Bologna: Children’s Book 101

Promoting yourself as Children’s Book Illustrator/Author At Bologna Children’s Book Fair

So you heard about Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCNF) and interested in attending but are clueless on what to do? No worries, I have some tips here that you can refer to.

PROMOTING YOUR BOOKS

  1. Work with your country pavilion/booth. If you have a book or two to promote, find out from them on how to get your books displayed at the booth.
  2. Do a book launching. Invite neighbouring exhibiting publishers to join in the fun. The possibility of publishers in finding out more about your book is there.
  3. Do a simple poster to be stuck at the Illustrators’ Wall. Since it is called Illustrators’ Wall, you can take advantage of it by printing your book cover/a page from the book with the excerpt, country booth number, and/or your e-mail address. Stick it on the Illustrators’ Wall. This way it will be easier if they want to meet you personally at the bookfair or e-mail you later. Maybe you can buy the local sim card, and add your local number on the poster. An interested publisher might want to get in touch with you fast and decide to give you a call. Who knows.
  4. Join the Bologna Ragazzi Awards. The Bologna Ragazzi Award it offers a big opportunity for the sale of copyrights on the international market. It also means you will gain special mention or visibility in the publishing world, leading to the sale of rights in many new countries.There are 4 main categories: FICTION, NON FICTION, NEW HORIZONS, and OPERA PRIMA Awards. The NON FICTION section is dedicated to informational literature in any area of knowledge, science, history, art, music, biography and current events that contribute to a child’s learning experience. The NEW HORIZONS Award is designed to acknowledge publishing houses from the Arab countries, Latin America, Asia and Africa that show great innovative talent by promoting local resources, culture and illustration. The OPERA PRIMA section is reserved for works by authors or illustrators being published for the first time. The award is given for excellence in research and implementation of an innovative publishing product.The Books & Seeds category is now back and as a permanent category – launched in 2015 for the Milan EXPO to recognise and award works that touch on the topics of agriculture, organic farming, biodiversity, nutrition, food safety and cooking.If you win, your winning work will be displayed in a glass display as well as on as many displays as possible.
  5. Visit Authors’ Cafe. BCBF organised tons of programs for 4 days, you just have to browse the schedule of talks and workshops prior to your visit. Schedules can be found online on their website.
  6. Donate your books after the fair. Sometimes a librarian will come and ask for free books. I donated some of my books to a librarian from Istituto Comprensivo Casalbuttano – Cremona, Italy, for their inter-culture program at the institute.

PROMOTING YOUR ARTWORKS/ILLUSTRATIONS

  1. Join Bologna Illustrators’ Exhibition. Th exhibition is curated by the Children’s Book Fair since 1967 offering artists from all over the world a unique opportunity to showcase their talent to a public.For participants aged under 35 are also entered in to the competition for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair – Fundación SM International Illustration Award, which offers the winner the significant prize of 30 thousand dollars, the publication of a book and the organization of a solo exhibition at the Fair in the following year’s edition.
    For participants under age 30, ARS IN FABULA – Grant Award, which is awarded annually to an artist aged under 30 at the Illustrators’ Exhibition.The Grant is awarded by a jury made up of the Master course lecturers meeting in Bologna during the Book Fair.The winner is given a free place on the ARS IN FABULA – Master Degree Course in Illustration for Publishing, during which s/he will work on a book project assigned by one of the Master course publisher partners.
  2. Illustrators’ Wall. One of the first things you’ll see is the Illustrator’s Wall. Everyone passes the Illustrator’s Wall. It’s a long sea of ‘Look at me!’ artwork. Illustrators stick on postcards, posters and business cards.Go ahead, stick something on the wall. Heck, stick a few things on the wall. You’ll get a buzz from doing it. Just make sure your email address is on whatever you stick to the wall. You never know, your work might just catch a publisher’s eye.
  3. Promotional items. You can leave some small items at your country booth (they normally welcome this effort) like mini notebooks, postcards, name cards, portfolio brochures, or anything you can think of for giveaway or you can have the option to sell as well as cheap as 1 euro or two.
  4. Visit Illustrators’ Cafe. BCBF organised tons of programs for 4 days, you just have to browse the schedule of talks and workshops prior to your visit. Schedules can be found online on their website. Who knows you might get to mingle with Oliver Jeffers or Isabelle Arsenault or Satoe Tone!

 

MEETING PUBLISHERS

  1. Meet people. A simple hello will lead to more conversation. You might meet a publisher, famous author, famous illustrator, literary agency and the list goes on. Just be sure to carry some of your name cards with you.

  2. Get in the queue. Some publishers set aside half an hour or so to meet with illustrators and authors. Just be alert for these opportunities.
  3. Walk-in. You can also walk-in and introduce yourself. If the publisher is not free to talk to you, ask them who to contact. Leave your name card and portfolio brochure/artwork prints.
  4. Choose the right publisher. Check the publisher’s house style. Do they publish fiction, non-fiction? Do they publish rhyming books? Do they publish picture books? Chapter books? Board books? Comic books? Illustrated story books? You match them with your style.
  5. To-bring list.
    . Take your business cards.
    . Put your favourite pieces in your portfolio.
    . Bring your good drawings.
    . Bring your sketchbook.
    . Smart tablet. Put some in the smart tablet if you have many artworks you want to show.

OTHERS

  1. Explore the book fair. There is so much to take in. There are talks and demonstrations and galleries. Try and make the most of what’s on offer, and be sure to look at the fair’s programmes. One of the things I really love about the fair is exploring all of the different countries’ stalls. It’s fascinating and inspiring to see so many different types of picture books. Just bear in mind that most of the action happens in the first three days. The fourth day, things are much quieter and some publishers are already packing up. And don’t forget to visit all the illustration exhibitions.
  2. Meet illustrators and authors. And buy their books! When you walk in the book fair area, just open your eyes, some publishers put up posters, some don’t. You just have to look closer, see if anybody is autographing books.
  3. You cannot get enough of books and your luggage cannot fit them all! No worries, you can buy luggage at the Sunday market where they sell luggage as cheap as 12 Euro.
  4. Reward yourself! Last but not least, after the hard work promoting your books and artworks, don’t forget to treat yourself a gelato! There are many shops serving gelato near Bologna Centrale.

And for a Malaysian who likes to go, here is a rough budget that you might want to look into:

BCBF TRIP
Cost for one person for one week*:
Flight: RM3000 (cheapest with +1 day travel trip and layover)
Dorm/cheap hotel: RM600
Food: RM700
Ground transportation: RM140
Book fair pass: RM350
TOTAL RM4790

Please take note that this is excluding your pocket money to buy your own stuff. Booking has to be made a few months earlier because the price will go up (huge difference) when it is made few days prior to your departure.

*I suggest one week because BCBF will be 4 days. Since you are already in Bologna, take 3 days more to explore Bologna city. In case you are interested, BCBF 2018 will be from 26-29 March 2018.

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World Autism Awareness Day: Paint for Autism 2017

1 April 2017 – In conjunction with World Autism Awareness Day, Early Autism Project Malaysia (EAP) celebrated with Paint for Autism, a half-day community-focused initiative that aims to empower autism awareness and acceptance in Malaysia.

The creative campaign organized under EAP’s non-profit in partnership with Yayasan Kajian dan Pembangunan Masyarakat, The Hope Project saw more than 300 participants gather at Help International School to paint 81-piece puzzle artwork by local illustrator and children’s book author Emila Yusof.

The artwork was pieced together to reveal the final artwork that illustrated the beauty that can be found in everyone’s minds. The process of having the artwork painted by different groups of people also signified the collaborative effort required of the community to support individuals with autism and their families for them to lead fulfilling lives.

“There is so much more than we can do to support individuals with autism and their families. It begins with awareness – an awareness not only of what autism is and how we can help, but the awareness of improved integration processes through schools, acting on policies that support these families and our community role that champions a heart of hope for them, and we can all do this together,” Jochebed Isaacs, Director of EAP said in a closing speech.

Among other highlights of the event included a reading session with Subang State assemblyman, YB Hannah Yeoh, who read ‘My Brother is A Bear’ by local illustrator Hsulynn Pang, presentations by kids with autism about their strengths, a dialogue session with EAP kids and an experiential maze that allowed participants to understand more about how someone with autism may feel in different situations and environments. Free initial screenings for autism were also conducted during the event.

For World Autism Awareness Month, EAP has also initiated the ‘Kindness Starts With Me’ school campaign that is focused on developing an attitude of kindness among children and educating them about autism. So far, nearly 3000 students are already part of the programme.

“It is crucial that an attitude and response of kindness towards people with autism or people who seem different in general is cultivated at a young age. Children in schools are the leaders of our next generation and teaching kindness will encourage a more accepting society but more importantly, pave the way for a more progressive nation. We hope to continue this campaign throughout the year,” said Jochebed Isaacs.

EAP Malaysia has been providing services for individuals with autism and their families for more than 10 years. Throughout this time, they’ve worked with more than 300 individuals from 30 different countries and hope to continue to work towards creating a positive impact in the lives of families with autism. The Hope Project was initiated to extend the mission to provide quality and research-based treatment for autism to those who are unable to afford it. The outwork of this vision can be found through campaigns, training services, and video resources that are available online at www.autismmalaysia.com.

 

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27th Macao Arts Festival

08 Macao Arts Festival

I am always interested to find out about Arts Festival around the world. I recently found out that Macao will be having its 27th Macao Arts Festival (MAF) and the line up of programmes looks very interesting.

Themed around “Time”, MAF will kick off under the slogan “Reshape Your Imagination. Experience the Spirit of the Times” conveying the message that classics always go hand in hand with our lives.

MAF will be orchestrating 27 fascinating programmes, divided into seven distinctive categories: Thematic Highlights, Groundbreakers, Cross-Disciplinary Creations, Family Entertainment, Quintessence of Tradition, Concerts and Exhibitions. The shows and outreach programmes, more than 100 in all, are set to satiate each and every spectator through an encounter with the soul and essence of culture and arts alongside a taste of beauty and sorrow in the passage of time.

As this year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of the western world literary giant William Shakespeare and of Ming Dynasty’s famed Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu, MAF will present a number of their works in tribute to the two virtuosos.

01 A Midsummer Night's DreamA Midsummer Night’s Dream

07-MacbethMacbeth

The cultural spectacular will kick off with Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream rendered by the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Macbeth, presented by Third World Bunfight from South Africa. It will be seasoned by a rewritten and adapted score originally conceived by Giuseppe Verdi.

I am currently into Shakespeare and read some of his plays (read each one over and over because of the Early Modern English that was written in a rhythmic poetic iambic pentameter), and since I have yet to read both plays above, I thought it will be interesting to watch. Yay, yes, I am attending the festival!

06-The-Legend-of-the-Purple-HairpinThe Legend of the Purple Hairpin

Two of Tang’s tours de force will be staged: local Cantonese Opera maestro Chu Chan Wa and a number of professionals will interpret Tang’s widely admired The Legend of the Purple Hairpin. Meanwhile, The Peony Pavilion, recognised as one of the Four Great Chinese Classical Dramas, will delicately portrays bittersweet love in the form of Yue Opera excerpts.

02-Krapp's-Last-TapeKrapp’s Last Tape

Other highlights include renowned 20th century playwright Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape interpreted by consummate U.S. director Robert Wilson in person. To debunk stereotypes of disability and theatrical experience, a group of mentally challenged persons will perform in the Disabled Theater with their homespun bodies. Tao Ye, a talent in contemporary dance circles, will pilot TAO Dance Theater through “6” & “7”, presenting minimalism in dance. All these shows, among others, promise immense excitement.

The Cultural Affairs Bureau of Macao is dedicated to introducing tremendous international productions to widen audience’s horizons and to encouraging local artists as well as offering arts education, thereby accumulating a profound and sustainable element to Macao’s culture.

If you happen to visit Macao between 30th April – 29th May, you might want to attend and check out MAF’s programmes: 27th Macao Arts Festival.

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BICBF 2016

I went to Bologna International Children’s Book Fair for the third time this year. Every time, I went crazy looking at picture books and illustrations. I bet you would to if you were there.

bicbf01Malaysia Pavilion organised by Perbadanan Kota Buku.

bicbf02Some of the titles by Oyez!Books.

bicbf03I was invited by Hunan Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House to attend the launching of Tang Sulan’s picture book series, of which one of the books is illustrated by me; ‘The Other Side of the Bridge’. It was launched by the winner of Hans Christian Anderson Awards 2016, Mr. Cao Wenxuan from China. Miss Lim Lay Koon, International Rights Director dari Yusof Gajah Lingard Literary Agency (YGL) and Oyez!Books was also present to witness the auspicious event.

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Winner of the Fiction of Ragazzi Award (Fiction): MON TOUT PETIT, text by Germano Zullo, illustrations by Albertine. Winner of Non-fiction: LIBROS PARA MAÑANA (Series),text by Equipo Plantel illustrations by Marta Pina, Mikel Casal, Joan Negrescolor & Luci Gutiérrez. Winner of New Horizons: TONGUE TWISTERS (Lisanak Hisanak), text by Fatima Sharafeddine and illustrations by Hanane Kai. Winner of Opera Prima: PACHO RADA, LA LÉGENDE!, text and illustrations by Johanna Benz.

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This year, BICBF celebrated 50 years of Illustrations Exhibition. The exhibition “Artists and Masterpieces of Illustration, 50 Illustrators’ Exhibitions 1967-2016” told the story of half a century that has seen a community of artists, publishers and readers meet each year to share their great passion: books and reading. The narration of
five decades, in the company of illustrators that have made their debut at the Fair or participated in the exhibition before going on to achieve international fame.

“Artists and Masterpieces of Illustration. 50 Illustrators’ Exhibitions 1967-2016”: an exhibition and a publication that intends to record the evolution and the latest trends in illustrated books for children through the work of artists from all over the world. In Italy with Altan, creator of Pimpa, and Roberto Innocenti with the unmissable Rose Blanche; together with great masters of illustration, Bruno Munari, Iela Mari and Lele Luzzati, to artists such as Chiara Carrer, Fabian Negrin and Alessandro Sanna, and the very young; from Britain, Quentin Blake, illustrator of Roald Dahl, Tony Ross, who is adored by the very young for his Stories of a Princess Series, including “I want my Potty!”; from France, Jean Claverie, author of Little Lou, Little Lou, and Yan Nascimbene, the refined illustrator of Italo Calvino; from Prague, the grand dame of illustration, Kv?ta Pacovská; from the United States, Eric Carle, creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and David Macaulay; from Australia, Shaun Tan, with The Arrival, a pertinent story of migration; to the South Korean Suzy Lee with The Wave, a precious bookwithout words, a cult work for readers of all ages, just to name a few.

Here are more photos:

bicbf07Illustrations by Korean illustrators.

bicbf08Illustrations by Taiwan illustrators.

bicbf09Books from Germany,Country of Honour this year.

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Best regards,
Emila, Corniglia,
Cinque Terre, Italy.
10/04/16,10.45pm.

 

 

 

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BACA’s Meet The Author Series 2016: Emila Yusof

Last Saturday, I was given the honour to be the first author to appear in BACA’s Meet The Author Series 2016 at BACA – The Reading Room & Cafe, Temerloh, Pahang.

Apart from signing books, I conducted a drawing workshop, where children learned how to draw Dina, a girl protagonist in my books: My Mother’s Garden, My Mother’s Kitchen and My’ Father’s Farm.

18 children turned up and we had fun drawing Dina together. Here are some of the artworks done by the beautiful and bright children:

kid's-drawings

Here’s one special drawing (based on the cover of my book: My Father’s Farm) by Aina who travelled from KL to attend the workshop:

ainas

More pictures from the workshop:

YEN

Fatin

kids

Kids at work.

withFatin

Fatin Irdina.

ZhengJi

Zheng Ji.

 

 

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Bookaroo Literature Festival, Sarawak 2015

When I was invited by Jo Williams from the Bookaroo Trust India team to join its literature festival in Sarawak as a speaker, I was skeptical. I have never speak in public and never want to speak in public because I have doubt about myself; I feel that I am not good/expert enough to talk. So I told Jo, I had to pass the offer as I am not much into speaking.

But Jo, she did not gave up on me. She told me that I just have to do things in my capacity of an illustrator. I just need to draw with the kids, tell them what to draw on the doodle wall and that’s it. I quickly agreed and off I went to Sarawak to join the fest that was held on 28th – 29th March, 2015 at Pustaka Negeri Sarawak.

My first session went off in the morning with hundreds of kids turning up to join the doodle session. I started off with some doodles on the six feet wide wall of paper and they came and fill it within an hour! Some even took the effort to colour the doodles. It was such joy to see it happening before my eyes.

Kids colouring doodles

But on the next day, the rain was pouring so heavily and kids did not make it to my 2nd session. But that was okay as I had the volunteers to help me fill the doodle wall. It was fun to see enthusiasm on the face of’ bigger kids’ when they were told they can draw too.

The crowd started to come in after lunch when the rain stopped and thank God that the library was a full house again like the day before.

Anyway, let me tell you a bit about Bookaroo and what they do.

Bookaroo, the first children’s literature festival in India, was founded by children’s book activists; Swati Roy, Venkatesh M. Swamy and Jo Williams, in 2008, with a mission to bring children and books together in a borderless world. After organising several book festivals in Delhi, Srinagar, and Pune, it has now expanded to it’s first international venue: Kuching.

Pustaka Bookaroo or Bookaroo Literature Festival in Kuching kicked off on March 23 where speakers visited 18 schools in and around Kuching where they gave talks, did storytelling and few other fun activities. The highlight of the festival was held in Pustaka Negeri Sarawak where it brought two days (28-29 March) of exciting activities with storytellers, authors, illustrators and performers.

Those attended were Ng Kok Keong, Golda Mowe, Sarah Mounsey, Jade Fang, Stephanie Wong, Tanya Batt, Ary Nilandari, Dewi Tri Kusumah, Sophie Dewayani, Anushka Ravishankar, Ameen Ul Haque, Heidi Munan, Jantan Umbat, Jean Voon, Rosemarie Somaiah, Vashti Liong and Wendy Cooling.

bookarooteamParticipants with Bookaroo team; Swati (front left), Venkatesh (3rd row right, blue shirt) and Jo Williams (2nd top left, clad in orange shawl).

jadeJade Fang during her session: The Cat’s Whiskers. Jade Fang is an illustrator from Malaysia who currently lives in Singapore.

Seen interested in making the art was Wendy Knight (wearing Indian kurti), who was a volunteer at the festival. Wendy has been living in India for the past 3 years.

ameen

Ameen Ul Haque, also known as the Storywallahs, sang and played harmonica while telling stories.

stephStephanie Wong in her Monkey Faces workshop. Stephanie is an illustrator from Singapore who illustrated the famous Diary of Amos Lee book written by Adeline Foo.

tanyaTanya Batt in her Spooky Stories session. Tanya is an author and storyteller who hails from New Zealand.

I took the time to sit and listen to her story of a boy Pondika Cherika, who got eaten by a monster. The kids, their parents and I loved her and her story!

Pustaka Bookaroo will come back next year in Sarawak and I will be sure to join in the fun again.

Before I left the library for the airport, Jo said, “you know what, every time I go out, I will think of you because I mounted your illustrated postcards on my front door,” Jo ended the conversation while hugging me and telling me that she will send me the invite to the next Bookaroo edition in India.

 

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