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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BOLOGNA: OFF THE BEATEN PATH

BOLOGNA. So what comes to your mind when I mention Bologna? Spaghetti Bolognese? Beware, I can read your mind.

things Bologna

To tell you the truth, at first I thought Spaghetti Bolognese is Bologna’s supposed signature dish, but when I was there, I simply could not find any Spaghetti Bolognese. I learned from the locals that they use tagliatelle instead of spaghetti and the meat-based sauce is called ragù. The earliest documented recipe of an Italian ragù comes from Pellegrino Artusi who first published a recipe in 1891 for a meat sauce characterised as being “bolognese”. There you go, the name to look for ‘tagliatelle al ragù‘. Finding a halal one is quite hard in Bologna, but it’s not a big deal as I can always make Spaghetti Bolognese (or tagliatelle al ragù) at home.

I visited Bologna last March for the second time to attend the world’s biggest children’s book fair. I went to do research on my new children’s books, besides being there at the Malaysia Pavilion to promote my books for international licensing rights.The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the most important international event dedicated to children’s publishing and multimedia industry. I was there in 2010. I wanted to go back this year because previously I didn’t have much chance to really explore the halls and really look at children’s books displayed at the book fair. I also didn’t have the chance to stick my illustrations on the Illustrator Wall because I didn’t know about it until I was there. I am thankful to KLM Royal Dutch Airlines for sponsoring my return flights to attend this prestigious event and eventually get to stick my illustrations on the wall.

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You see, this is the kind of book fair that I quickly feel belonged. There were children’s books everywhere. There were millions of books on display! Just imagine that I was like a child in her playground getting the right toys!

For your information, Bologna Children’s Book Fair has been around for 53 years. Bologna Children’s Book Fair is an annual event where authors, illustrators, literary agents, licensors and licensees, packagers, distributors, printers, booksellers and librarians meet. Here they sell and buy copyright, find the very best of children’s publishing and multimedia production, generate and gather new contacts while strengthening professional relationships, discover new business opportunities, discuss and debate the latest sector trends.

I am proud that this year, my books and books that I illustrated were also being displayed at the Malaysia Pavilion. But yes, the hidden agenda was to just travel. Prior to Bologna, I went to Arcidosso, a commune in the Province of Grosseto in the Italian region Tuscany, including Florence and Venice.

Apart from being at the book fair for a few days, I got a day off to explore some parts of Bologna city with my illustrator friend, Evi, who stayed with me in a rented room in an apartment at Via Ferruccio Garavaglia that we booked through Airbnb. It’s way much cheaper to rent through Airbnb rather than hotel room for 2 pax. We stayed with the owners, Katerina and Fabio, a very friendly and nice couple. We rented the room because it is situated near the book fair, only about 10 minutes’ walk.

We went out to the city early in the morning, took bus 35 to the city and started walking to Via dell’indipendenza, a business street that is not far from Bologna Centrale (the main station) via Piazza XX Settembre. There was an open market at Piazza XX Settembre called Fiera del Libro that sells books and prints. This book market takes place twice a year: March to May (Spring) and from October to November (Autumn). Evi and I bought some art books at very good price.

Opposite Piazza XX Settembre, there’s Montagnola Park. Montagnola Park is the oldest park of Bologna and it has always been a location for cultural performances, games and sports competitions. This park is open to the public since 1664. The park is accessible via two beautiful flights of steps decorated with sculptures and reliefs, including a beautiful fountain depicting the horse and virgin in the grasp of an octopus.

We later strolled along the porticoed Independence Street towards Piazza Nettuno. Independence Street is the major shopping strip, with an abundance of local boutiques and jewellery stores, not to mention the international ones. I bought a pair of Marietta’s suede boots for 10 Euros and a Pull&Bear jeans for 17 Euros. Oh, and a sweater for 15 Euros at a boutique that I can’t remember the name.

Along the walk to Piazza Nettuno, we saw the baroque Cattedrale di Bologna, a church that is dedicated to Saint Peter. Most of the present building dates from the 17th century, with a few parts from the late 16th century. The architecture is so grand and amazing.

When we got to Piazza Nettuno, we saw a rally going on. The rally, called S.O.S. Venezuela, was in support of students and protesters in Venezuela who are standing up against President Nicolas Maduro’s regime. S.O.S Venezuela was simultaneously held in dozens of cities throughout the world on the same day. The objective of the gathering was to create public awareness of what is happening in Venezuela as well as gain signatures for a petition to get elected officials to take a stand and denounce the human rights violations. We didn’t join but just stood there watching the rally while looking at beautiful buildings in the area including the Fountain of Neptune.

The Fountain of Neptune (Fontana di Nettuno), a monumental civic fountain with a bronze figure of Neptune, extending his reach in a lordly gesture of stilling and controlling the waters. I was mesmerised to learn that in 1920, one of the Maserati brothers, the artist Mario Maserati, used this symbol in the logo as it was considered particularly appropriate for the sports car company due to fact that Neptune represents strength and vigour. In addition, the statue is a characteristic symbol of the company’s original home city, Bologna.

Other than Maserati, I thought that it is good to mention here that Ducati and Lamborghini was also established in Bologna in 1926 and 1963 respectively.

Also in the vicinity of the square is the big Biblioteca Salaborsa. Salaborsa is Bologna’s multimedia and general information library, which provides users of all ages with books, newspapers, magazines, videos, compact disks, data banks, along with cabled and wi-fi internet connections. Access to the library is free.

Opposite of Salaborsa is the Town Hall (or Palazzo d’Accursio), consisting a set of buildings that were united over the centuries. In the 15th century, it was restored by Fioravante Fioravanti, who added, among other features, the Clock Tower.

clock tower

And the clock made us hungry! We didn’t realise that we had walked and explored for 5 hours! It was already 3pm and we decided to eat rice. We walked the same route back to the station and had our late lunch at a Pakistani cafe. While eating, we planned to explore more parts of the city but suddenly the rain poured. We decided to just go back to the apartment and rest. The 5-hour walk (with a heavy camera, bag full of books, new pair of boots, jeans and sweater) had an effect on my back.

We did go out to the city once or twice to have lunch and buy few other things during other days but that was about it since we had limited time. After discussing much about it, Evi and I like to go back to Bologna on a more relaxed trip, not as an excursion for an event.

Bologna has so much to offer and makes a perfect off-the-beaten-path destination for savvy travellers. It is a delight to simply wander and discover unexpected sights and architectural masterpieces from the past, not forgetting the tagliatelle al ragù.

Getting to Bologna: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines operate twice daily from Kuala Lumpur(KUL) to Bologna (BLQ).

P/S: I wrote this article for Gaya Travel magazine and will appear in the latest issue 9.3.

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Bologna Children’s Book Fair

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the most important international event dedicated to the children’s publishing and multimedia industry. I was here in 2010. I wanted to go back this year because previously I didn’t have much chance to really explore the halls and really look at children’s books displayed at the book fair. I also didn’t have the chance to stick my illustrations on the Illustrator Wall because I didn’t know about it until I was there. As I wrote in my previous post, KLM agreed to fly me to Bologna to realise the many dreams that I wanted to do. I am truly thankful to KLM.

illustratorwallMe at Illustrator Wall.

You see, this is the kind of book fair that I quickly feel belonged. There were children’s books everywhere. There were millions of books on display! Just imagine that I was like a child in her playground getting the right toys! And oh, Oliver Jeffers was even there this year! But too bad I didn’t get the chance to meet him. I collect his children’s books.

For your information, Bologna Children’s Book Fair has been around for 53 years. Bologna Children’s Book Fair is an annual event where authors, illustrators, literary agents, licensors and licensees, packagers, distributors, printers, booksellers, and librarians meet. Here they sell and buy copyright, find the very best of children’s publishing and multimedia production, generate and gather new contacts while strengthening professional relationships, discover new business opportunities, discuss and debate the latest sector trends.

I am proud that this year, my books and books that I illustrated were also being displayed at the Malaysia Pavilion.

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Here are some photos from the book fair:

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Dina, the character from my books was on display alongside with illustrations by Yusof Gajah and Jainal Amambing, two award-winning illustrators from Malaysia.

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Malaysia Pavilion.

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Me holding my book, Dapur Emak Saya, together with (from left) Yusof Gajah, MamaZakian andPuan Sri Diah, from Karangkraf.

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Award-winning books.

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I am crazy over The Forever Flowers by Michael J. Rosen and Sonja Danowski but it was not for sale. The illustrations only have 2 colors: black and red. Loving the illustrations and color concept. Beautiful book!

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Marco Somà, illustrator of La Gallinella Rossa book, the book that I bought and offered as giveaway last March.

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Me already thinking of going next year 🙂

Getting to Bologna: KLM operated 2 time(s) daily from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Bologna (BLQ).

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Bologna

I stayed in a room (booked via airbnb) with another illustrator friend, Evi, and the room was cosier than Lorenzo’s place. It has hot shower and heater. We stayed with the owners, Katerina and Fabio, a very friendly and nice couple. We rented the room because it is situated near the book fair; about 10 minutes walk.

I had a day free before the bookfair and went to visit Bologna town with Evi, Pak Yusof (well-known illustrator from Malaysia) and his wife, Mama Zakiah. We took bus 35 to town and from the station we walked along Via dell’Indipendenza to Piazza Dell’8 Agosto. Previously there would be a massive Sunday market but when we reached the square, there were only few stalls selling cheese, vegetables and fruits.

bologna

bolognavege

We didn’t buy anything, so we walked back on Via dell’Indipendenza before reaching Piazza Nettuno.

bologna_indipendenzaVia dell’Indipendenza

When we got to Piazza Nettuno, we saw a rally going on. The rally, called S.O.S. Venezuela, was in support of students and protesters in Venezuela who are standing up against President Nicolas Maduro’s regime. S.O.S Venezuela was simultaneously held in dozens of cities throughout the world. The objective of the gathering was to create public awareness of what is happening in Venezuela as well as gain signatures for a petition to get elected officials to take a stand and denounce the human rights violations.

SOS Venezuela

We sat for a while looking at the rally while looking at beautiful buildings and Fountain of Neptune at the square.

bolognanettuno

The Fountain of Neptune (Fontana di Nettuno) is a monumental civic fountain with a bronze figure of Neptune, extending his reach in a lordly gesture of stilling and controlling the waters, is an early work by Giambologna, completed about 1567.

The logo of the Maserati car company is based on the trident in this Neptune statue. In 1920 one of the Maserati brothers, the artist Mario Maserati, used this symbol in the logo at the suggestion of family friend Marquis Diego de Sterlich. It was considered particularly appropriate for the sports car company due to fact that Neptune represents strength and vigor; additionally the statue is a characteristic symbol of the company’s original home city. Maserati was established on December 1, 1914, in Bologna. Other than from Maserati, Ducati and Lamborghini was also established in Bologna in 1926 and 1963 respectively.

Apart from the fountain, there’s the City Hall.

bologna_cityhall

The Town Hall (or Palazzo d’Accursio ) consists of a set of buildings, that over the centuries have gradually been joined to the oldest acquired by the city at the end of the thirteenth century. Renovated and expanded in the first half of the fifteenth century, with the help of Architect Fioravante Fioravanti, it was enriched with a clock tower in Accursio and according to examples common in central Europe, a carousel with wooden automata (Madonna with Child and the court of Magi). It was removed in 1796 (some of this still remains today, and is preserved with the Municipal Art Collections on the second floor).

The Town Hall could be trace back to 14th century. It became the seat of the Anziani (“Elder”), the magistrates of the commune in 1336, and later served as the city’s Town Hall until November 11, 2008.

Later we went walking to Piazza XX Settembre to look for 2nd hands books. We bought some art books at very good price.

bologna_books

After that were all very hungry and went to a Pakistani’s café near the station to have a late lunch. Lunch was rice and chicken and salad! Yums. I had been eating Pizza al Pomodoro and spaghetti for few days that it was good to have rice for a change.  After lunch, Pak Yusof and Mama Zakiah went to the book fair to see the preparation while Evi and I went back to our room because it was about to rain. We took bus 35 to reach Viale Aldo Moro, the nearest stop to walk to our room and walked pass Don Bosco Park. We had fun taking pictures of flowers and birds before it was raining.

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Getting to Bologna: KLM operated 2 time(s) daily from Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Bologna (BLQ).

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fountain_of_Neptune,_Bologna
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palazzo_d%27Accursio

 

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Art & Places: Fontana del Pincio, Montagnola Park, Bologna, Italy

When I walked aimlessly along Via Dell’ Iindependenza from the Bologna Centrale (after I got myself lost in Firenze), I saw this beautiful steps with a fountain that leads to a park. I did not know what park it was because I just went where my feet took me. Only after I went home, I learned about the name of the park:  Montagnola Park or Parco della Montagnola. The fountain is called Fontana del Pincio.

 

The fountain depicts a nymph on the back of a sea horse, both struggling against the embrace of an octopus in a big seashell. These elements are positioned in a lunette (semi-circle shaped space) with floral motifs. On the centre of the lunette, there is a mascaroni, or decorative keystone of a lion holding two shields that merged into one, which is actually Bologna’s state emblem. The lion’s head depicts a lion donated by Marquis Obizzo d’Este to the commune in 1293.

Looking at the sea nymph and the seashell, it reminded me of Boticelli’s painting ‘Birth of Venus’, you know the one standing on a seashell with no clothes on just her hair covering her private part. The elements of nymph, horse, seashell were among mythical elements commonly used during Early Florentine Renaissance period.

The fountain was sculpted by Diego Sarti and Pietro Veronesi in 1896, both were masters graduated from Academy of Fine Arts, Bologna. They also sculpted two bas-reliefs on both sides of the sculpture dedicated to the University of Bologna (Colombarini) and the free city (Sabbioni). The impressive staircase access to Montagnola Park was designed by Tito Azzolini and Attilio Muggia in 1892. The steps of the Pincio is equipped with 72 metal candelabra with six or four lamps.

Me standing at Parco Della Montagnola. Self-portrait, Nikon D40X with the help of a tripod and wireless remote control. Bologna, Marzo 2010

Information credit: http://www.bibliotecasalaborsa.ithttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bologna

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Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Italy

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is the most important international event dedicated to the children’s publishing and multimedia industry.


This book fair is strictly for professionals and closed to the general public. However, among the many categories of exhibitors admitted, illustrators are certainly welcome! In 2010, with the sponsorship of my book publisher, I got to visit the fair. Being an illustrator myself, I quickly feel belonged. It is such amazing to see children’s books everywhere. There must’ve been millions of books! Great works from great illustrators from around the world were all there.

One thing that I observed here, illustrators brought their portfolios and approached publishers to show their works. Some even brought mock-up books of what they have written and illustrated. I am very amazed at how they promote themselves and the effort they took to wait in a long queue just to have publishers look at their works. This I have yet to see at our local children’s book fair.

And to make it interesting, the organiser have a wall where illustrators can share their artworks. Some put up their postcards and some put up a box with flyers and namecards. I managed to grab some interesting postcards and namecards as keepsakes.

For your information, Bologna Children’s Book Fair has been around for 49 years. Bologna Children’s Book Fair  is an annual event where authors, illustrators, literary agents, licensors and licensees, packagers, distributors, printers, booksellers, and librarians meet. Here they sell and buy copyright, find the very best of children’s publishing and multimedia production, generate and gather new contacts while strengthening professional relationships, discover new business opportunities, discuss and debate the latest sector trends.

I really really had fun visiting the book fair. Hope to visit again next year to stick something on the wall.

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Italy: Day 9 – Bologna

Linda extended our stay for one more day. The initial plan was to visit Firenze Santa Maria Novella but as both of us are very tired, we settled for Bologna town. Went to Piazza Maggiore, Book Libri and the market. Got myself another luggage as I took a lot of catalogues and books during the bookfair.

sunrise in Bologna, just in front of the hotel where we stayed

Statue of Neptune, Piazza Maggiore

Linda and me went inside teh Book Libri (a bookstore) situated in a castle!

A lady performer; she sings, plays music and puppets all at the same time; amazing!

Bologna’s Trees

Sunset from my room

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Italy: Day 8, Bologna’s Children Book Fair

Some pictures from Bologna’s Book Fair:

Slovenia’s booth, love the cute birds hanging in front of their booth

The logo says it all – Penguin’s

Eric Carle Agency’s booth

Mo’s Nose’s booth

illustrators wall where illustrators can leave/stick prints

Some of the BolognaRagazzi’s illustrations

Posters

SCBWI’s booth, Linda Tan in kebaya

BolognaRagazzi Award: Winners of Fiction and New Horizon

Fiction Winner
DE BOOMHUT
etching by Ronald Tolman, illustrations by Marije Tolman
LEMNISCAAT – Rotterdam, Netherlands

New Horizon Winner
DO!
text by Gita Wolf, illustrations by Ramesh Hengadi & Shantaram Dhadpe
TARA BOOKS – Besant Nagar, Chennai, India
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