The 10th China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair (CCBF) ended on November 19th. Over a decade, the fair has grown from 154 exhibitors in its inaugural year to 478 exhibitors from 25 countries and territories this year. The influence of CCBF, both domestically and internationally, has steadily increased, making it the leading fair entirely dedicated to books and specific contents for children in Asia Pacific.
This year, the CCBF returned to the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Centre, spanning an expansive 25,000 square meters. Over 30,000 new titles were presented. The fair unfolded with 329 events organised by the exhibitors at the fair and around the city. A total of 42,733 visitors from across the globe, including 19,086 professional visitors.
The China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair 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.
Flourishing Landscape of Children’s Book Copyright Exchange: A Sustained Upward Trend
International presence made a remarkable return to CCBF in 2023. Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Belgium, Austria, and South Korea showcased collective pavilions at CCBF. Among the 155 international exhibitors (Exhibitors list: https://connect.ccbookfair.com/en), esteemed publishing institutions like Bayard (France), Clavis Publishing (Belgium), Hachette Children’s Group (UK), White Star S.R.L(Italy) and others presented their latest titles on offer. Previous Bologna (BoP – Best Publisher of the Year) award winners, including Abrams (USA), Corraini Edizioni (Italy) EK Books (Australia), Gloyeon (South Korea), also engaged in discussions on copyright exchange and international cooperation.
The fair witnessed over a hundred successful copyright exchange meetings. Notable achievements included Juvenile and Children’s Publishing House signing a deal for the traditional Chinese electronic version of "Five Thousand Years of Chinese Nation." They also made strides in cross-media strategies, securing agreements for various projects. East China Normal University Press exported the copyright of the “Chinese Mythology” series, which will be translated into Nepali and Arabic. Xinjiang Juvenile Publishing House held several meetings with foreign counterparts from France, Canada, and South Korea, making considerable progress in exporting copyrights for multiple titles.
The debut of the “CEPRIDE Copyright Service Platform”, developed by China Educational Publications Import & Export Corporation Ltd. (CEPIEC), also marked a milestone in the fair professional activities. A strategic cooperation agreement has been sealed with the Shanghai Children’s Book Fair to enhance copyright exchange with China and inject vitality into the children’s book market.
Insightful Analysis of Industry Trends: Lucrative Opportunities in Children’s Book Sub-Genres
In the competitive landscape of the children’s book industry, experts expressed optimism for growth. The themed forum of the CCBF’s 10th anniversary, “Narrate a Good Chinese Story, Witness the Development of Chinese Children’s Books in the Past Decade,” showcased strides in thematic publishing, science books, original children’s literature, and preschool literature in China. The nation's children's reading level has improved significantly, and international recognition for Chinese children’s publishing has risen. However, at the "Global Children’s Book Retail Market Analysis: 2023 Trends and Data" conference, OpenBook reported a shift in the growth trajectory from positive to negative between January and October 2023. While children’s books hold the largest market share, growth rates lag behind the market average. The market is evolving from incremental to stock, urging publishers to focus on content creation and on expanding distribution. The "New Channels of Children’s Book" conference presented the "2023 Children’s Book Publishing Industry Report," indicating progress in “Omnimedia” strategy with 220 institutions operating on various platforms. Additionally, the "How to Cross Language and Cultural Boundaries?" conference emphasized on the growing importance and quality of Chinese original picture books.
Focus on Quality Reading Promotion: A Vibrant Banquet of Literary Excellence
During the Fair, Chinese publishing houses engaged in friendly competition and showcased their expertise. Tomorrow Publishing House organized a crowd-catching reading event for young audiences featuring Zhang Pincheng, Shen Shixi, Qin Wenjun, among others renowned writers and artists. Hunan Juvenile & Children’s Press presented nearly 300 new and spotlighted books, including annual masterpieces like “Fire City 1938” and “Britannica.” CITIC Press Group and Duanzhangquyi Studio ventured into three-dimensional IP operations with “Dou Dou Town,” creating a lively booth with interactions at the fair. A total of 55 new book launch events was hosted at the fair, unveiling titles such as “Eleven Treasures” and “Mo Xixi’s Magic Diary.”
Highlight on Illustrators’ Originality: An Endeavour to Enrich Creative Expression
Established in 2015, the Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Competition underwent an upgrade this year, introducing a new Commercial category alongside the existing Book Publishing awards.
In the Book Publishing category, Liu Longsha (China) and Maeva Rubli (Switzerland) received the China and International Golden Pinwheel Grand Awards. Special Mentions were awarded to Amanda Mijangos / Armando Fonseca (Mexico), Fu Wenzheng (China), and Natalia Shaloshvili (UK).
In the Commercial category, Cai Yidong (China) and Fernanda Massotti (Brazil) secured the China and International Golden Pinwheel Grand Awards. Special Mentions went to Polina Kalashnikova (Russia), Mu Hanyu (China) and Wang Minru (China).
Online and on-site voting awarded the Golden Pinwheel People’s Choice Award to Zhang Mingyan’s “The Little Giant” and Cyan Lin’s “What’s the Shape of Love” in the Book Publishing and Commercial categories. Both artists are from China.
As a special project jointly created by the CCBF, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and Mimaster, the Illustrators Survival Corner, maintained its allure, drawing in a multitude of young illustrators and students. Fifty well-known illustrators from China and abroad, including Guilherme Karsten (Brazil), Luo Ling (China) , Noritake Suzuki (Japan), Tracy Subisak (USA) , Victo Ngai (USA/Hongkong, China), Yeh Chun Liang (France) and others hosted 10 masterclasses, 9 workshops, and 27 portfolio reviews, engaging a total of 1,789 participants. The Illustrators Avenue also attracted 79 illustrators and artistic groups to set up their stalls, generating enthusiastic responses. The Illustrators Avenue, with 79 illustrators and artistic groups, became a popular shopping destination for readers with its whimsical cultural and creative products.
Children Plus: Beauty and the World”: A Novel Perspective on Beauty Offered by Non-Fiction Picture Books
A highlight of this year’s CCBF that drew the attention of readers of all ages was the special exhibition “Children Plus: Non-Fiction Picture Books.” Curated by Giorgia Grilli, an associate professor of Children’s Literature at the University of Bologna, and her colleague Ilaria Dindelli, the exhibition showcased over 200 international non-fiction picture books. In the words of curator Giorgia Grilli, “In these non-fiction books, beauty isn’t merely decorative. It’s not just an embellishment. It’s a key, a method, a lens that allows us to perceive the real world better, to understand it more thoroughly, comprehensively, and profoundly.” She emphasized that beauty contributes to better cognition, introducing a rather novel perspective.
The selection of domestic titles fell into the capable hands of Chen Hui, professor at the School of the Chinese Language and Literature of Beijing Normal University and director of the Research Centre on Chinese Picture Book Writing. With a discerning eye, Chen Hui’s research group delved into the essence of original Chinese picture books. The Chinese exhibition focused on the diversity of picture book content while paying special attention to representative elements of Chinese culture, including history, arts, and values.
The China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair serves as a vital platform to promote copyright exchange and foster business collaboration in children's book publishing at global scale. Donna Chai, General Manager of Ronbo BolognaFiere Shanghai Ltd., emphasized the fair's commitment to enhancing internationalization, professionalism, and branding for CCBF. She added, "Our focus is on supporting Chinese original content to 'go global' in the future."
For the decade to come, the China Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair aims to remain a catalyst of international exchange and promoting quality contents for young audiences. We invite all publishers, creators and readers to continue by our side in this exciting journey!