Happy Birthday Bologna!

Bologna International Children's Book Fair opens today, celebrating it's 50th Anniversary. Words & Pictures would like to wish all the SCBWI publishers and agents every success and much energy for the next three days. We are behind you!

Every other year SCBWI has a stand at the fair, the next will be 2014.

Duelling illustrators at the SCBWI stall in 2008:
Left to right: Dough Cushman, Bridget Strevens-Marzo, and Paul Zelinsky illustrate while SCBWI's then international coordinator Erzsi Deak read from her picture book text. Photo courtesy of Erzsi Deak
Anita Loughrey manning the British Isles
Showcase at Bologna in 2012. Photo courtesy of Anita Loughrey

The British Isles gang at the 2008 showcase (left to right): Margaret Carey, Natascha Biebow, Anne-Marie Perks, Sarah McIntyre, Candy Gourlay, Trish Philips. Photo courtesy of Candy Gourlay

Babette Cole exhibiting at the 2008 SCBWI Showcase.
Photo: Candy Gourlay

Through the years, Candy Gourlay and Bridget Strevens Marzo have blogged about Bologna and given me permission to extract some snippets. Here are three interesting memories from recent years:

on the growing acceptability of the comic book
 But David (Saylor) predicts the dawning of a "golden age of comics for kids" as the gatekeepers of our children's reading life realise that "visual literacy" has a role to play in keeping kids reading.

on Richard Peck's keynote
"In all his books," he said, he always has an older character. "I always put old people in, just in case there are no old people in my readers's lives. Just in case they no longer have to write thank you notes to their grandparents. A book, like a school, should provide what is no longer available in life ."


on interactivity and  Martin Salisbury describing himself as a 'dinosaur in a digital world'

Could narrative structure and the new idea of interactivity be opposing forces?  How will we fill those  gaps  between pictures or page turns that leave us a space to imagine in the way that Scott McCloud describes so well in his Understanding Comics?   He stressed how vital it was to think of this digital book or app, creatively, as an entirely new media. 

In 2013 what are we thinking about comic books and apps? Does Richard Peck's wonderful thought about what books give children, still resonate? Do you have a memory of Bologna?


  1. It's just struck me - for the first time ever my name is being mentioned at Bologna. I've gone all wobbly!


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