Trade Fair on Tour: Bologna Children’s Book Fair and Book Plus in India

In News by Porter Anderson

Bologna Children’s Book Fair and Bologna Book Plus will have a stand this year at the upcoming New Delhi World Book Fair.

‘Bambini e bambole’ (‘Children and Dolls’) by Gaia Stella, from Emme Edizioni, a piece in the ‘Illustrations for Gianni Rodari. Italian Excellence’ exhibition that’s part of Bologna Children’s Book Fair ‘Grand Tour’ display stopping at the New Delhi World Book Fair this month. Image: Emme Edizioni, BCBF

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

Bologna and Its Book Plus Program at Delhi
When the New Delhi World Book Fair opens on Saturday (February 10), the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and its associated Bologna Book Plus will be there.

Not only will the Bologna team be in touch with illustrators and others in the industry on the ground in Delhi, but they’ll be displaying to one of our largest international markets some of the reasons that Bologna Children’s Book Fair, now in its 61st year, is the world’s largest and most influential book publishing trade show based in content for kids and young adults.

With their own stand in Hall 4 at Booth G-03, the Bologna programs will be previewing the 2024 Bologna Children’s Book Fair and its Bologna Book Plus component directed by Jacks Thomas, set for their run this year, as our readers know, April 8 to 11.

A program about the upcoming events in Italy is to be held on February 13 at the Indian Habitat Center on Lodhi Road in Delhi from 6:30 to 9 p.m., followed by a live-painting performance with Alessandro Martorelli, or “Martoz,” an Italian cartoonist and street artist, and Orijit Sen, an Indian graphic artist and designer. That program is organized in association with the Italian Cultural Institute of New Delhi.

The Bologna delegation also expects to stage an edition of its well-known “Illustrators Survival Corner,” which regular Bologna trade visitors know is an overwhelmingly popular component of director Elena Pasoli‘s annual presentation at BolognaFiere.

Developed with the Italian publishing design and illustration training program Mimaster Illustrazione, the Survival Corner will give Bologna a chance to offer workshops, portfolio reviews, and “ask me anything” master classes to illustrators in India.

Guests who are expected to meet with local attendees are to include the previously mentioned Martoz, plus;

  • Illustrator and comic book artist Elisa Macellari
  • Wonder House Books’ Prashant Pathak
  • Bonito Editorial’s Elisabeth Pérez Fernández
  • Illustrator and author Ivan Canu
  • Illustrator Sophie Benini Pietromarchi

The Delhi appearance coincides with the last gallery stop of its “Grand Tour” traveling show, which, as you may remember, was opened at Frankfurter Buchmesse and then made stops at New York City, Guadalajara, and London, before moving on to India.

Two Illustration Exhibitions in the ‘Grand Tour’

‘Le avventure di Cipollino’ by Stella Ghermandi from Editori Riuniti, a piece in the ‘Illustrations for Gianni Rodari. Italian Excellence’ exhibition that’s part of Bologna Children’s Book Fair ‘Grand Tour’ display stopping at the New Delhi World Book Fair this month. Image: BCBF, 2000

During its display focus in Delhi, the “Grand Tour” is to feature  two exhibitions showcasing Italian publishing and illustration for children and young adults.

  • One is Honor List: Turn the World Upside Down, organized by the Italian chapter of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). The Bologna fair and the Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori, AIE) are founding members of Italy’s IBBY section. The “Honor List” of this show’s title comprises 60 titles judged to be among the strongest books released in Italy for children and YA readers.
  • The other show is a familiar one, the Illustrations for Gianni Rodari: Italian Excellence curation first created to mark the centenary of the birth in 1920 of Gianni Rodari, the first Italian author named a laureate of the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1970, and still among the most revered of Italian children’s writers. This show features original works by 21 artists who have produced their own interpretations of Rodari’s work. The artists are: Bruno Munari, Emanuele Luzzati, Altan, Beatrice Alemagna, Gaia Stella, Olimpia Zagnoli, Manuel Fior, Alessandro Sanna, Valerio Vidali, Simona Mulazzani, Chiara Armellini, Anna Laura Cantone, Fulvio Testa, Maria Chiara Di Giorgio, Giulia Orecchia, Nicoletta Costa, Federico Maggioni, Francesca Ghermandi, Pia Valentinis, Elenia Beretta and Vittoria Facchini. And this part of the exhibition element of Bologna’s Delhi appearance is produced by the fair and curated by the Giannino Stoppani Cooperative/Academia Drosselmeier.

In preparing for its appearance at New Delhi’s fair, Bologna refers to Scholastic India‘s survey data, which has indicated that some 92 percent of Indian children report that they read books, with 77 percent telling researchers who survey them that they think reading books for fun is important.

The children’s book sector  in India is reported by Bologna to have set a sales record in India, with more than 6 million copies being sold for 1.8 billion rupees (US$21.7 million. The average cost of a book in India is currently said to stand at 282 rupees, roughly €3.16 or US$3.39.

Bologna’s appearance at the Delhi fair—the first time for this effort to stage a presence in advance of the annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair—is being made possible with the support of ITA, the Italian Trade Agency, and MAECI, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Bologna Book Plus, of course, is produced with the support of the AIE.

At the international book store on the grounds of the 2023 Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Image: BCBF

More of our coverage relative to the 2024 Bologna Children’s Book Fair

More on Bologna Children’s Book Fair is here, more from us on children’s books is here, more on publishing and book awards is here, more on world publishing’s trade shows and book fairs is here, more on India’s book market is here, and more on the Italian book market 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.