Early childhood and performing arts

A challenging relationship explored through illustration.
Third edition 2021

Bologna Children's Book Fair is a partner of the four-year project “Mapping - A map on the aesthetics of performing arts for early years” an artistic research supported by the Creative European Programme, dedicated to the relationship between early childhood (children from 0 to 6 years) and performing arts (theater, dance, music, circus, etc.). The project involves 18 partners from 17 countries, including La Baracca - Testoni Ragazzi, the Children's Theater of the City of Bologna as well as the Bologna book fair, which creates programmes aimed at creating an interaction between the children’s performing arts and the world of illustration and literature.

In the framework of this project, the Bologna book fair organizes each year the international contest "The Children - Spectators". The best illustrations among those selected for each edition will be included, as a special “young” section, in the final large exhibition of the project, alongside the illustrations of four prestigious international artists: Katsumi Komagata, Manuel Marsol, Fabian Negrin and Klaas Verplancke.

About 584 illustrators from 61countries applied for this year’s contest, sending one illustration each. 35 artworks have been selected by a jury composed of Roberto Frabetti (founder and director of Bologna’s children’s theatre La Baracca - Teatro Testoni Ragazzi), Giorgia Grilli (co-founder of the Department of Education’s Children’s Literature Research Centre, University of Bologna), Giulia Orecchia (illustrator) and Maurizio Quarello (illustrator, Macerata Academy).

(…) As well as the child’s reaction to a circus performance, this year we saw the child’s reaction to theatre, to the spectacle of nature, before the ineffable power of music, or pure fantasticating and dream, when engrossed in the magical world of fairy stories, looking at art in museums or the fascinating contents of a book (…).  From the Jury Report.

Read full Report