Tiny Owl at Frankfurt Book Fair
We’ve just come back from a buzzing week at Frankfurt Book Fair! The world’s biggest book fair is a truly enormous and eclectic mix of book stalls and author events, discussions and live readings, art workshops and even cooking demonstrations. The Tiny Owl stand was packed with titles old and new, and we were incredibly excited for this opportunity to share our books with the rest of the publishing world.
We met publishers from many different countries, and it was wonderful to meet so many people who share our passion for producing beautiful books. It was especially interesting to see the rest of the English-language children’s books on offer. Although we were undoubtedly pleased to see that Tiny Owl’s books stand out for their universal appeal, rather than being targeted at one particular age group, gender or ethnicity, it was still sad to see how many other publishers are still producing highly traditional, gendered books.
Between meetings there was a little time to explore the rest of the fair, and to appreciate just how huge it is, and how many people there are all over the world working in the book industry. The fair this year was spread over six halls the size of aircraft hangars, each with two or three floors, and every one packed with hundreds of stands. In the five days that the fair is open, it just isn’t possible to see everything!
It isn’t all just shelves full of books, either. In the children’s halls there were some amazing stands with woodland scenes, huge model animals, and cosy nests for reading. France, the 2017 fair’s Guest of Honour, had a whole exhibition about every aspect of its book industry, from its comic book artists to books on tablet computers and Virtual Reality headsets. Half of a whole floor was devoted to antiquarian, rare, valuable and beautiful books. And there were live demonstrations aplenty, from cookery shows to live drawing to a real working Gutenberg press!
At the weekend, the number of people visiting the fair increases even more, as this is when it opens to visitors from the general public. The sun came out, the aisles were packed, and everywhere we looked there were suddenly people in costume, cosplaying their favourite characters from popular culture! It was wonderful to see that this trade book fair plays such a significant role in the cultural lives of local people, and not just the countless thousands of people who descend on the city for the week.
We even had a little time left over to explore the wonderful city of Frankfurt itself. It, too, is an eclectic mix – towering, glassy skyscrapers in the banking district jostle for space with brightly-coloured medieval churches and half-timbered houses.
It’s a city with a deep, rich cultural heritage – a joy to visit. This seems appropriate, when its Book Fair plays such a crucial role in bringing books out of each of their individual countries and introducing their marvels to the rest of the world.
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