What does the fair look like?
The Bologna Book Fair is held in 5 large exhibition halls. There is also a very spacious entrance area where there are many special displays and events.
Some publishers have huge booths, filled with 20 or 30 small tables, like Penguin publishers. Other publishers have a small booth, about 4 by 4 meters. Sometimes publishers share a booth. For example, the Nordic countries set up a large group booth and each publisher has one area (a table or two in front of a wall where their books are displayed) for meeting buyers. As I've wandered I've seen constant meetings, and even seen a couple contracts signed. Here is a photo of some of the French booths.
Agents have a separate area, that is off the beaten track where they can meet with publishers or buyers.
In addition to the booths filled with books, events are constantly held. In the main area is the illustrator’s café, with a small amphitheater. Examples of few events: Shaun Tan, a play from Slovakia (the Guest of Honor Country), Leonard Marcus speaking about Margaret Wise Brown and picture books, and a talk about the development of European children’s literature. There is also an author’s café, a translator’s center, and several other areas where other presentations are held.
Book sightings: a couple books by authors I know.
The Crimson Cap by Ellen Howard.
The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry. Her book is in the middle shelf section, the middle book in the second shelf up. I wanted to show a typical wall--and this is fairly standard in many booths.
Also on this wall (far left, upper shelf) is The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z by Kate Messner.
If I was a book buyer, I’d pick up the book Un Gran Sueño (A Big Dream) published by Kalandraka in Spain. I’m hoping an American publisher buys rights.
This book has great illustrations, the right amount of words, a fun story and is a wonderful picture book. I think it is one that American kids would really enjoy, plus I think it is one that would make money for the publisher. The author is Felipe Ugalde, from Mexico.
I've seen so many incredible books from all over the world. It is great to walk around and hear so many languages spoken and to see all the books for children.
I'll be back tomorrow and will wrap up the fair. I'll share a few more book sightings and will share what I've seen that this fair does for artists and illustration of books.
Sarah Blake Johnson