The 60th Bologna Children's Book Fair ended last week

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair came to a close last Thursday. This year, as many as 43 Polish publishers exhibited at the 60th anniversary edition of Europe's largest children's book event. The Book Institute was responsible for the organisation of the Polish stand.

More than 1,400 exhibitors from almost 90 countries took part in this year's event. Over the four days, 325 events took place, complemented by 13 comprehensive exhibitions. The fair also saw the presentation of the Bologna Ragazzi Awards - the most prestigious international awards for children's and young people's books, comparable to the Oscars.

This year, there were as many as 43 exhibitors at the Polish stand. The large number of publishers interested in participating in the fair has resulted in a larger Polish stand area of 160 square metres. The list of Polish exhibitors who exhibited in Bologna included Agora dla dzieci, Albus, Debit Druganoga, Drukarnia Skleniarz, DTagency, Dwie Siostry, Ezop, Funpark, Gryf Direct, GW Foksal, Helion, HulkyBulky, Instytut Marka Kamińskiego, Kocur Bury, Literatura, Literówka, Mazowieckie Centrum Poligrafii, Muchomor, Nasza Księgarnia, Opolgraf, Ozgraf, Poławiacze pereł, Powergraph, Publicat, Skrzat, Sto stron, tatarak, Widnokrąg, Wolno, Wytwórnia, Gdańskie Wydawnictwo Oświatowe, Druga Strona Poznania, Media rodzina, Dzika małpa, Narodowe Centrum Kultury, Poradnia K, Znak, Fundacja Instytut Carla Mengera, Zielona Sowa, Kici Nici, Kropka, Oryginały.

As is tradition, along with the inauguration of the Bologna Children's Book Fair, the Book Institute's catalogue "Polish Books for Children & Young Adults" premiered, presenting excellent Polish books for young audiences that were published last year.

There were also other Polish highlights - among the finalists of the Silent Book Contest was Polish illustrator Aleksandra Artymowska with her latest, as yet unpublished book Night Expedition, and the annual “Illustrators Exhibition 2023”, an exhibition of works by the most interesting illustrators of children's books, showcased the work of two Polish illustrators - Gosia Herba and Marianna Oklejak. A total of 80 illustrators from around the world took part in the event.

In addition, the exhibition accompanying the Bologna Ragazzi Award included another Polish book – Nikifor by Maria Strzelecka, published by the Rzeszów-based publishing house Libra PL. Also, in a special section prepared to celebrate the 15th edition of the Opera Prima award, aimed at debutants, the book Gudu i Gwai (“Gudu and Gwai”) by Maria-Luisa Uth, published by the publishing house Dwa Siostry, will be presented among twenty other titles.

Ukraine was undoubtedly in the spotlight during the event. Last year, the Ukrainian stand was symbolically empty; this year, visitors to the event could enjoy a moving exhibition of Ukrainian illustrators, 'Ukraine Illustrated', featuring a selection of works by Ukrainian artists who painted a portrait of their homeland after a year of war. The prestigious Premio BOP - Bologna Prize for the Best Children's Publisher of the Year - has been awarded to the Lviv-based Old Lion Publishing House. In addition to the Old Lion Publishing House in Lviv, Trinta Zero Nove (Mozambique), Wonder House Books (India), Editorial Amanuta (Chile), La Courte Échelle (Canada), and Magabala Books (Australia) were also recognised.

The Bologna Children's Book Fair also hosted a discussion panel entitled 'Raising readers from an early age', organised by the Global Network for Early Years Bookgifting in collaboration with EURead. It is worth recalling that the Book Institute has been a member of both organisations since 2018.

To mark its anniversary, the Children's Book Fair has invited some of the biggest names in the field of illustration as well as publishing and criticism of children's and young people's literature from around the world. Guests included: Albertine Zullo, Beatrice Alemagna, Rotraut Susanne Berner, Marc Boutavant, Rebecca Dautremer, Laura Carlin, Suzy Lee, Nicholas Jubber, Katsumi Komagata, David Levithan, Leonard Marcus, Manuel Marsol, Sarah Mazzetti, Hasan Mousavi, Fabian Negrin, Roger Mello, Elena Odriozola, Martin Salisbury, Alessandro Sanna, Axel Scheffler, Susanna Tamaro, and Klaas Verplancke.

The Bologna Children's Book Fair (BCBF) also included, for the second time, the in-person trade fair Bologna Book Plus, which was conceived as a complement to the main event.