IBBY at the 2023 Bologna Children’s Book Fair

The 60th Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) may be over, but we still look back fondly to it – especially since it brought BCBF its pre-pandemic flair back. Between 6 and 9 March 2023, the alleys were buzzing, the exhibitions well-attended, and the conference rooms at full house. This was no exception for IBBY, which also experienced many special moments at the Fair – both within the IBBY community itself, but also with the many visitors that came by the stand and took interest in IBBY’s work throughout the world.

Let's look back on IBBY’s presence in this year's Bologna Children's Book Fair!

IBBY Stand

The IBBY Stand premiered a new look for BCBF 2023! New banners decorated the walls and a corner was dedicated to the 2023 International Children's Book Day (ICBD), sponsored by IBBY Greece. The stand exhibited the complete IBBY Honour List 2022, as well as the 2023 IBBY Selection of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities. All together, IBBY presented over 200 titles from over 60 countries. Publishers and authors of books included in the IBBY collections came to visit the stand to mingle and take pictures of their work in context.


IBBY Press Conference

As per usual, the annual IBBY Press Conference took place on BCBF’s first day, 6 March. It featured the following highlights:
• Welcome by IBBY President Sylvia Vardell
• IBBY news and activities, presented by IBBY’s Executive Director Carolina Ballester
• International Children’s Book Day 2023, in presence of Vagelis Iliopoulos and Photini Stephanidi, creators of the 2023 ICBD message and poster
• News on Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature, presented by Bookbird Inc. President Valerie Coghlan
• An overview on the upcoming IBBY World Congress that will take place in Trieste, Italy, from 30 August to 1 Sept 2024
• Introduction to the 2023 IBBY Selection of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities by Toronto Public Library expert Leigh Turina through a video which can still be viewed on the IBBY website
• Presentation of the Nami Concours and NAMBOOK Festival 2023
• Announcement of the 2024 Hans Christian Andersen Award Nominees by HCAA Jury President Liz Page


After the press conference, an apéro was held at the IBBY stand – it was a full house filled with great conversations and high spirits!

IBBY Europe Regional Meeting and 3rd IBBY Europe Regional Conference

Fifteen National Sections of IBBY Europe took the opportunity to meet on 8 March. On the following day, the 3rd IBBY Europe Regional Conference took place, focusing on one of IBBY’s most important convictions: books can offer shelter and give hope to readers, as well as create awareness on the consequences of armed conflicts, humanitarian crisis and natural disasters on children.

“Finding a Safe Home in Books”, which was the theme of the conference, was eloquently evoked by Charalambos Demetriou, IBBY Cyprus’ Board Member, in his opening speech:

“During the past three years, we had to stay at home more than ever before. Unfortunately, for some children home may not be a safe space. They could be experiencing a difficult situation at home due to unemployment, poverty, domestic violence, war, or because they belong to a minority, are immigrants or refugees. When home does not feel like home anymore, children can find a safe place in books. Books can shelter them in several ways and can function as their ‘escape room’ to where they can escape their everyday lives – rabbit holes, palaces, mountains, seas, on earth or in the stars, on a quest, solving mysteries or learning about something new, in the future or the past. Books can help us all to escape, get hope, strength, empathize and evolve. Children's literature can provide ways for children to learn about and manage difficult issues, especially when facing difficult personal or interpersonal problems. That is the healing and uplifting power of stories.”

The full programme and list of speakers is still available on IBBY Europe's website




The next Bologna Children's Book Fair will take place on 8–11 April 2024!

Visit the official website for more information.