I am writing this post during the last of my three flights home from the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2014. Lufthansa went on strike and wreaked havoc on travel throughout Europe. I feel fortunate to be getting home to my family today, albeit a little later and wearier than I’d hoped.
I attended the Bologna Children’s Book Fair for the first time in 2010. I wrote a post about my first impressions that made me smile to re-read today. While all of my initial observations are still relevant, on the threshold of my company’s fifth birthday, I feel as though I have a much deeper understanding of the children’s publishing industry, the participants who make it flourish, the passion it takes to do so, and the importance of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. This month on our blog we are exploring the topic of harnessing inspiration and sparking creativity. I thought I would apply the theme to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
To take full advantage of the Fair, I approach it with a learner’s mind and childlike wonderment. I walk the halls quickly at first (my usual gait) and then quite slowly to see what speaks to me. I admire the extraordinary creativity that pervades the environment—whether it is the booths themselves or the books that decorate them or the eclectic fashion of the attendees.
Of course, I take special care to notice the books—the trim sizes, the covers, the end sheets, the paper, the layout, the fonts, the stories, the illustrations, the color palettes … and the thoughts and emotions they evoke. I think about and admire the sparks of creativity that set the books in motion, and then the harnessing of inspiration to produce the first drafts. I know well, and respect deeply, all of the many other steps in the process necessary to get the books published and to the Fair for us to appreciate.
I also spend time perusing and enjoying the illustrators’ display walls and selecting cards and samples. The walls evolve each day. They’re organic, vibrant, and aspirational—a metaphor of the artists themselves.
I meet with passionate people who give their time and talents to making children’s media the best it can be—authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, printers, rights agents, professional association leaders, developers, film makers, etc.
It’s not until my plane flies back that I synthesize all of these inputs and begin to incorporate them into the colorful mosaic that is Little Pickle Press. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the Bologna Book Fair each year, and I look forward to harnessing my newly acquired inspirations into distinctive children’s media for you to enjoy.