Bologna Barnstorms Its Sister Fairs: New Tour at Frankfurt

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Bologna Children’s Book Fair begins a second season’s tour of award-winning illustration, set at other book fairs.

At the 2022 Illustrators Exhibition Awards program at Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Image: BCBF

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Also today: At Frankfurt: Looking at Comics’ and Graphic Novels’ Gains in the Marketplace

After Frankfurt: Sharjah, Montreal, Guadalajara
Ahead of its 60th outing, set for March 6 to 9, Elena Pasoli‘s Bologna Children’s Book Fair is planning to have an exhibition of children’s book illustrations travel to four other  international book fairs, artfully keeping itself in the minds and interests of trade visitors and exhibitors at other fairs.

So it is that the Italian exhibition will run:

  • October 19 to 23 at Frankfurter Buchmesse (Hall 4.1, H26)
  • November 2 to 13 at Sharjah International Book Fair
  • November 23 to 27 at Salon du Livre de Montreal
  • November 26 to December 4 at Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara

The program you’ll see in Frankfurt is supported by ITA, the Italian Trade Agency, and the ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation. In media messaging, organizers of “the Grand Tour,” as this four-stop look at exhibition materials from Bologna is called, say the project “aims to strengthen the Bologna fair’s international reach, promoting new international publishing opportunities.”

As our readers know, Bologna has announced that it will open its literary rights agents’ center to adult as well as children’s content next year. There’s a parallel there, of course, to the broadening of the show’s remit by bringing in the Bologna Book Plus program directed by Jacks Thomas.

Exhibiting publishers’ rights reps will have access to the renamed Bologna Rights Center.

At Frankfurt, Two Exhibitions From Bologna

The touring exhibition from Bologna Children’s Book Fair on its stop at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2021. Image: BCBF

One is called Out of Silence. Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, Narrating Through Wordless Books and it’s described as “bringing together a series of extraordinary Italian wordless-story books,” the promotional material calling these all-illustration books “one of the most dynamic genres in children’s publishing.”

That show  comprises 39 wordless works by international artists and some of Italy’s “youngest generation of authors and illustrators,” all working (quietly) to  show how “silent books” reach “beyond language barriers to children of all ages, allowing them to tell their own stories of what they see, developing creativity and an ability to ‘read’ the world.”

And a second show, A Glimpse of Italian Illustration: A Selection From the Bologna Illustrators Exhibition, features the work of Italian artists selected for that exhibition on the ground in Bologna.

At Frankfurt, the Bologna personnel will offer guided tours of the work on display, led by Grazia Gotti of Bologna’s Accademia Drosselmeier, and illustrator and critic Anna Castagnoli, a former Illustrators Exhibition juror.

Those guided events with Cotti and Castagnoli are set for October 19 and 20 at 4 p.m., and on October 21 at 11 a.m.

Licensing on Display, Too

A Bologna Book Plus / Bologna Children’s Book Fair touring exhibition program with Jacks Thomas from 2021 at Sharjah Publishing City in the United Arab Emirates. Image: BCBF

An illustration that the Bologna team says has become an educational game will be on display in Frankfurt, as will be a book that has led to an animated film.

  • The educational game in question is based on an illustration by Giulia Orecchia. This book was awarded at the Toys Awards as Best Italian Game of 2022.
  • The animated film is based on the novel Nel Mare ci sono i coccodrilli by Fabio Geda and translated into more than 30 languages. The film is adopted from a book that that director Rosalba Vitellaro and screenwriter Alessandra Viola adapted using illustrations by Annalisa Corsi, and which won the Best Short Film Award at the Giffoni Film Festival.

Giulia Orecchia, Rosalba Vitellaro, and Alessandra Viola will facilitate a series of informal meetings, “A Coffee With,” to discuss how the publishing industry can work more closely with the licensing sector to create top-of-the-range products.

Viola will be on hand on October 19 at 3 p.m., while Orecchia on October 20 at the same time will produce a discussion.

A meeting called “Bologna Book Plus: Calling All General Trade Publishers,” is set for October 19 on the 19th of October at 2 p.m.”

Lastly, the traveling show plan includes a networking party on Wednesday, October 19, at 5:30 p.m. at Spazio Italia, the Italian collective stand, Hall 4.1, F31, to highlight things planned for the Bologna fair’s 60th anniversary iteration on March.

There’s also to be an announcement of a first “market of honor” named for Bologna Book Plus.

A promotional piece created by Bologna Children’s Book Fair for its four-fair touring exhibition. Image: BCBF

At Frankfurt, join us for the inaugural edition of Publishing Perspectives Forum, a two-day program of leading and influential professionals in the international publishing industry discussing today’s challenges, dynamics, and trends.

Attendance is free of charge for all Frankfurter Buchmesse exhibitors and trade visitors. The program language is English. You’ll find full details and developing news here

Especially relevant to the work of Bologna Children’s Book Fair, a conversation on Thursday October 20 is titled “What Young Readers Need Today: Children’s Publishing CEOs in Conversation.”

What role can children’s book publishers play in supporting kids and families as they return to in-person school, socializing, and work after the pandemic? And as young readers experience this transition, the book business is also going through changes and challenges. How are publishers responding to today’s social and political climate, supply chain difficulties, and other changes while still making sure kids continue to learn and fall in love with books? Speakers:

  • Clemens Maier, CEO, Ravensburger — Germany
  • Peter Warwick, President and CEO, Scholastic — United States
  • In conversation with: Juergen Boos, President and CEO, Frankfurter Buchmesse — Germany


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Italian market is herePublishing Perspectives‘ Rights Roundups are here–this time with an entry from Giunti in Firenze, and more from us on international rights trading–the heart of Frankfurt Book Fair as the world’s largest international trade show in the book industry–is here. More on licensing is here.

More on Frankfurter Buchmesse itself is here, more on this year’s Guest of Honor Spain is here, more on guest of honor programs and markets is here, and more on international book fairs is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the global media partner of the International Publishers Association.

More from us on the still ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.