After day one struggling with the crowds, finding my way through the mazes of people, I rocked up on day 2 and 3 near the entrance and sipped an American coffee and wrote in my notebook. There’s a familiar feeling about walking through the gates confidently and ready to march over to the Hello from Australia stand a second time. A smile from Ann Haddon, (Books Illustrated, Melbourne) greeted me. There was illustrator Ann James rearing to go, Alison Lester in orange and Jonathon Bentley and Ruth Waters.
One of the Masterclasses I attended was called Toddlers, the very first books for absolute beginners – an international deep-dive into books for zero-three-year olds. Speakers from Poland, France, Colombia, Child Health experts and Professor of History of Illustration and expert in children’s books ( Silvana Sola) and librarians ( Russia) delivered their presentations. The room was packed. I sat at the back next to a couple from London.
Tips to take away: Variety of books matter for a child. Recipriocity between care-giver and child is vital for intimacy and connection. Mindfulness of infant’s thoughts and emotions. Nurturing the whole brain. Books help with confidence, developing language, building bridges.
Our very own Sydney illustrator Antonia Pesenti delivers brilliant board books for toddlers that reveal design, colour, shapes and rhymes. Look out for her work.
Toddlers love stories that entertain, to touch and feel, to peepo, cheerful stories that surprise ( puppets) lift the flap therefore, interactive. Look, find and squeak! Stylish illustrations and bright colours that burst with joy! Books that teach the ABC’s and numbers. A child can search for numbers, identify parks and animals, celebrate birthdays. The fold out book in France is popular.
So much to say about Toddlers, so I’ll move onto Tara Publishers from India. This small stand delivered exquisite handmade picture books from 25-40 euros ( expensive). I was happy to browse here with Gabrielle Wang and later Morris Gleitzman appeared too. Beautiful gift cards were also for sale. The imagery of trees, peacocks, cats and beasts all spellbinding covers.
I might have to add part three of Bologna. Keep a watch. Here’s a few pics from our wanderings.