Chinese books focus of Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy
Digitization a positive trend, says expert
Published: Apr 10, 2024 09:42 PM
Photo: Courtesy of Hunan Juvenile & Children's Publishing House

Photo: Courtesy of Hunan Juvenile & Children's Publishing House

The 61st Bologna Children's Book Fair kicked off in Italy on Monday with the participation of 1,500 exhibitors from around 100 countries and regions across the world. As the Market of Focus country this year, China, is hosting a number of events to promote Chinese children's books overseas as well as highlight the rise and influence of China's publishing industry on the international stage.

Founded in 1964, the Bologna Children's Book Fair is an industry leading event that has succeeded in bringing together a unique and diverse global audience. Over the past 60 years, it has grown into the world's premium copyright exchange hub when it comes to publishing, which also extends to current multimedia and licensing businesses for children's stories, illustration, animation and related areas.

China is showcasing more than 2,500 kinds of children's books at the fair, ranging from book series on traditional culture like A Collection of Stories about Chinese Pioneers and A Collection of Children's Picture Books on Excellent Traditional Chinese Culture to original high-quality children's literature books, picture books and popular science books such as the animated version of Chinese science fiction author Liu Cixin's The Three-Body Problem

These books help young children learn about truth, kindness and beauty through words, pictures and even animation. 

The Shandong Fine Arts Publishing House in East China's Shandong Province is promoting its set of books, the Youth Edition of Century Masters, which describes in detail the most representative figures in the field of Chinese literature and art in the 20th century. It fully presents in the form of pictures and texts their brilliant achievements in inheriting, exploring and innovating art, as well as their shared destiny with the nation. 

Besides book promotions and introductions, a number of Chinese publishing houses also hosted various events to mark their overseas cooperation. The Beijing-based Foreign Language Teaching and Researching Press announced a new Arabic edition of the Lisheng Polaris Graded Reader books on Monday. 

The export of the Lisheng Polaris Graded Reader to the Arab world is an important attempt for the reading content developed by the Foreign Language Teaching and Researching Press to enter the international market, according to Chen Yuanyuan, a deputy Party chief at the publishing house.

Works by Chinese children's literature writer Tang Sulan will meet with Italian readers through the latest copyright cooperation between the Hunan Juvenile & Children's Publishing House and the White Star Press in Italy. 

In Tang's eyes, the three common aspects of books that catch children's attention and favor are storytelling, childlike innocence and the values of truth, goodness and beauty. 

"These factors can attract readers' attention, allowing them to resonate and enjoy the pleasure of reading," added Tang. 

Photo: Courtesy of Zebra Education Group

Photo: Courtesy of Zebra Education Group

The digitization of China's various children books has taken the lead in the whole industry as well as catching great attention from visitors. After visiting the booth of the Zebra Education Group, which has launched a series of e-content for children, James Hall from the US publishing house Highlights, said that the digitization of children's books is a positive trend. Animated features that bring stories to life can spark joy and fuel learning among young readers. He noted that the company hopes to see even more innovative digital products and content created to support children's lifelong development. 

China's literary world houses many talented and popular children's writers, such as Bing Xin, Zhang Leping, Gao Hongbo and Xue Tao. "Their works are loved by children, teenagers and parents in China. Through copyright cooperation, these books can be read by the world's children, who learn to praise truth, goodness and beauty, and criticize falsehood, evil and ugliness," Zhang Hongbo, director-general of the China Written Works Copyright Society, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

The popularity of Chinese movie The Wandering Earth at home and abroad has led to a global craze for Chinese science fiction.

"It can be seen that science fiction and popular science literature for teenagers in China is also very popular in foreign countries. Participating in various book fairs, copyright cooperation and other methods can help promote exchanges and mutual learning between Chinese and foreign civilizations, so that more outstanding Chinese literary works can be introduced to the world," added Zhang.