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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Chinese Original Stories and Illustrations Shine at the Annual Children’s Book Fair in Bologna, Italy

CultureBooksChinese Original Stories and Illustrations Shine at the Annual Children's Book Fair in Bologna, Italy

The Palace Cats picture book series has garnered attention from visitors to the exhibition area of a Chinese publishing house at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. The book series features several furry residents of the Palace Museum, which is a large national museum complex located in the Forbidden City in the heart of Beijing. The fair, which took place from March 6-9 in the central Italian city, is a significant international forum for publishers, authors, and illustrators of children’s literature to connect and collaborate.

Now in its 60th edition, the annual book fair provides a platform for publishers to display their latest works, make connections with other professionals in the industry, and explore new partnerships. At the exhibition stand of China Science and Technology Press, which spanned 32 square meters, visitors were greeted with hundreds of Chinese story books and science books for children. Audrey Lorenzini, an independent publisher from Padova, Italy, was among the visitors who discussed copyright issues with the Chinese exhibitors.

Lorenzini explained that Italian children have limited access to books that explore Chinese culture. Therefore, she was seeking books that would enable Italians to learn more about China. While perusing the available titles, she expressed her delight at the opportunity to collaborate with Chinese publishers and bring more Chinese literature to Italian children.

Several other Chinese publishers, such as UTOP publishing house and China Children’s Press and Publication Group, also had exhibition booths that attracted publishers and licensing professionals. These visitors were keen to explore potential collaborations and partnerships with the Chinese publishers.

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is renowned for bringing together publishing professionals from around the world, creating a vibrant atmosphere of cultural exchange and cross-border cooperation. The Palace Cats picture book series, in particular, showcases the cultural heritage of China, making it a popular choice among visitors seeking to expand their knowledge of Chinese culture.

The popularity of the Palace Cats series highlights the importance of diverse representation in children’s literature. It enables children from different cultural backgrounds to learn about and appreciate different cultures. The Bologna Children’s Book Fair provides an ideal platform for publishers to showcase their works and exchange ideas to promote greater cultural awareness.

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair serves as an important hub for the global children’s publishing industry. It offers a unique opportunity for publishers to connect and collaborate, ultimately enriching the lives of children worldwide by promoting greater cultural understanding through literature.

Palace Cats and My Hillside, My Fallen Leaves were among the top selections from industry insiders at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Palace Cats, in particular, stood out for its integration of information about the 24 solar terms of the Chinese lunar calendar and the imperial palace into the stories. Meanwhile, My Hillside, My Fallen Leaves was lauded for its educational message.

Christina Wu, principal consultant with Wellread and Boekenreis Agency, was impressed by the bright and simple yet impactful illustrations of My Hillside, My Fallen Leaves. She expressed her desire to publish the book in Dutch for Dutch readers. Additionally, she praised the book’s core message about the importance of supporting and helping friends, which fosters mental growth.

The positive reception of these books among industry insiders underscores the significance of creating literature that promotes cultural understanding and educational value. The Bologna Children’s Book Fair serves as an important platform for publishers to showcase such works and for industry professionals to connect and collaborate, ultimately enriching the lives of children worldwide through literature.

Zhu Weina, senior project manager with the book fair organizer’s Chinese subsidiary, Ronbo BolognaFiere Shanghai Ltd, shares that three works from China were awarded major prizes at the Bologna fair. She notes that this represents a significant achievement for Chinese original stories, and signals that they are becoming more competitive in the global market. In the past, China was seen primarily as a buyer of content and copyright, but now it is emerging as a major creator of content that is attracting buyers worldwide.

At the fair, China Science and Technology Press sealed deals with Brazilian and Russian publishing houses to publish ten sets of Chinese works in their countries. Carlos Eduardo Cavalheiro Filho, CEO of Bom Bom Book’s LTDA of Brazil, praised the presentation of Chinese history in the books and illustrations. He expressed his excitement about cooperating with the Chinese press and publishing these works in Portuguese. Many of the translated works are already famous in Brazil, and he looks forward to bringing them to a wider audience.

Slava Fedorov, CEO of Russia’s IRSI Publishing House, shared that many Russians have a basic understanding of traditional Chinese culture but are not familiar with modern Chinese literature, especially children’s literature. He noted that they are just beginning to introduce modern Chinese literature to Russia, and he sees growing interest from Russian readers.

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair attracted more than 1,400 exhibitors from 90 countries and regions, including world-renowned publishers like Penguin Random House and HarperCollins Publishers. The presence of so many exhibitors underscores the importance of the fair as a platform for exchanging ideas and forging partnerships.

The awards for Chinese original stories at the fair demonstrate that China’s investment in content creation is paying off. As Chinese literature gains recognition and appreciation on the global stage, Chinese publishers are able to engage in more extensive cooperation with international partners. Through such partnerships, more readers worldwide will have the opportunity to experience the richness of Chinese culture and literature.

The deals signed with Brazilian and Russian publishing houses highlight the global demand for Chinese literature. The international success of Chinese literature is not limited to these two countries alone, as demonstrated by the presence of publishers from 90 countries and regions at the fair. The growing popularity of Chinese literature around the world is a testament to its universal appeal and enduring relevance.

Overall, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair provides an important platform for showcasing the best in children’s literature from around the world, including the works of Chinese publishers. As the fair continues to grow in influence and reach, it will play an increasingly important role in fostering cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

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