By: Virginia Werner
It’s time to enter the magical world of children’s literature — a world of inspiration and creation, where animals can talk and children save the world. The Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair is coming to the Shanghai World Expo Center Nov. 13-15. Publishers, agents, authors and illustrators from over 30 countries, including the USA, UK and Scandinavia, are convening to appeal to a most precious commodity – our children. And there sure are a lot of them — over 230 million children under the age of 16 in China. According the Open Book Report, in 2014 children's books sales in China accounted for 50% of the top 100 bestselling titles in the whole year of 2014.
Up to 30,000 people are expected at this event, and dedicated young readers will be given the opportunity to attend book signings, readings and workshops hosted by some of the best in the children book biz. The fair will consist of a trade and public area, and on the last day of the event the two areas will be combined.
Entry is RMB30 Nov. 13, RMB50 Nov. 14-15. Each ticket allows one kid under 1.3m to enter for free. The event will run from 9am-5:30 on Nov 13-14 and 9am-4:30pm on Nov 15.
TIP: If you are interested in buying foreign language books, Nov 15th is the day to go as all exhibitors and booksellers will be open to the public on this day.
Here are some of the best authors and illustrators to watch out for. Most events are held in Chinese but we have highlighted French and English-speaking presentations below.
This Danish picture book artist has published over 40 titles and started her career doing illustrations for newspapers and magazines before switching her concentration to picture books. Her books have been translated into many foreign languages including Chinese, Korean, English, Spanish, French, Catalan, Finish, Norwegian and Swedish and she has participated in exhibitions all over the world. She will be meeting fans and signing books – selections include the “Carl” books written by Ida Jessen and “Finn Herman” by Mats Leten. This event will be held in Chinese and English.
//Children ages 4-6, 11:15-12:15pm, Book Signing Area
From France to China: the journey of the picture book
This event will be a mobile library featuring more than 100 French picture books carefully selected by Sophie Van der Linden, French authority on children’s literature. This book collection - displayed in their original language and in Chinese where a translation is available – will be displayed on a unique installation
designed by two young architects from Qinghua University and inspired in the Tangram, a traditional logic game from China. Both this and the original exhibition trace the major milestones and trends of picture books and some of their most influential authors of the last thirty years. This event will be featured in French and Chinese, but is certainly worth a look through the exhibit even if you are an English speaker.
//13:00-13:50, Closed Stage
Illustrators Competition Showcase Wall
Illustration plays an essential role in contemporary children’s literature. A dynamic and creative field, it has gone through significant changes over the last decades as it constantly offers new and highly stimulating ways to trigger the children’s imagination.
CCBF received thousands of works from about 200 candidates from 16 countries and regions.146 works from 50 finalists have been selected to exhibit at the Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Competition Showcase and printed in the Picture Album. There will also be an empty wall where children can come and display their art work and post it on the wall.
//Nov 13-15, all day
French children’s book and comic writer Yvan Pommaux will be signing copies of his book “Notre Histoire,” which was awarded the Prix Sorcières Award for non-fiction. His books range from fantasy to historical, particularly focusing on Greek mythology. The workshop will be held in Chinese and French.
//Children ages 8-12, 9:30-10:30am, Closed Stage
Håkon Øvreås is a Norwegian author and poet best known for his book “Brune” (Brown) about a boy superhero. He has published three poetry collections, one other children’s book – “Svartle” (Black), and was the winner of the Nordic Council's Children's and Youth Literature Prize in 2014. Øvreås will be hosting an interactive “Meet Brune” workshop and book signing, recommended for children with a keen interest in superheroes. This event will be held in Chinese and English.
//Children ages 8-10, 10-11am, Dangdang Stand (A61)
Philip & Erin Stead
This husband and wife team hailing from Michigan, USA, has collaborated on multiple award winning books, including “Bear Has a Story to Tell,” “If You Want to See a Whale” and “A Sick Day for Amos McGee,” recipient of the prestigious Caldecott Medal Award. They will be signing all of the books listed above and meeting fans. This event will be held in Chinese and English.
//Children ages 5-10,10-12pm, Book Signing Area
This Amsterdam based artist and writer first started her work with Children’s literature in 1993 after the birth of her son. She will be hosting a “Let’s Write a Story Together” workshop to guide children in creating their very own short story. This event will be held in Chinese and French.
// Children ages 4-6, 10:45-11:45pm, Closed Stage
Apart from the main event list, international media group Bonnier Group stand (Stand H41) will be hosting a series of events including:
10:00-10:45am – Drawing session with award-winning Swedish author / illustrator Stina Wirsen. Participants (children under 6) will get a copy of the author's drawing book.
11:00 -11:45am – Creative Hour with British author / illustrator Yuval Zommer. Participants will get a signed poster .
14:15 - 14:45pm – Story reading from German writer Frank M. Reifenberg on his book Die Schattenbande legt los! Suggested for children age 10-13
15:45 - 16:15pm – Investigate with Swedish children's detective story writer Martin Widmark. Participants (ages 7-12) will get a map of the village where all the stories are happening.
10:00 - 10:45am – Create with Australian illustrator Jedda Robaard. Participants (under age 6) will get a set of picture learning cards.
11:00 -11:45am – Creative Hour with British author / illustrator Yuval Zommer. Participants (ages 4-8) will get a signed poster.
To learn more about the fair visit:
The online ticket sale link is below, but so far only available in Chinese: