its seventh decade with an extensive programme of initiatives with some important guests, showcasing its wealth of activities and expertise. Other integral parts of the Tour are: BolognaBookPlus (BBPlus), the trade fair extension of BCBF aimed at general trade publishing and produced in collaboration with the Association of Italian Publishers (AIE), and Bologna Licensing Trade Fair/Kids (BLTF/Kids), the leading Italian and European licensing event specifically for brands for children, teens and young adults.
Bringing three events together under the umbrella of BolognaFiere represents an opportunity to promote Italian publishing excellence around the world, made possible also thanks to the support of ITA – the Italian Trade Agency and theb(MAECI).
FRANKFURT BOOK FAIR (FRANKFURTER BUCHMESSE) – 18/22 October 2023
The tour will kick off with the Buchmesse, the world’s leading event for general trade publishing and an important opportunity for the development not only of BCBF, but also for its extension dedicated to general publishing BolognaBookPlus. The Frankfurt Book Fair will be particularly special this year in the run up to Italy’s role as Guest Country 2024. Illustration and book exhibitions, guided tours, and focus sessions on licensing and video content: Bologna’s participation in Frankfurt will provide important opportunities not only for in-depth discussions on a broad range of topics, but also for networking and consolidating partnerships.
NEW YORK – 18 October/31 December 2023
The exhibition dedicated to the work of Italo Calvino is set to feature on the New York scene. The Society of Illustrators, with which BCBF has built a solid relationship in recent years, will host the illustrations inspired by the literary production of the great author who is also much admired by the American public, in addition to a programme of events and meetings that will take place at the Society of Illustrators headquarters and the Rizzoli Bookstore, offering opportunities to bring the Fair into contact with new publishers and professionals. BCBF’s guests in New York, illustrators Andrea Antinori and Irene Rinaldi, will take part on 13 November, in a discussion panel looking at the relationship between illustration and literature. Maria Russo (publisher and former literary critic for the New York Times) and Grazia Gotti (Accademia Drosselmeier, curator of the exhibition), together with Steven Guarnaccia (illustrator and designer), will also take part. American children’s publishing is one of the most important markets in the world and represents a key interlocutor, as well as a fundamental business vehicle, for the Fair and for all Italian publishers.
GUADALAJARA INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR (FERIA INTERNACIONAL DEL LIBRO DE GUADALAJARA) – 25 November/3 December 2023
The Illustrators Survival Corner – one of the most successful initiatives developed as part of BCBF, in collaboration with Mimaster Illustration, and the Literacy Mediation Today: Readers Tomorrow conference involving H.C. Andersen Award winner Maria Teresa Andruetto, will form the main pillars at Guadalajara. The Guadalajara Book Fair is a key event in the field of general book fairs, second only to Frankfurt, in a part of the world that has a special interest in Italy and that continues to represent for BCBF an area of great potential and a point of reference for the entire Latin American and Spanish-speaking publishing world. It represents an important opportunity for networking and growth for BCBF.
LONDON – 23 January 2024
In the British capital, and renowned cultural city, London, BolognaBookPlus will host the Illustration Forum at The Groucho Club, in collaboration with Mimaster Illustration: a celebration of design and illustration in general publishing, as well as a networking opportunity for the illustrators of the future. Two panels will discuss the role of art and design in publishing and how to approach a career in the digital world, and there will be an In-Conversation with a well-known British illustrator. These will be followed by portfolio reviews and networking, providing opportunities to meet and exchange ideas.
NEW DELHI WORLD BOOK FAIR – 10/18 February 2024
According to a survey conducted by Scholastic India, 92% of Indian children read books and more than 77% believe that reading books for fun is very important. In 2021, the children’s book segment set a new sales record with more than 6 million copies sold, for a total value of 1.8 billion Indian rupees (the average cost of a book being 286 rupees, the equivalent to 3 euros). This should be viewed in the context of a country with a steadily increasing literacy rate and a large proportion of the population consisting of school-age children and youngsters. Indian publishers are investing more and more in the sector, and using modern technologies to boost productivity.
Long familiar with, and appreciative of, the excellence of Indian publishing, as well as the market for children’s books, this year for the first time BCBF, BBPlus and BLTF/Kids will head to India to meet publishers, authors and illustrators at the New Delhi World Book Fair.