A new campaign for Ukrainian children’s books
By Porter Anderson, Editor | @Porter_Anderson
Kraus vom Cleff and Levi: “It is our duty to help”
On Tuesday morning (22 March), second day of the 59th Bologna Children’s Book Fairthe sprawling BolognaFiere fair was indeed briefly halted at 9.45am CET for a quick and big announcement of a new crowdfunding campaign designed to see hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian children’s books printed in Europe.
The emergency initiative – quickly organized by the Ukrainian Book Institute (UBI) with the support of the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) – is inaugurated in Bologna, the world’s largest and most influential fair in the young readers sector – not only to indicate the support of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair for the initiative, but to signal to book fairs and fairs in the sector that the effort is now active and that they also hope their participation.
See our article on the declaration of 14 international book fairs in 13 countries: “We Cannot Remain Silent”.
In a statement coordinated by the Brussels headquarters of the European Federation of Publishers, the astonishing displacement of more than 3 million people so far away from Ukraine is at the heart of the appeal to publishers around the world for contributions.
The refugee population includes “many, many children who only left their homes with the bare essentials”, according to the statement this morning. “These children need to find comfort, these children need to continue being children, they need to play, to learn, to read.”
By launching this new appeal, according to this media message, the Ukrainian Book Institute “hopes to raise enough funds to print hundreds of thousands of children’s books in Europe, because the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, where the main printing , was heavily bombed in Ukraine by Russia
“These Ukrainian books will allow children to have fun while keeping the link with their homeland”, in the forced diaspora they now know.
International reporting on the refugee crisis is becoming more serious by the day.
“It is important that the book world show solidarity”
In a joint statement issued in Bologna, the president of the Federation of European Publishers Peter Kraus vom Cleff and vice-president Ricardo Franco Levi are quoted.
“In this terrible time of the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” reads their statement, “our friends and colleagues at the Ukrainian Book Institute have asked us to help them raise money to continue print Ukrainian books and distribute them to children.
“It is clear that it is our duty to help our fellow publishers in Ukraine and to allow Ukrainian children to have access to books.
“It is important that the book world shows solidarity.
“If you can, donate. All the money will be spent on printing books and will be managed by the Ukrainian Book Institute.
As Publication prospects readers know, Kraus vom Cleff is also managing director of the Börsenverein des Deutschen BuchhandelsGerman Association of Publishers and Booksellers.
And Levi is president of the Association of Italian Publishers (Association Italiana EditoriOUCH).
Earlier this month, Levi was also appointed by Rome as an “extraordinary commissioner” for the Italian government, ahead of the Italy 2024 Guest of Honor program at the Frankfurter Buchmesse.
His leadership of the effort was hailed by the Italian Council of Ministers and his nomination approved by the President, Mario Draghi, with the support of Dario Franceschini, Minister of Culture.
Levi spoke Monday, March 21, at the opening ceremony of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
The guarantor of the operation is the Federation of Europeans. All of the money raised will be managed remotely by the Ukrainian Book Institute, responsible for choosing titles and coordinating with local relays the printing and distribution of books to children.
We will have more information on this new effort as it develops.
Follow our coverage of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine and its impact on the country’s publishing industry and international industry reactions.
To learn more about freedom to publish and freedom of expression, click here. To find out more about the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, click here, and click here to find out more about the world’s publishing fairs and book fairs. To learn more about the Ukrainian Book Institute, click here. And more about the Federation of European Publishers is here.
Our thanks to Jacks Thomas (Bologna Book Plus) and Anne Bergman (FEP) for their special help in this cover.
To learn more about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and its impact on international book publishing, click here