I'm back after a pause I hadn't announced, due to my participation to the famous Salon de Montreuil*. I do apologize for not having given an official notice. The truth is that maybe I have been a bit reticent in announcing a blog pause because I didn't really feel "paused", in fact all my actions were aiming these pages.
In the upcoming weeks I shall start analyzing in-depth some of the books I have found at the Salon, for the moment though I shall just make a short resumé of what I was able to see, hear and feel during the show, together with a short selection of masterpieces I found (of course the selection is limited for reasons of time and personal taste, many other books would have been eligible to make it to the list).
As usual the French scene is always rich in discoveries and stimulus even if, here as well, the wind is starting to blow a bit harder because of the new financial measures taken by the French Government. The debate upon the future of Children's Literature, and on culture in general, is therefore still actual and kicking: after the "end of activity" announcement given by Etre Publishing, as I had already explained here, and after the substantial fund-cut that is determining the end of the association Livres au Trésor with all its wonderful activities, France has to face an increasing dread that often resolves into a worrying incoherence when it's up to publisher's choices. Let me explain this better: I had the precise feeling that an increasing number of publishers have started to try to expand their horizons, which is not bad at all by itself, their action though is quite confused and confusing. To be short it's as if they were trying to avoid drowning by grasping the first life raft that comes at hand, no matter if it's not in line with their original plan. Now, I can't avoid to asking myself (and you of course): is it wise and fair that a publishing house moves away from its own original line of action? Is it correct if said publisher gathers under its roof a number of texts, projects and/or collections that have little to do with that starting point they themselves had traced? Of course I don't pretend I have an answer but, if you have any, I would be glad to host a little debate.
As regards children's literature perspectives, IBBY France together with BNF (Bibliothèque Nationale de France - Centre National de la littérature pour la Jeunesse La joie par les Livres) have organized a very interesting meeting titled: "2e Rencontres européennes de la littérature pour la jeunesse", during the meeting the discussion lead to analyze European creative paths (thanks to the participation of very important illustrators such as Dusan Kàllay, Arnal Ballester and Bernd Mölck-Tassel) and publishing, literary mediation and promotional practices related to kidslit, of course. The acts will soon be available, if you're interested in reading them you could get them here.
As I was saying above, despite all possible worries and doubts, the Salon remains an important moment of meditation and sharing that is really worthy if you're interested in this sector. Le latest piece of new from our French cousins is the future opening, in Montreuil, of a new school called: "L'Ecole du livre de jeunesse". The school aims to give resources and informations to the various parties involved in the diffusion and deepening of children's books at various levels, all this though without forgetting families: for them there will be special educational laboratories aimed to give parents new mwthods of approach to books and many other initiatives. Amid the fifteen amazing contributors of the school, that will open officially in 2011, there will be the dearest Christian Bruel too! I wish his genius and the experience he made as publisher along the years will contribute to the blossoming of many biting smiles**!
Time for some books signaling now!!! Some books are older but they are such wonderful books I couldn't avoid putting them in my list:
Monsieur Cent Têtes, by Ghislaine Herbéra, Edizioni MeMo, January 10th 2010. Prix Premier Album (First Picture Book Award) at the Salon.
L'Herbier, Petite Flore des bois d'Europe, by Emilie Vast, Edizioni MeMo, May 15th 2010.
Le Petit Homme et Dieu, by Kitty Crowther, L'Ecole des Loisirs - Pastel Publishing, September 2010
Diapason, by Laëtitia Devernay, La Joie de Lire Publishing, October 2010
Ici Londres, by Vincent Cuvellier, illustrations by Anne Herbauts, Rouergue Publishing, January 2009.
and, least but not last, some lovely poetry books:
published by Bayard Jeunesse from 2003 up to nowadays in the section "Hors Collection".
The books are not in a particular order, no favorites, no chronological order, let's say it's much more a random act of disorder! I shall tell you more about some of these books soon, therefore: stay tuned!
This is it for now.
* Important Kidslit fair, held in Paris every Fall/Winter, gathering almost all French Publishers of the sector. A reference show as for new trends in the sector and cultural debate.
** For those who don't know it yet, C. Bruel's first publishing house was called La Sourire qui Mord, meaning "the biting smile".