Bologna’s Book Fair – Bologna Italy

I’m off for the Bologna Book Fair! Peanuts Worldwide has a booth at the festival, which serves as a meeting point for many European licensees.  This gives us an opportunity to speak face to face with our European agents and their licensees. It allows us to showcase things, like our new Street Fair game and the Charlie Brown Christmas digital book to the thousands of people who pass by the booth. We also get to see what is new in the world of books and licensing.

While others went directly to Bologna to set up the Peanuts Worldwide booth, I chose to fly into Milan and spend Sunday doing a little sightseeing on my way to Bologna. I was accompanied on my journey by Oscar, Gabriella and Claudio Massari, our agents in Italy. They graciously drove me from Milan to Bologna, and showed me some of the sites.

There are “castles” to be seen in the landscape virtually everywhere, though Castell ‘ Arquato, our first stop, is actually a medieval village.  Its beginnings were most likely surrounding a Roman military settlement.

The sea originally covered this area, so fossils can be seen in the stones which make up the sandstone facade of the Romanesque church.  Called The Collegiate Church, it began as a temple and baptismal parish church in 758. It was badly damaged by a severe earthquake in 1117 and rebuilt and re-consecrated five years later.  A bell tower was added in the 14th Century and other changes were made over the years, but a good deal was done in the 19th Century to restore it to its original state.

We strolled through the village, and I realized as we headed to our car that I had missed the House- Museum dedicated to the librettist who collaborated with Puccini on Tosca, La Boheme and Madam Butterfly.  Luigi Illica was more than a librettist, but it was the note about these three operas that made me want to visit the Museum.  Ah, well, now I have a reason to return.

As we continued our journey to Bologna, we stopped for lunch. “Domenica a pranzo mangiamo en un buon ristorante.”  I am having fun practicing with my limited vocabulary, though I will try not to subject my readers to too much of it.

Oscar, Gabriella and Claudio Massari, our Agents in Italy.Oscar, Gabriella and Claudio Massari, our Agents in Italy in front of the ristorante.

Once we got to Bologna, one of my first stops was to Peanuts booth. The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is one of the most important, and features (mostly) European and US publishers of children’s books.  The Peanuts booth serves both as a meeting place for Peanuts Worldwide staff and fun attraction for visitors. They can see what Peanuts has to offer and ask about publishing rights in various countries.

Peanuts Worldwide The huggable logo of Peanuts Worldwide proved to be a favorite photo op for passers-by.

The entrance to the Bolonga’s Children’s Book FairEntrance to the Bolonga’s Children’s Book Fair! On the right are three staff members from Peanuts Worldwide ,Tara Botwick, Brandon Cole and Kim Towner, who adopted the booth as their office for the three days of the Book Fair.

Bolonga’s Children’s Book FairWe are showing the same video that was made for the unveiling of The Love Foundation in Beijing in April 201,
and there is a nice view of the comic strips covering the walls, as well as the book shelves in the background.

Many people visit our booth and stand or sit and read the books, the way we used to sit in the soda fountain and read the comics when I was young.  If you love books, walking around is truly like visiting a fair with so many delightful pleasures everywhere.  And it is such a wonderful treat to get to see so many visitors and fans of Peanuts visiting and interacting with the booth.  I overheard among three young women who were reading the comic strip wallpaper of the booth: “como puoi non amarlo”—  “How can you not love him?”.   It made me smile, and it makes me feel welcome and at home.

—Jean Schulz

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