The winners of the Bologna Prize for the Best Children's Publishers of the Year have been revealed, as an online edition of the 57th Bologna Children's Book Fair (BCBF) launches, with Italian publisher Camelozampa named the winner in the Europe category.
Founded by BCBF in collaboration with the Italian Publishers Association and International Publishers Association, the Bologna Prize for the Best Children's Publishers of the Year rewards publishers who stood out in each of the six areas of the world for the creativity, the courage and the quality of their editorial choices over the past year.
Founded in 2011, Camelozampa was highlighted for publishing fresh, lively illustrated books and novels that inspire young readers and for its focus on the rediscovery of international masterpieces.
For North America, Canada's Les 400 coups—which offers a wide range of unconventional illustrated books and celebrated its 25th anniversary this year—took the win. Mexican publishing house Alboroto Ediciones was crowned the winner in the Central and South America category for its quality books that are often focused on social and current affairs.
The winner for Oceania was revealed as Australia's Windy Hollow Books, which has been publishing high-quality illustrated books and supporting new homegrown talent for 14 years.
The award for Asia went to China's Jieli Publishing House, China, a publishing house founded in 1990 whose mission is to bring the masterpieces of Chinese literature to the world, while contributing to the translation of classics and bestsellers from all countries into Chinese. Lastly, the winner for Africa was revealed as African Bureau Stories in Ghana, which specialises in children's books made by African authors and illustrators.
Bologna Children's Book Fair was originally scheduled from 30th March to 2nd April but has now launched a digital version of the event following the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to a major investment, many activities already planned for the fair have been digitised and made freely accessible worldwide. In addition to a Global Rights Exchange platform, the digital edition includes: BCBF Galleries, a platform featuring the traditional exhibitions set up in Bologna; BCBF TV, a new channel airing the video contents of the fair; the Fairtales blog, featuring exclusive content, interviews and insights; and finally the programme of events, awards and conferences.
The online Bologna Children's Book Fair began with an inaugural conference, a virtual roundtable entitled "Children's publishing in the 'new normal': how children's publishers are adapting to a post-pandemic world", which brought together nine publishers from all over the world, including Thames & Hudson's Roger Thorp. They discussed and compared the various strategies adopted in recent months following the global health crisis and also considered the future scenarios impacting on the industry at a global level, as well as reflecting on the positive opportunities that have emerged.
Elena Pasoli, BCBF exhibition manager, said: "The minute we were forced to cancel the fair, we realised that we could not leave our community alone and we decided to remain true to our role by moving online. We started with our core business, the trading of rights, with the Global Rights Exchange, and then we focused on our program of events and exhibitions." She added: "I believe that online activities such as the ones we are offering now will be able to exist in the future, integrating perfectly with the traditional fair that takes place every year in Bologna and that will always be a unique platform for the community of children's book publishing as a whole. And I am optimistic: looking ahead, I think we will feel we have learned to be even closer to one another and to share even more ideas for new projects."