Last year one of our former students Sanne Dufft, a fabulous illustrator whose career is starting to take off, wrote a guest post about going to the Frankfurt Book Fair for our blog. This year she agreed to do one about visiting the fair to beat all fairs for the children's book industry, the Bologna Book Fair in Italy. Now English is not Sanne's native language so bear with her but I think it's really interesting to know about and we're grateful to Sanne for taking the time to do this for us. Sanne also sent me some books and I was fascinated by how, although beautiful, how melancholic most of them were. And while there are some picture books about death and sad things here in the US, most are really about being clever or being lots of fun. Something to ponder. So here's Sanne:
In October, I was invited to write a post about my favourite picture books at the Frankfurt bookfair here in Germany. In April, there was an even more important event for the world of children's literature in Europe, just around the corner: The Children's Book Fair in Bologna, Italy.
First of all: Bologna Children's Book Fair is an overwhelming experience... and utterly inspiring.
On the one hand, there's the business side of it: 1,200 exhibitors and 25,000 participants from all over the world showing their publications and trading rights.
On the other hand, there are some exquisite exhibitions of international illustration: Every year, there is the Bologna Illustrators' Exhibition, for which the works of 76 artists are chosen from over 3,000 entries by an international jury.
2016 being the 50th anniversary of the exhibition, there was also an exhibition of the most outstanding pieces of the last five decades creating an impressive view of the history of children's book illustration!
This year, for me as a German illustrator, it was also a great opportunity to get an impression of what is going on in illustration at home: Germany was Guest of Honour at the fair, so there were lots of splendid books and an exhibition of original illustrations to look at. It is a rare pleasure for an illustrator to see not only the finished book, but also the actual pieces of art. Being a traditional illustrator myself, I was surprised how many very established illustrators still work traditionally. Or is there a comeback of traditional illustration happening? In Europe? Or internationally?
When thinking of German children's literature, what comes to mind are usually the fairy tales collected and rewritten by the Brothers Grimm in the 19th century. Stories like Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White or Rumpelstiltskin have become children's classics all over the world. They have been illustrated countless times.
Also at Germany's exhibition at the BCBF, amongst the eighty outstanding picture books exhibited, there were a handful illustrating the Brothers Grimm's heritage - some of them from excitingly new perspectives: Grimms Märchenreise ('A Journey of Grimm's Fairy Tales') is a wordless picture book by Stella Dreis, which dedicates one double spread to each one of the most well known tales.
A more traditional approach is that of Henriette Sauvant, who captures the dreamy, melancholy air of the tales beautifully.
And now to finish, two more picture books from Germany, to give you a glimpse of the diversity of styles and voices over here.
Sanne Dufft lives in a magical part of Germany called Tübingen, near forests and mountains and historic castles with well-hidden dragons guarding them. You can find her and her beautiful artwork at www.sanne-dufft.de
We are so excited to be mixing things up at the Children's Book Academy, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with new books coming soon.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature the fabulous soon to be debut author/illustrator Sarah Momo Romero.
And 5th Mondays will feature awesomely irreverent and super funny Aussie author Brydie Wright.
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