CCBF 10th Anniversary: Creating a 'Shanghai Model' for International Empowerment in Children’s Book Industry

Celebrating a remarkable decade of success, the 2023 China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair (CCBF) is set to grace the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Centre from November 17th to 19th. A decade ago, the inaugural CCBF began its journey, and in the blink of an eye, we have arrived at this grand celebration of its 10th anniversary. These ten years have witnessed not only the growth of CCBF but also a decade of the vibrant development of the global children’s book industry and fostering a love of reading among young hearts both at home and abroad.

The China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair (CCBF) is approved by Shanghai Press & Publication Administration, organised by Shanghai Xinhua Distribution Group Co., Ltd., China Education Publishing & Media Group Ltd., and China Universal Press & Publication Co., Ltd., co-organised by Ronbo BolognaFiere Shanghai Ltd., and powered by the BolognaFiere Group.

As the leading event in the Asia Pacific region dedicated entirely to books and content for children, the 2023 CCBF will host a staggering 478 domestic and international exhibitors from 25 countries and territories, spanning a 25,000-square-meter exhibition area. This year's exhibition space is divided into two distinct zones: the Copyright Zone and the Hybrid Zone. The Copyright Zone is exclusively dedicated to facilitating copyright exchange and international collaboration for children’s books, and it is open exclusively to industry professionals. The Hybrid Zone, in addition to copyright exchange, serves as a hub for marketing, distribution, channel development, promotion, and retail. The Hybrid Zone will be open to professionals on November 17th and, from November 18th to 19th, will be accessible to a broader audience.

The CCBF remains committed to its role as a prominent platform for the children’s book industry. This occasion will bring together professionals, including publishers, copyright agents, authors, and distributors from around the globe. It will feature a diverse collection of over 30,000 of the latest children’s books sourced from both domestic and international publishing houses. Over 200 professional exchange sessions and reading promotion activities will be hosted in conjunction with the book fair, covering the entire spectrum of the children’s content industry. This collaborative effort is poised to engage an estimated audience of 45,000 attendees.

Exemplify Internationalism and Forge a Global Beacon in the World of Children’s Books

The 2023 CCBF is making a strong comeback, with many international delegations participating. Countries like Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Belgium, Austria, and South Korea will have national pavilions. Additionally, sections like the BOP-Bologna Prize lounge and the Rights Centre are returning. The BOP Lounge will bring together publishing houses from Asia, Europe, South America, North America, and Oceania. Among them we have EK Books (Australia), Prakash Books (India), Gloyeon (Korea), Tara Books (India), Petra Ediciones (Mexico), Abrams (US), Kite Edizioni (Italy), Lantana (UK), Les 400 coups (Canada). Renowned international publishing and cultural institutions, including Bayard (France), Clavis Publishing (Belgium), Corraini Edizioni (Italy), Gallimard Jeunesse (France), Hachette Children’s Group (UK), MacMillan Publishers (UK), Oxford University Press (UK), White Star (Italy), and more.

Chinese publishing houses, such as Shanghai Century Publishing Group, China Children’s Press & Publication Group, China Education Publishing & Media Group, CITIC Press Group, 21st Century Publishing Group, Jieli Publishing House, Anhui Children’s Publishing House, Zhejiang Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House, Phoenix Juvenile and Children’s Publishing Ltd., New Buds Publishing House, Hunan Juvenile & Children’s Press, Xinjiang Juvenile Publishing House, and Changjiang Children’s Press, will be present, engaging in enlightening discussions. Private publishing companies in the children’s content field like Post Wave Kids, Dandelion Children’s Book House, Lelequ, Dolphin Media, Caldecott Book, Poplar Kids Republic Bookstore, Hsin Yi Shanghai, Thinkingdom Children’s Book, TAL Education Group, Zebra English, Jojo Reading, and more will also join the exchange of ideas.

The 2023 CCBF promises a stellar lineup of distinguished guests, including luminaries such as Suzy Lee, illustrator and winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award; Cao Wenxuan, author and recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Award; Bernardo P. Carvalho, illustrator honored with the Bologna Ragazzi Award at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair; Lluís Prats, acclaimed author and winner of the Josep Maria Folch i Torres award; Zhu Chengliang, recipient of the Golden Apple award at the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava; Fabian Negrin, distinguished Italian illustrator and winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award; and Victo Ngai, the Hugo Award Nominee and the first Chinese SOI Hamilton King honoree.

Leverage Professional Expertise and Discover Innovative Trends

This year, CCBF is organising 9 professional conferences and seminars to encourage cross-cultural exchanges. Some of these will dive deep into original content from around the world, while others will present comprehensive industry outlook reports. The "How to cross language and cultural boundaries? — The Development of Original Chinese Picture Books in Perspective" conference will provide insights into the evolution of Chinese original picture books. The "Award Winners' Series" will feature discussions with renowned authors, exploring the inspiration behind their creations. The "Fairy Tale Rewritings" conference will gather experts to discuss the reinterpretation of timeless fairy tales. CCBF's 10th-anniversary forum will focus on the past decade's growth in the children's book market and provide a visionary outlook on future trends, aiming to enhance internationalization and indigenization in children's publishing over the next decade.

The children's book market, as the largest segment in the book industry, will be closely examined. In the "Global Children's Book Retail Market Analysis: 2023 Trends and Data" conference, OpenBook will analyze the performance of China's children's book market in the first three quarters of the year, offering predictions and insights into future trends. The "New Channels of Children's Book" conference will gather industry leaders to discuss opportunities in emerging channels for children's book publishing. Additionally, China Publishers Magazine will release the "2023 Children's Book Publishing Industry Report" and unveil a report on the reach of children's book publications.

Discover the Beauty in Non-Fiction Picture Books and Unveil the World’s Mysteries

This year, the CCBF will place special emphasis on non-fiction picture books, curating the exhibition “Children Plus: Beauty and the World.” This exhibition is the fruit of the collaborative efforts of the University of Bologna and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy. The international curation is overseen by Giorgia Grilli, an associate professor of Children’s Literature at the University of Bologna, and her team member Ilaria Dindelli. They have meticulously examined non-fiction picture books published worldwide over the past fifteen years, showcasing over 200 international original works. The domestic curation, on the other hand, is led by Chen Hui, a professor at the School of the Chinese Language and Literature of Beijing Normal University and the director of the Research Centre on Chinese Picture Book Writing, bringing more than 50 exceptional original Chinese picture books.

Diverging from the realm of fiction, non-fiction topics lean toward scientific knowledge and realism, akin to the key that unlocks the “door of knowledge.” These books aim to vividly address children’s inquiries, aiding them in unravelling the enigmas of the world. This special exhibition offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the multifaceted expressions of international non-fiction picture books, guiding readers on an expedition to delve into the world of non-fiction literature. The exhibited books encompass a wide array of non-fiction themes, spanning from the deepest oceans, the tallest architectural marvels, animal migrations, skeletal structures of animals, rockets, trains, and microorganisms, to the intricacies of the human body. They showcase innovative means of delving into the real world. In conjunction with this special exhibition, the CCBF will host the “Beauty and the World: Interpretation and Appreciation of Non-Fiction Children’s Picture Book” conference, where curators, picture book researchers, internationally acclaimed illustrators, and distinguished publishers of popular brands of science books for kids will engage in enlightening discussions and exchanges.

Spotlight on the Upcoming Generation of Illustrator

Since 2023, the Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Competition has launched a new category-Commercial in addition to the existing Book Publishing awards. This category encourages illustrators to submit their work used in advertising, product design, and packaging. This year, the competition received a remarkable 2,582 submissions from talented illustrators from 79 countries and territories around the world. Out of these, 1,964 submissions are for the Book Publishing category, and 766 are for the Commercial category. In total, there were 12,707 works submitted, which is a 12.5% increase from the previous year. The final selection, consisting of 100 exceptional illustrators, has been chosen by a panel of nine distinguished judges from the global illustration community. Their outstanding creations will be showcased at the 2023 CCBF.

Furthermore, the Illustrators Survival Corner partnered with Mimaster Illustrazione is back and promises to be thrilling! It includes 10 masterclasses, 9 creative workshops, and 27 one-on-one mentorship sessions. These events aim to empower young illustrators to showcase their skills, improve their craft, ignite their creativity, and engage in valuable exchanges.

Connect the City with Children’s Literature to Revel in the Joy of Reading

CCBF is dedicated to creating a vibrant and inviting environment for parent-child reading, while also building a diverse ecosystem of children's content.

During the 2023 CCBF, a series of events will cultivate the culture of reading. These events include book recommendations, opportunities to meet authors, interactive experiences, and captivating stage performances. Beyond the activities within the fairgrounds and exhibitor booths, CCBF will launch the "Connecting the City" project, titled "Foster a Decade of Imagination, Embark on a Children's Literary Journey." Over 60 institutions and partners in the children's lifestyle sector from across the nation will offer a diverse range of cultural activities for young readers outside the event venue, expanding the influence of CCBF.

In collaboration with the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), a book list suitable for children with special needs will be introduced. This initiative aims to contribute to the creation of a child-friendly city, reflecting the city's care and humanity. An inclusive city should embrace all, and children's book reading can serve as a bridge for universal communication, allowing more marginalized groups to experience the joy of reading and intellectual enrichment.

A ten-year literary celebration designed for book lovers is about to unfold. The China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair, committed as ever to internationalism, professionalism, and excellence, continues its mission to discover captivating children's books and engaging content. It seeks to explore new collaborative opportunities, unveil the magic of children's books, pave the way for a fresh wave of reading, establish deep connections between children and the world, and promote high-quality children’s books as the norm. Let's come together as we confidently step into the next decade!