Shanghai’s Children’s Book Fair at 10: A Fifth Year for Its Bologna Partnership

In News by Porter Anderson

The 10-year-old Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair welcomes back its partner, Bologna, for collaboration and support.

At the China Shanghai International children’s Book Fair, a collaboration with Bologna International Book Fair and BolognaFiere. Image: CCBF

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

An Italian-Chinese Collaboration
With the China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair (CCBF) scheduled to stage its 10th edition Friday through Sunday (November 17 to 19), the program is pointing out to members of the news media today (November 14) that it’s reaching its fifth year of partnership with BolognaFiere and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF, April 8 to 11).

The association is guided by Donna Chai, general manager of BolognaFiere China with the benefit of the Bologna fair’s operation. On the Italian end of the partnership is the Bologna fair’s director, Elena Pasoli.

Not only has international attendance grown at the Shanghai children’s book fair, the company tells us, but OpenBook—Publishing Perspectives‘ associate in producing our long-running China Bestsellers reports—sees a major jump in the share of the Chinese kids’ book market. In 2012, children’s books accounted for less than 20 percent of the overall book market, we’re told, and by 2022, 10 years later, the youth-oriented sector of the market had grown to 28.62. percent.

Donna Chai

It’s interesting to note that it was at the beginning of 2016 that the Chinese government ended its “one-child” policy that had restricted most Chinese families to a single child for a period of some 35 years. Thus, four years into the decade being looked at by OpenBook for Shanghai and Bologna, a major change occurred (over a three-year staged transition), which made it possible for a family to have a larger need of children’s literature.

Thus, the cooperation between Bologna and Shanghai may have had the benefit of some very good timing: by the end of the decade in question, OpenBook saw the children’s sector growing faster than any other in China’s book market.

Bologna’s fair was first staged in 1963, while the Shanghai event would be established 50 years later, in 2013. In its 10th year, it’s expected that one emphasis at the Shanghai fair will be on the international children’s book rights trade, of course.

From Bologna: ‘Beauty and the World’

An ‘Illustrators’ Survival Corner’ masterclass at China Shanghai Children’s Book Fair, one of the programming elements contributed by Bologna Children’s Book Fair in its partnership with the Shanghai program. Image: CCBF

The 10th-anniversary show, set at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center, will have as a centerpiece, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair exhibition “Beauty and the World,” which has been curated by Giorgia Grilli, an associate professor of children’s literature at the University of Bologna.

Elena Pasoli

Its presentation in Shanghai is made possible by in part by the Bologna fair’s partnership with the university, and thus a demonstration of one partnership—set entirely in the Emilie Romagna—becoming a supportive programming element for the Bologna show’s partnership with Shanghai.

The exhibition is based in nonfiction for children, an outcome of a 15-year research project.

Bologna will also be contributing illustrators of Bologna’s popular “Survival Corner” program, a contribution curated by Mimaster Illustrazione. This is  a part of the annual offering in Bologna’s complex wealth of programming that now has been opened to young illustrators of the Asian-Pacific region.

The China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair is organized by Shanghai Xinhua Distribution Group; China Education Publishing & Media Group; and China Universal Press & Publication. It’s co-organized by Ronbo BolognaFiere Shanghai Ltd. and promoted by the BolognaFiere Group.

Illustration from the Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair in its 10th anniversary year. Image: CCBF


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair is here. More from us on China’s market is here, our closely followed China Bestsellers series produced in association with Beijing OpenBook is here, and more on children’s books 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.com, 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.