Bologna Children’s Book Fair, here I come!

Oh boy! My air ticket is about to be booked for this!

240314 - fiera internazionale del libro per ragazzi - - foto Nucci/Benvenuti UFFICIO_STAMPA01

I can’t quite believe it. I’m letting myself be swept along and away.

Thunderstorm Dancing will be going on a holiday to meet lots of people at the fair, and one of the spreads from the book will be featured in the Hello From Australia exhibition, organised by Books Illustrated.

I’ll be helping set up the stand with Ann James and Ann Haddon and generally loitering about with my eyes out on stalks. And I’ll have a stint or two doing drawing demonstrations, which should be fun. The only shame is that the fair is for book industry folk and is not open to the public so I won’t have any children coming to visit. I love the conversations that happen with children when I am drawing for them.

There will be several other Australian children’s authors and illustrators there too (and the numbers are rising). And intriguing lectures. Some of last year’s ones were called things like:

Not for girls, neither for boys: free novels to grow up freely

The universal language of fairy tales

Stories and lines
(in the Illustrator’s Café… I might spend a bit of time there)

How to Animate Your Children Story
(meaning to turn it into an animation)

Illustration beyond the page
(What happens when illustration leaves the book and expands to new worlds. From children’s plays on dogs and hyenas, to body painting the Book of Ester.)

The Future of Education is already here: Literature for Children and Young People in the Cloud

Writing for children, a different outlook on the world

Show us your illustration!

And many, many more. So I am looking forward to some great conversations and much inspiration.

I’ll also get time to pop down and visit my friend David Capon in Puglia, Southern Italy, here. Wow! How beautiful is Casa della Scrittrice?

Trulli houses from my-italy-piedmont-marche-and-more dot com

This is Puglia. Those trulli remind me of a scene I absolutely loved in The Horse and his Boy by C S Lewis. Does anyone remember the scene where Shasta is outside the walls of the city of Tashbaan, alone amongst the tombs and the sun goes down? A cat comes and keeps him company. (The cat is Aslan in disguise of course.) I just LOVE a magical cat.

One of the beautiful illustrations by Pauline Baynes

One of the beautiful illustrations by Pauline Baynes

Actually they also remind me of another favourite book, Tomi Ungerer’s The Three Robbers.

At the end of the book, the three robbers build an orphanage with domes the same shape as their hats.

At the end of the book, the three robbers build an orphanage with domes the same shape as their hats.

It’s a busy time. More soon.



10 thoughts on “Bologna Children’s Book Fair, here I come!

  1. colorbynumbers

    oh wow, I’m so excited for you (and rather envious ;) I hope you are able to document some of the amazing goings on there!


    1. Judy Watson Post author

      I’ll be documenting like mad. Don’t you worry ;-) I have been told to take barely any clothes, so that I will have an empty suitcase ready for all the books I will want to buy. So in the photos of the Fair, I may be the one in underpants.


  2. lizkingsangster

    Hey this looks exciting! You will have a great time! I would also love to visit Puglia especially to see these trulli, which, it is said, the owners would demolish in order to avoid paying taxes, then would rebuild once the taxman had gone. Rather extreme if you ask me….(Pity you are not coming to France as well! )


    1. Judy Watson Post author

      Well that is a very interesting story about the trulli, Liz! I will have to ask about it when I get there… tactfully :-) Do you know, I looked you up to see where you were exactly when I was planning my trip. Dordogne. I walked my fingers across Europe and decided it will have to be another time :-(( I also have a friend in Orihuela, Spain. My fingers walked there too. But alas, the rest of me will have to stay in Italy. I’m only going over for two weeks. But another year we hope to come as a family and then we want to see the billy cart!


      1. lizkingsangster

        Yes, sadly we are a long way from southern Italy, although not as far as you of course. But ..sigh, I do love that country. Although, having said that, the billy cart (which , I assume means soap box in Australian?) is far superior to some of that Italian Renaissance stuff that’s dotted about in Italian towns, and well worth a visit.


      2. Judy Watson Post author

        Now, I had to look up ‘soap box’ because I didn’t remember that’s what you called it, and I’ve only heard that used to describe a pedestal for preaching political views from. And I came up with this, down the very bottom of the list of urban definitions. ‘A favourite pasttime among children is to build racers from junk found around the house and garage. Usually, crates used for carrying soap are used for the “bodies”. So, a soapbox either refers to a crate used for carrying soap (wow) or the body of something young people drive about in.’ And so I think we are definitely talking about the same thing! And I’m sure Graham’s soap box is far superior to any rubbishy baroque stuff in Italy. I hope that by the time I get to see it, it will have been transformed into a new format. Perhaps that of a giant hopping flea, or a dwelling for The Old Woman who Lived in a Roller-skate.. And yes, we do call them billy carts in Australia.


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