Shanghai hosts international children's book fair

Ke Jiayun
Online offerings were all the rage among foreign publishers this year as the industry adapts to the pandemic.
Ke Jiayun
Shanghai hosts international childrens book fair
Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

Publishers promote their children's books online at the 2020 China Shanghai International Children's Book Fair.

Foreign publishers were seeking new cooperation in the Chinese market at the 2020 China Shanghai International Children's Book Fair, held over the weekend at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center, while developing more online products amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the weekend, Oxford University Press and domestic audio sharing platform Dragonfly FM announced their cooperation on a new audio program based on the press' newly published education content series "Talk About China with Oxford."

Dragonfly FM will develop the series' educational products and bring them to its channel for children.

In the first stage, Dragonfly FM focuses on the series' Kankan Shanshan Big Science Adventure, which is scheduled to go online by the end of this year. It uses interesting stories to stimulate children's interest in science.

Ding Rui, managing director, Chinese mainland, Oxford University Press, told Shanghai Daily that the press has cooperated with Chinese scientific and technical corporations to bring its educational contents online for learners.

The press' online platforms have proved popular amid the pandemic, and it's laying more emphasis on online products this year.

Shanghai hosts international childrens book fair
Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

Children reads books at the 2020 China Shanghai International Children's Book Fair.

Another UK publisher, MM Publications, specialized in English-language teaching material, brought their English-language textbooks for children and teens as well as picture books to the fair.

According to Qiu Xiaofeng, marketing manager of MM Publications' China Office, it has its own online learning system which is available to young readers on computer. "We are now working on developing a mobile app which might be put into use at the end of this year or early next year." He added that during the coronavirus pandemic, MM Publications has maintained a stable connection with its office in China and Chinese partners online, and moved its teacher-training courses online as well.

Representatives with US educational publisher McGraw Hill said they have online learning solutions with their paper textbooks, including products using artificial intelligence and online study materials.

At the Canada Pavilion, which was sponsored by the Consulate General of Canada in Shanghai, 21 Canadian publishers displayed their books.

Shanghai hosts international childrens book fair
Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

Authors who cannot make it to China have live connections with the 2020 China Shanghai International Children's Book Fair.

Marc Mikhael, consul and trade commissioner at the consulate, said that although these publishers couldn't come to China physically, they are able to engage virtually through video calls and messaging provided by the children's book fair to connect potential Chinese partners. "We provided the opportunity for Canadian and Chinese companies to maintain cooperation by being the middle person and providing them this pavilion as a platform."

NE Neungyule, a publisher from South Korea, also had a booth to promote its online learning system which was developed this year. It aims to cultivate children's independent study abilities.

For foreign authors who could not make it to Shanghai, domestic publishing houses took their works to the fair.

CITIC Press Group showcased German illustrator and author Gerda Raidt's "Waste: Everything About The Most Bothersome Thing In The World" as well as some works by Japanese and South Korean children's book authors.

Meanwhile, this year's fair featured a market for young illustrators to promote and sell their work.

"Last year I attended the children's book fair as a visitor and this year as an illustrator," said artist Da Xin. "This year, the area for independent illustrators has expanded much and my works can be shown to more people. It's a good platform for us to display our works."

Shanghai hosts international childrens book fair
Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

A young illustrator displays her works and related products at a market inside the 2020 China Shanghai International Children's Book Fair.

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