The 57th Bologna Children’s Book Fair Virtual Book Fair Successfully Closed!



The fair closes having achieved extraordinary success in terms of participation and raised great satisfaction for the important operation that brought the many activities of the fair on-line

Fairtales, BCBF Galleries, BCBF TV, BCBF Global Rights Exchange
The new platforms are here to stay, with countless exclusive contents
freely accessible to the audience worldwide

May 7, 2020, Milan – The special edition of the 57th Bologna Children’s Book Fair closed today, ‘transferred’ online after the forced cancellation of the appointment, initially planned in Bologna from March 30th to April 2nd 2020, then rescheduled for May 4th through 7th. Driven by the determination  not to lose to its role as a meeting place for the international community of children’s publishing,  and thanks to a major investment making free and open access possible for all the proposed activities, Bologna Children’s Book Fair has been able to digitize the countless scheduled events, making them also accessible for an audience of enthusiastic onlookers worldwide – who were up until now precluded from the fair because of the professional nature of the event.

To follow, the figures showing the success of an operation marking an important step in the activity of Bologna Children’s Book Fair: over 500 publishers in just 4 days have registered on the Global Rights Exchange platform, for a total of 20,000 uploaded titles in digital format; 240 young illustrators from 47 countries took part in the unique opportunity of the 24H Illustrators Marathon; 2,500 illustrators from 80 countries have decorated the virtual Wall of Illustrators;

32 awards were announced online, 8 exhibitions presented to professionals of the industry as well as book lovers from all over the world, and over 40 events were featured.

Over 60,000 visitors attended this online edition (75% of non-Italians) with over 400,000 page views; BCBF TV broadcasted live shows as well as in-studio productions and live streaming events, featuring a unique and diverse programme of webinars, conferences, talks, interviews and award ceremonies, making 30,000 views in just the 4 days of the fair.

The social media accommodated the large and loyal communities of Facebook (57,000 followers), Instagram (50,000), Twitter (12,800) and Linked In (4,300), amplifying not just the featured content, but also giving voice to an audience enthusiastically engaged in the new format (with a coverage of 550,000 posts and over 670,000 tracked impressions).

The implemented platforms will now become one of the fair’s permanent assets, a tool allowing access to a great deal of contents and opportunities for everyone. In addition to the above mentioned Global Rights Exchange, whose services will remain freely available for professionals around the world until the end of the year, the online program was divided into three sections: BCBF TV, broadcast of the video contents during the fair, now available for future use of professionals as well as fans; the Fairtales blog, from now on the ‘official voice’ of the fair, with its many exclusive contents, interviews and insights; and, last, BCBF Galleries, the platform featuring the exhibitions traditionally set up in Bologna, open for virtual visits with the sole exception of the Illustrators Exhibition, namely the exhibition Figures for Gianni Rodari. Italian Excellencies, featuring the works of 21 important illustrators of various generations; the solo exhibition of Hassan Mousavi, author of the cover of the 2020 Illustrators Annual and winner of the 2019 Grand Prix of the BIB – Bratislava Biennial of Illustration; The Child Spectator, a selection of illustrations inspired by the relationship between children and performing arts; A Universe of Stories. Starring: the Book, the exhibition of ‘books about books’ curated by Accademia Drosselmeier in collaboration with ALIR-Association of Independent Libraries for Children; the exhibition dedicated to the ten years of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair – Fundación SM International Illustration Award; Beyond Sight / Oltre la vista / Miru or koete, a project born in collaboration with JBBY – Japanese Board on Books for Young People, Itabashi Art Museum, Tokyo and Palaexpo in Rome to make part of the Illustrators Exhibition accessible to the blind; and finally, the solo exhibit of Rasa Jančiauskaitė, author of the 2020 VisuaI Identity of the fair. Two more exhibitions add to BCBF’s “galaxy”: the exhibition of the shortlisted works to the Silent Book Contest – Gianni De Conno Award ( and the exhibition of book covers selected as part of the United Nations SDG Book Club project.

The many, much awaited international prizes, traditionally awarded at the fair, were announced virtually: among these, the BOP – Bologna Prize for the Best Children’s Publishers of the Year; the Licensing Awards; the second edition of the Carla Poesio Award, acknowledging the best degree thesis in Literature for Children; the annual ARS IN FABULA – Grant Award, to an unpublished under 30 artist of the Illustrators Exhibition, and the In Altre Parole prize, designed to support young translators; also featured were the video extracts of the announced winners in the various categories of the BRAW – BolognaRagazzi Award, as well as the book trailers of the awarded titles. Last, the traditional live announcement of the winners of the Hans Christian Andersen Award (care of Ibby) and the Premio Strega Ragazze e Ragazzi (with the collaboration of

In addition to the awards designed to support and appreciate talents of illustration – young artists as well as established professionals –  other important opportunities emerged during this special online evocation: the new virtual graphics of the famous, unique Wall of Illustrators, recreated online from May 4th through 7th, its digital walls filled with “virtual” business cards of illustrators from all over the world, to be seen by publishers and professionals – a true hotbed of potential new collaborations; the Illustrators Survival Corner, created by Bologna Children’s Book Fair in collaboration with Mimaster Illustration, which on May 5th took the form of the 24H Marathon – The Worldwide Illustrators Survival Portfolio Review, a live 24-hour portfolio-reviewing marathon, involving 24 experts worldwide who – according to their time zone – reviewed and assessed the work of 240 young illustrators.

Among the many conferences and seminars held on the stage of the virtual trade fair – beginning with the inaugural round table of nine international publishers who discussed and exchanged opinions on post-health-emergency strategies –  the following definitely deserve a mention : the focus on comics “THE FAST GROWING CHILDREN’S COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS MARKET” and “COMICS IN BASQUE COUNTRIES”; the “BOLOGNA LICENSING TRADE FAIR WEBINAR”; “WELCOME TO THE CHINESE MARKET. COMMON CHALLENGES, SHARED OPPORTUNITIES”, in collaboration with China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair and China Publishers Magazine; the “FOCUS MARKET ON RUSSIA – NEW MICBF IS COMING!”, in collaboration with Moscow International Book Fair; moreover, “A TRIBUTE TO GIANNI RODARI” with video extracts of some among the 21 artists of the exhibition “Figure Per Gianni Rodari. Italian excellencies”; the by now traditional and much awaited “DUST OR MAGIC MASTERCLASS ONLINE EDITION”; “WHEN ADULTS READ TO CHILDREN”, about adults and children sharing reading experiences; “THE GREAT ESCAPE: LIBRARIES AND BOOKSTORES, THE FASTEST (AND LEGAL) WAY TO EXIT THE QUARANTINE” hosted by Giovanni Nucci; the tribute to Gianni Rodari ON THE MOON – THE POETRY OF GIANNI RODARI READ BY FOUR GREAT ARTISTS”; “LIBRARIES, CHILDREN AND PANDEMICS” with the members of the Libraries Commission and Children’s Services of the AIB – Italian Librarians Association; and, finally, two appointments curated by IBBY Italia: “THE WINNERS OF THE HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN AWARD“, with the live participation of the winning illustrator Albertine, and “READING TO GROW UP”, a live conversation hosted by IBBY Italia, featuring Roberto Piumini and Fabio Stassi.

The parallel Bologna Licensing Trade Fair (BLTF) also achieved great success online with the publication of the unique Property Guide, with over 300 IPs, webinars and other virtual events, making it possible to meet the main players of the industry, and reconfirming itself as a privileged platform connecting the worlds of licensing, publishing, digital and entertainment.

Last, a few of the events initially scheduled for this year are now planned for the 58th edition of the fair scheduled in Bologna, as announced on April 12th through 15th, 2021 –namely the many activities brought by Sharjah Country Guest of Honor, and the exhibition on Sarah Mazzetti, the illustrator winner of the 2019 the Bologna Children’s Book Fair – Fundación SM International Illustration Award.

BolognaFiere SpA
BolognaFiere SpA is one of the main exhibition companies in Europe, with over 85 events organized worldwide. As a leader in commercial events covering a large number of areas – including art, children’s publishing, cosmetics, agri-food, construction and design, automotive – Bologna Fiere has developed a unique and cutting-edge portfolio of international events, including Russia, North America and Asia, and 8 well-established fairs in China.

Bologna Children’s Book Fair
Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the world’s leading event of the children’s publishing industry. Created in 1964, it attracts around 1,500 exhibitors and 30,000 visitors to Bologna every year from over 80 countries: a unique and diverse audience of publishers, agents, developers, illustrators, authors, booksellers and players involved in contents for children including publishing as well as multimedia and licensing.

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