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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Bologna Bound

This Friday I’ll be packing up my things and my pregnant belly to parts unknown.  And, of course, by “parts unknown” I mean “The Bologna Book Fair”.  Each year the greatest book fair in the world of children’s books is held in Bologna, Italy.  I’m going to do several things while there.

A: Figure out how this fair began in the first place.

B: Report accordingly.

C: Avoid the wine (doggone it).

D: Eat a lot of Italian food.

If my child isn’t born saying “Mama Mia!” then I have failed in my mission.  Any advice for me before I leave?

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of NYPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Make appointments and walk the floor with someone who can get you on the “inside”.

  2. I am jealous. That is my advice. Have a great trip.

    Gelato! Eat Gelato.

  3. I’m jealous! When I lived in Germany, it was easy to get to the Bologna Book Fair. Are you going to the SCBWI Conference before the Book Fair?

    I still don’t have a lot of advice, though. Enjoy. Be sure to look at the books from other countries, too. Picture Books especially can be enjoyed in any language. Oh, and wear comfortable shoes!

  4. wear very comfy shoes — lots of cobblestones in the streets,etc, plus the fair itself is **HUGE** think several football fields… and don’t miss the art exhibit of student illustrators’ work, sent from all over the world, making it very clear how our American style of children’s book illust. is limited… if you can get to any of the lectures/talks (ie about the winner of the Hans C. Andersen award, etc), do! and yes, gelato!! every flavor!

  5. lisainberlin says:

    Bring back lots of bottled olives and pesto, enjoy eating for two in Italy! Oh, and enjoy the book fair…any chance you might drop by Berlin?

  6. Aw…Bologna. I had a very nice visit to Bologna a few years ago and spent a few fun hours poking around the biblioteca Salaborsa. Have fun!

  7. so jealous! have a blast!!

  8. So excited for you! Looking forward to your report on the what’s what with the illustrator exhibits. And maybe we should require you to taste ALL the gelato flavors and determine a best flavor. Perhaps via a bracket, since it is March still. Can’t wait to read your posts on all things Bologna-y!

  9. WOW!!!! This is a great new!!!!! Will I see you and your belly in Bologna then?!? If you do need a guide I’m at your disposal with great, great, great pleasure.

  10. That city has some excellent gelato – find someplace that doesn’t look fancy and is packed with people and eat your heart out. I don’t know where the fair is, but the old city is wonderful for strolling, rain or shine. Jealous!

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      No Berlin for me, alas. I’d love to visit that city someday. And Cristiana I may have to take you up on that guide offer. I’ll be in touch!

  11. So jealous, cannot wait to hear all the details!

  12. I second (third/fourth/eighth) the gelato and add a good Parmesan risotto or twelve.

  13. Karen Ruelle says:

    Yup, definitely eat gelato.

  14. Elisabeth, please do!!!! I look forward to be in touch and, if you need help as well for your idea on the origins of the fair I bet I have in mind the man for you…

  15. Bring not just comfortable shoes but SEVERAL different pairs of comfortable shoes. I survived a lot of walking and standing on my trip to NYC last May while pregnant by rotating shoes. Of course, regular breaks for sitting down and eating gelato will certainly help too. Have fun!

  16. Travel safely! Should you get a moment and want to meet Hans Christian Andersen Award winner Roberto Innocenti, visit The Creative Company at Hall 26, Stand B24. Enjoy!

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      What day? Will he be there through the entire conference? Meeting Innocenti would definitely make my trip memorable. Thanks for the tip, Lona!

  17. Tuesday and Wednesday he’s to be at the Fair. Ask for Tom Peterson and he can put you in touch. Mr. Innocenti does not speak any English, I might add. Ciao!