Books that celebrate THE BOOK

In recent years picture books on the subject of the book itself have flourished including stories of libraries, bookstores, publishers, activists, writers and pioneers.

This special exhibition—a project that had been in our minds for a while now—features picture books that BCBF has been collecting from across the world, including BolognaRagazzi Award submissions, titles recommended by our friends and partners’ network, and books brought back from travels and other bookfairs. The exhibition is coming to life within the challenging context of Covid-19, which has drawn a veil of uncertainty over the future. Let me say that this uncertainty makes us at BCBF even more committed to putting the Book centre stage, as a vital tool for understanding and an even more vital part of life itself.

Recent years have seen the flourishing worldwide of picture books on the world of books. Publications of enormous cultural importance, a picture book is the first rung on the reading ladder to becoming what is known in the publishing world as a ‘strong’ reader - an enthusiastic reader and book lover. The picture book titles in the exhibition are also beautifully crafted objects, key features in themselves, and places like bookstores and libraries their natural habitat to be explored and discovered as early on as possible. Many of the books on show celebrate the pioneers of this publishing sector: great writers and illustrators, but also historic publishers, editors, bookstore owners, the founders of libraries and the many activists who tirelessly promote reading. Coloured picture book pages make reading a familiar, natural activity like playing, running or listening to stories. Not merely providing information, their narrative structure works on two planes: informing but also entertaining, triggering surprise and marvel.

This collection of titles is displayed in five virtual “rooms” dedicated respectively to bookstores, libraries, writers, books and reading, and lastly, a special room looking at authors or illustrators who have most contributed to the genre.

I wish to thank all the publishers who have taken part in this special project, helping us create this exhibition in such a short time and, in many cases, offering the whole book pdf to browse through.

A special thanks goes to Accademia Drosselmeier and ALIR – Association of Italian Independent Children’s Bookstores, curators of this unique, joyful and meaningful exhibition. 

Finally, thanks as well to Andrea Antinori, who illustrated the exhibition cover, perfectly translating into art the life of reading and the magic of the book.

With My Best Wishes to You All

Elena Pasoli
Exhibition Manager, Bologna Children’s Book Fair