Children’s Books Salon: Building a ‘Global Community’ of Publishers in New York City

In News by Hannah Johnson

The second Children’s Books Salon in New York City brought together 26 international and nearly 70 American children’s book publishers for meetings and discussions.

At the 2019 Children’s Books Salon in New York City. Images: Frankfurt Book Fair New York, Hannah Johnson and John Harris

By Hannah Johnson | @hannahsjohnson

‘Inspiration and New Ideas’
For a second year, the Frankfurt Book Fair New York and Publishing Perspectives organized its invitational Children’s Books Salon in New York City as a unique, three-day event that provides a setting for international children’s book publishers to widen their professional networks, discover new titles, and learn about the US children’s book market.

This year’s salon took place in New York City on February 12 to 14, 2019 and was made possible by the generous sponsorship of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in Abu Dhabi and support from the Federal Foreign Office of Germany. The expanded program included matchmaking meetings between American and international publishers, visits to major American publishing houses, panel discussions, and multiple networking events.

Twenty-six publishers from 13 countries—Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, UAE—traveled to New York City to participate in the salon. They met nearly 70 American editors, publishers, and rights directors during the three days.

“The Children’s Books Salon in New York gave me this amazing opportunity to once again feel proud of what I do and feel myself a part of global community of children’s book publishing.”Tina Mamulashvili

Anže Miš, publisher and CEO of Miš Publishing in Slovenia and one of the international participants, said the salon was “a fantastic opportunity to meet publishers from the United States and gain insight into both their market and their challenges.”

Sara Ehnholm-Hielm, publisher of Förlaget in Finland, said she thought it was “a great Children’s Books Salon with a relaxed, inclusive atmosphere. I didn’t know it was possible to meet so many publishers and learn so much in so few days. Now the world seems filled with opportunities and kind colleagues, and I am filled with inspiration and new ideas.”

Part of this year’s expanded salon program included more time for international participants to get to know each other and their lists, as well as more presentations and panel discussions about trends and opportunities in the children’s book market.

Katharina Braun, editorial director of children’s fiction for arsEdition in Germany, said: “The salon was such an exciting event. I was thrilled to meet so many children’s books colleagues from all over the world. The meetings and discussions were very interesting and informative and gave me lots of new ideas and perspectives. I’m sure the new information and international contacts will be very helpful and fruitful for our publishing house. I can’t wait to see which new exciting projects will result from the salon.”

The salon’s international participants discuss trends and titles with editors from HarperCollins. Image: Hannah  Johnson

 

One of the goals of the Children’s Books Salon is to bring together children’s book editors and publishers who aren’t always able to meet at other international book fairs, and to strengthen the international connections in the children’s publishing sector.

To that point, Tina Mamulashvili, managing director of Bakur Sulakauri Publishing in Georgia, made the following observation about her experience at the salon: “Being a publisher in a small country is a challenge: you have to always balance the books you really like with the commercial ones. Working in a small market like the Republic of Georgia does not allow us to err.

“Sometimes you doubt whether or not you did it right when you chose this path, but then you meet all these wonderful people from all around the world, who speak the same language, who publish the same books, who face the same problems, and you gain the confidence—yes, being a children’s book publisher is really rewarding and important. And the Children’s Books Salon in New York gave me this amazing opportunity to once again feel proud of what I do and feel myself a part of global community of children’s book publishing.”

Elena Pataki, publisher of Patakis Publishing in Greece, said that a week after the salon, she was still thinking about the experience: “My thirst for the exchange of views and insight from the publishing world was appeased during three days filled with seminars, meetings, and discussions with amazing people in New York! What an experience! I’d do it again”

This second salon follows on the success of the inaugural event in 2018, after which international participants reported both buying and selling titles as a result of their meetings with American publishers and each other.

“We received very positive feedback after our first Children’s Books Salon last year and encouragement from participants to continue organizing this event,” said Thomas Minkus, vice president of the Frankfurter Buchmesse. “The wonderfully enthusiastic and knowledgeable group of publishers who joined us at the second salon this February, both from the US and many other countries, made this event a true success and a pleasure to host.”

2019 Children’s Books Salon Program

February 12:

  • International introductions
  • Panel: HarperCollins editors
  • Visit to Scholastic
  • Panel: Translation funding
  • Networking reception

February 13:

  • Presentation: Licensing for Children’s Books
  • Meet the Experts: Panel of children’s book publishers
  • Matchmaking meetings
  • Reception, sponsored by Norwegian Consulate

February 14:

  • Visit to Abrams
  • Visit to Penguin Random House
  • Visit to Children’s Bookstore
  • Farewell reception

The Children’s Books Salon is organized by the Frankfurt Book Fair New York and Publishing Perspectives. More information is online at www.rights-salon.com.

About the Author

Hannah Johnson

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Hannah Johnson is the Publisher of Publishing Perspectives. Before joining PP in 2009, she worked as Project Manager at the German Book Office New York.