Bologna Children’s Book Fair:√

April 29, 2016 at 11:46 am 1 comment

My husband and I just returned from the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the largest children’s book fair in the world, and a big bucket listing for me.IMG_1254We arrived on Sunday, the day before the fair opened, and attended a related event at the Museo D’Arte Moderna Di Bologna.  Picture book authors Andrea Antinori and Somin Ahn were signing their book THE TIME AND THE WHALES at a wine and cheese, buzzing with pre-fair energy. IMG_0517IMG_0521IMG_0518

I thought this was a clever display for Un Minuto, on the right, and may try the idea myself for events.

Entering into the Bologna Children’s Book Fair on opening day is like stepping through the looking-glass, an overstimulation of sights and sounds, various languages overheard, walls lines with eye-candy illustrations pinned by hopeful artists, and rows and rows and buildings and buildings of booths from around the world.  IMG_0536IMG_0543Since I’m half-Polish I had to take this one!


I met a lovely British art director, which set my day into motion for swallowing my shyness and introducing myself to some key people in the industry.  I have my husband to thank for this.  He’s participated in many trade shows and told me to put myself out there and meet the right people.  We only had one day there and it was the best one–opening day–so I wanted it to be a success.  I shared a lot of my brochures and business cards and gathered just as many from some really friendly and helpful colleagues. As an author, spending many intimate hours tapping away on your computer, you lose a little perspective about what’s going on in the publishing world.  This show fast-forwards you into the exciting global picture.

IMG_0525IMG_0529 The tone overall tended toward selling foreign rights, discovering talented illustrators, and what’s new in digital design. Whether you’re an illustrator or author, if you’d like to meet with an agent or publisher, you must make an appointment months in advance.  IMG_1252.jpgIMG_1253.jpgIMG_0539IMG_0503After the fair we walked along the main street and I had an incredible, though oily rich calamari salad.  Don’t make the ugly American mistake of asking for a little butter with your bread instead of olive oil… This is what I got–a bowl of butter, yum!  My husband wisely ordered the Pasta Bolognese, what Bologna is knows for.IMG_0551IMG_0509Determined to find some Italian shoes to replace my Ohsotouristatennies, I went to the fun flea market and met Grace Vignola, an ebullient italian who loved speaking broken english and helping me with my even more broken italian.  I so wanted to buy a pair from her stall, but the shoes she’d brought over from her store, handed down through the family, didn’t have my surfboard size..otto.   Still, she invited me to her house next time I’m in Bologna and I have her info. on a piece of shoe box.

Like it is after attending any great literary event, I needed to write.  As we trained from Bologna to Monaco, our final stop of the trip, I worked on my YA history mystery.  I was invigorated,  bathing in the afterglow of an experience that revealed the Children’s publishing industry is not only alive and well, but sizzling.IMG_0563

If you’re fortunate enough to visit Bologna, (and I hope you do because the Italians are lovely) I encourage you to add the 2017 Bologna Children’s Book Fair to your bucket list.  Don’t be intimidated by its size and global reach.  It’s a great way to connect with like-minded people from many countries and just might be a happy turning point for you.



Entry filed under: links, On writing for children.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Cathy Ballou Mealey  |  April 29, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Great photos – always fun to see the diversity of books at Bologna!



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