Wednesday, February 06, 2008

1st Children's and Young Adults' Bookfair in Athens - the report

As promised, here is a post about the 1st Children's and Young Adults' Bookfair at the Helexpo Palace in Athens. We had to set up the stands (almost half the show actually) in only two days, facing some difficulties (missing stuff, crews not working as they should), but having great collaborators and co-workers, the impossible took place and the show opened on time and looking great!

Above, you can see the stand the National Book Centre (EKEBI). It was placed strategically at the entrance of the exhibition (which took the space of a whole floor of the venue), welcoming the visitors with a nice yellow paper bag filled with goodies.
Then it was on to the stand of The Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive (ELIA), which housed a small sample of their huge collection of old children's books, toys and accessories - oh the memories they brought up!

Of course I'm only referring to other people's memories, I'm much too young to remember all this stuff (not!)

Exactly opposite the previous stand, was a space dedicated to the two Greek nominees for the Andersen Awards 2008, Voula Mastori (for writing) and Vassilis Papatsarouchas (for illustration). I had the honour of meeting Vassilis, he's an extraordinarily talented young man and merits his own post (coming soon).

While the original drawings of Vassilis Papatsarouhas were exhibited in this space, Voula Mastori was present to read her stories to lots of children gathering to listen to her. Hence the colourful pillows scattered on the floor.

Now I swear this was designed before Kylie released her In My Arms video clip!

The Netherlands were the honoured country. That meant only one thing: using lots of orange for the stand! And of course we could not have missed tulips! We had many of them, both real (100 orange flowers flown in from Holland especially for the show) and also on a big poster on a wall in the middle of the stand, near the green patch:

To celebrate, we had some "Dutch Treats", as the Dutch called them: original drawings from the most famous Dutch illustrators of children's books. This small exhibition within an exhibition was a feast for the eyes both of children and adults, with the works of Dick Bruna taking centre-stage.

The Dick Bruna drawings - the bunny is Miffy, his most famous character.

The Dutch Illustrators ("Dutch Treats") exhibition

There were of course more spaces designed especially for children (it's a kid-oriented show after all!): an amphitheatre for presentations of books, also the Children's Corner, which was a place to play and read and listen to people reading books. It was decorated with books hanging from the ceiling (remember the fish?) and fantastic hats with books fixed on them!

This space incorporated a smaller amphitheatre and also had a fun poll: why do children read books? Two separate polling stations were prepared, one for children and one for kids, who voted by dropping a small orange (what else?) ball inside the appropriate tube. Of course children saw this as a game (and why not?) so the results were a bit, er, "fixed", by children throwing the balls like playing basketball, over and over again, into the tubes! Great fun!

Right next to this was the space dedicated to Museum of Greek Children's Art, with lots of space for workshops for the kids. Of course they loved to doodle with markers, crayons and coloured pencils on paper or other materials, even the tables themselves!

My friend Enteka presented his new book here, but more for him on a special post (soon!). Right next to it, there was a room dedicated, tongue in cheek, to an imaginary writer: H.P. Lagavulin, thought to be one of the best knows writers of children's fiction (a total fiction in itself of course). The entrance to this teen-corner was a circle!

Many events took place in here too, one of the first having a great lady telling a story to the kids, while making special sound effects using water poured from a carafe to five glasses on top of a drum. The children listened to her transfixed! The whole room was decorated with thirteen illustrations (the years supposedly passed since his death), made in honour of the non-existent writer H.P. Lagavulin by seven Greek illustrators, while seven Greek writers wrote in his memory.

Another space was designed by the illustrator Antonis Aspromourgos, consisting of four rooms, one after the other, each showcasing a different art through books: theater, music, painting, sculpture. Each had a different colour and soundtrack, giving children a unique experience.

Many of the biggest Greek publishing houses had their own stands in the exhibition, also organizing events and activities, one of them being the Wandering Park: children carrying potted plants and banners, protesting about greener cities, in an effort to make the children more sensitive to environmental problems.

There were happy children faces (and parents too!) everywhere you looked! I saw lot of visitors both times I was at the show during its working hours, unofficial numbers are 100,000 visitors in four days, which is an amazing feat! It is definitely a very optimistic sign about children (and their parents) in Greece! I also had a great time myself, meeting very talented and interesting people and also seeing lots of friends visiting the show - let's do it again next year!


  1. Λοιπόν, εγώ παραδέχομαι ότι αυτά τα παιχνίδια ήταν και δικά μου, ΧΑ!

    Στα είπαμε κι από κοντά, αλλά η έκθεση ήταν εξαιρετικά καλοστημένη -κι εμένα μ' εντυπωσίασε ο πολύς κόσμος!
    Και ο Άκης λάτρεψε την κυκλική είσοδο! ;)

    Φιλιά πολλά, πάντα τέτοια!
    (να μας έρχεσαι και πιο συχνά, χεχεχε!)

  2. ήταν όντως εξαιρετικά όλα: το στήσιμο, τα χρώματα , η λειτουργικότητα. μακάρι να μην είχα τα δικά μου και να χαιρόμουν την έκθεση πιο πολύ :)

  3. H παρουσίαση ειναι εξαιρετική. Αριστα 10 Στράτο και από μενα.
    σε φιλω

  4. Με κάνετε να κοκκινίζω... ευχαριστώ για τα καλά σας λόγια!

  5. να μας έρχεσαι πιο συχνά

    πολλά φιλιά
    (είμαι ΑΛΛΟΥ εντελώς...
    έχω πεθάνει και δεν το ξέρω...)

  6. Εκπληκτικό ποστ... η έκθεση ήταν όντως υπέροχη, είχε όμως τόσο κόσμο που η παρουσίασή σου ήταν ότι χρειαζόταν (έχασα τελικά πολλά σημεία της έκθεσης, μακάρι να κρατούσε περισσότερες μέρες).

    Ο Γκούφι σου στέλνει φιλιά. Κι εγώ βεβαίως βεβαίως:-)))


    ΥΓ. να τα ξαναπούμε, ναι;

    ΥΓ2. πολύ μου αρέσει που τα γράφεις στα Αγγλικά, κάνω και practice;-)