The children's and young adult books area is growing, and the trade in licences is becoming more and more important. In 2013, besides the topical events for trade visitors and the general public, there were two new spectacular event locations on the Agora: the Kids’ Bubble and the Open Stage.
The bright, domed tent on the Agora hosted, among other things, a jam session with Annett Louisan ('Giraffenaffen', an album for children) and the award ceremonies for diverse children's book prizes, such as the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and the Nordic Council Literature Prize. At the same time, it also became the home for all things licensing.
At an extensive photo shoot with Belt, a character from the 3-D animated film "The Croods", Alvin from the cartoon "Alvin and the Chipmunks", and other surprise guests from film and TV, fans could have their pictures taken with them on the Open Stage.
Kirsten Boie gave a reading from her book, “There are Some Things you Can't Describe”, which is based on her experiences in Swaziland. Morton Rhue presented his new novel "No Place, No Home" which recounts the social decline of an affluent American family. And much more besides!
Our child reporters group, "die Kichererbsen", met and spoke with many different people at the Frankfurt Book Fair, including Kirsten Boie.
This year, the focus was on movement and learning. Together with our partners, the Frankfurt Book Fair once again presented a visionary learning trail over an area of around 300 sqm, where visitors could immerse themselves with all their senses, in the future of learning.
For the networking of the actors and segments involved in children's and young adult media, the Friday of the Book Fair was devoted to the topic of licensing. A seminar, a tour of the fair and a happy hour helped to promote the licensing network at the Frankfurt Book Fair, while bringing together suppliers and buyers. Publishing houses are no longer merely licence buyers, they are becoming ever more successful at developing their own characters and licenses, and at marketing these through almost all channels, from YouTube to their own musical productions. "The children's book segment and the licensing of characters are linchpins of our company’s portfolio," says Klaus-Thorsten Firnig, the managing director of Egmont publishing group. "With our various editions we have been able to collect a lot of positive impressions from the Book Fair again this year, and we also received great feedback."
In more than 40 events, this year Weltempfang once again examined a range of topics related to politics, literature and translation, while the central theme was a "Focus on Childhood and Youth".
The breadth of this topic soon became clear when publishers from Germany, Spain and the Arab world were asked the general question, "What makes a good children’s book?" The response: above all, books should open the readers’ eyes to alternative realities. As a further criterion, it was suggested that good books should, as far as possible, communicate passion and courage – through normal characters, without recourse to princesses and the like.
Another focal topic was how it is to grow up during this period of economic crisis in Europe. The aptest catchphrase, here: the "precarious generation". The discussion resulted in a description of this younger generation; details of their living environment were collected (lives spent in a state of constant social uncertainty), from which conclusions were then drawn regarding that environment. One finding was that the change in circumstances is even having an effect on people's reading habits, with the younger generation reading more quickly and more fragmentarily.
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