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Marvelous Taiwan! Presentation Grabs World’s Attention at Bologna Children’s Book Fair

23 April 2019 /

Sponsored by Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture and organized by Taipei Book Fair Foundation, the Taiwan Pavilion at Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) attracted crowds of visitors on April 1st, the first day of the fair. Italy’s national public broadcasting company RAI also arrived to capture some good shots in the morning. In addition to the selection of 9 Taiwanese illustrators for the Illustrators Exhibition of BCBF, the impressive exhibits, and the crowded signing events of the 5 featured illustrators, Taiwan’s presence at Bologna this year was made even more glorious by the news of Jimmy Liao’s shortlisting for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the awarding of the BOP-Bologna Prize for the Best Children's Publishers of the World to Locus Publishing Company.


At the opening reception in the afternoon on the first day, Taiwan’s representative to Italy, Mr. Sing-Ying Lee, expressed his excitement to see so many new and amazing titles from Taiwan at the fair. The design concept of the pavilion (Taiwan! Library Behind the Mountain) also earned much of his praise. Numerous international friends joined the reception, including those from Poland, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Malaysia, Italy, Spain, France, and Hong Kong. Juergen Boos, president of the Frankfurt Book Fair, appreciated the curation of themed titles and special exhibition on animal illustrations, and predicted that the exhibits will attract even more visitors at Frankfurt Book Fair.


After the reception, Representative Sing-Ying Lee also confirmed that the animal illustration exhibition will be brought to Rome to widely promote the beauty of the Taiwanese illustration. On the same day, the signing events of two featured authors—Yu-Chin Huang and Pei-Yu Chang—both attracted many fans, making the atmosphere lively.


Award-winning Author Chih-Yuan Chen Shares his Practice as an Illustrator at the Illustrators Survival Corner

Invited by BCBF, Taiwanese IBBY Peter Pan Prize winner and New York Times best-selling author Chih-Yuan Chen delivered a speech about making a picture book at the Illustrators Survival Corner. The event was packed with young illustrators from around the world.


Chen revealed that the inspiration for a good picture book always comes from everyday life. “For you, the cement walls, the bicycle, and the blazing sunshine may appear exotic. But for me, they're just a normal part of my life and I would like to share it with you,” Chen said. “When I was a kid, there was a huge painting by Italian artist Giorgio Morandi hanging in our living room. I couldn’t figure out the reason why he drew so many bottles. However, after I grew up, I understood why. He was actually depicting the space and time between them.”

After becoming a father, Chen’s creative process also changed tremendously. He smiled and said everything is doubled because he has twins. He had to change the diapers and bathe the kids twice in a row every day. Despite the exhausting responsibilities, taking care of children has given him different inspirations for new titles. “Indeed, God does something for a reason!” Chen told the audience. “I noticed there was a certain period of time when they were giving up diapers, so I drew a book about kids using the toilet. I also observed that the kids would want to help their mom with grocery shopping, and that they enjoy going down slides. As I mentioned earlier, ideas for creation can be found in everyday life.”


“To me, making a book is like making a dress for a model,” he said. During the art creation process, he considers the figure of the model, which style suits the model best, which colors blend well together, and what kind of design would show the most beautiful side of the model. This is how he creates his books. Chen admitted that his artistic approach has changed several times during different periods of his life. He did not always follow the same style. Before the speech came to an end, Chen specifically mentioned his picture book Memories, which was inspired by his sister’s love for their mother. He turned this feeling of missing a family member into a touching volume of pages filled with scenes similar to movie stills. An illustrator from Chile was moved to tears after reading the book. The eternal love and memories for the dearly departed are so powerful and universal that they can touch anyone’s heart.


On the eve of BCBF’s opening, the Drosselmeier Academy hosted a Taiwan Night at the well-known Bolognese children’s bookshop Giannino Stoppani to congratulate the extraordinary achievements of this year’s Taiwanese artists and publishing houses. It was a night especially dedicated to the Taiwanese artists, their books, and illustrations.


Talented Taiwanese Illustrators Amaze the World

The 2019 Illustrators Exhibition showcased the works of 76 illustrators from 27 countries. Among these outstanding artists were 9 Taiwanese illustrators: Ballboss, Ying-Hsiu Chen, Yung Kai Chen, Meng Yun Chiang, Jiang Yu, Yun-Chuan Lee, Yun Lin, Yu-Tung Tai, and Yu Teng. Taiwan has stunned the world with its flourishing creativity and sophisticated aesthetics in the children’s and picture book sectors.