I've waited so long to post (we got back Tuesday evening) because I wanted to include pictures that I took with my phone (I forgot my camera), but I still haven't figured out a way to get them from my phone to my computer.
Bologna Day 1
Operating on very little sleep, I wasn’t too enthused to discover that the owner of our bed and breakfast only speaks Italian. That meant it took a half hour for her to explain that she wouldn't be serving breakfast because her babysitter broke her leg (and this leg is integral to making breakfast, how?) and that we owed her money because we only paid for single occupancy (a scam she tried on her other guests as well as we soon found out). At least we had a place to store our luggage as we used our free day to go out to explore the city.
There is not too much in way of tourist attractions, but we did climb the 498 steps of the tower for lovely views of the city and sampled the excellent food at 3 different establishments.
Bologna Day 2
We were up bright and early for day 1 of the SCBWI pre-Bologna workshop. The first speaker was illustrator Paul Zelinsky (“The Wheels on the Bus”, “Rumpelstiltskin” which we got signed) who also happened to be our neighbor at the B&B (we’ve seen him in his PJs). He was a highly entertaining speaker – really all of the speakers were great. Daniel’s favorite was by Ariol creator Marc Boutavant and his publisher Pauline. We were lucky to pick up a copy of the French graphic novel for kids and get it signed.
For dinner we met an Art Center classmate of Daniel’s, Damien, who now works at Ducati designing motorcycles.
Bologna Day 3
Another day of inspiring speakers including Kathleen Duey (“Sacred Scars” which I just ordered), Babette Cole (“Princess Smartypants” which we got signed), Leonard Marcus (“Ways of Telling”, “Side by Side” – books we have that we SHOULD have brought to get signed), and Susan Fletcher (“Alphabet of Dreams”) who led my writer’s workshop. Daniel had an illustrator’s workshop called “First Look” where children’s book editors looked at illustrations that attendees sent in beforehand and gave their opinions. Daniel had submitted 3 of his daily drawings and he got really great feedback. Everyone loved the vampire – in fact – the editor from Penguin said at the end that it was the one that stuck most in her mind and they even all gave Daniel their cards at the end. Definitely a confidence booster for him!
Dinner was at the SCBWI closing party in town which was a great opportunity to mingle with fellow authors and illustrators and industry insiders.
Bologna Day 4
This was our day at the actual book fair. Since it is only children’s books, it is much smaller than the Frankfurt Book Fair, so we saw all we wanted to in one day. We picked up some catalogues and got books of illustrations from Portuguese and Argentinean illustrators.
Dinner was with some of the SCBWI members again – we sat next to Babette Cole who is wacky and so inspiring. Then we met Damien again for a drink at a trendy bar where we ran into two of the Portuguese illustrators from our book, Madalena Matoso and Bernardo Carvalho and got them to sign it.
Bologna Day 5
Our last day – we did some shopping and visited the big unfinished cathedral on the main plaza. It was a beautiful sunny day – we were out in just t-shirts! We also blew our anti-sugar diet by eating the yummiest gelato (ice cream) of all time. Then we flew back to overcast, cold Frankfurt.
All this book signing got me thinking about all the authors/illustrators I’ve met over the years, so I thought I’d make a (partial) list (leaving out the ones of course I just mentioned above):
Shel Silverstein (Allison Elementary School)
Zilpha Keatly Synder (Allison Elementary School)
Norma Fox Mazer (Power of the Pen, State Writing Competition)
Neil Gaiman (Frankfurt Book Fair)
Jasper Fforde (Frankfurt Book Fair)
Ken Follett(Frankfurt Book Fair)
Tomie de Paola (SCBWI Paris)
Marcus Zusak (SCBWI Munich)