Chao-lun Tsai wins international acclaim at Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2016

The Taiwan Pavilion at the 2016 Bologna Children’s Book Fair opened on April 4, with more than 100 publishing professionals from all over the world attending the opening party. A highlight this year was the special mention earned by Taiwanese illustrator Chao-lun Tsai for I Can’t See at the BolognaRagazzi Award. Claude Combet of French weekly Livres Hebdo, one of the judges for the award, praised the book for its touching details, such as the scene in which a blind person tries to put on a pair of white shoes in the dark. This shows that the author takes special care to depict the little things that matter a lot to the visually challenged but often elude those who can see. Gusti, winner of this year’s BolognaRagazzi Award for Disability, also came to give his regards. Gusti’s award-winning title Mallko and Daddy is based on personal experiences raising a child with Down’s syndrome. Therefore he said he appreciates Tsai’s concern for those suffering from disabilities such as visual impairment.

His sentiments were echoed by Kuang-tsai Hao, publisher of Taiwan’s Grimm Press. Hao lauded I Can’t See for displaying immense creativity while conveying a well-crafted concept, complemented with first-rate editing. The book became one of the most popular titles in terms of copyright negotiations at this year’s Taiwan Pavilion, alongside the works of young Taiwanese illustrator Ju Tzu.

A new feature at the pavilion was a virtual reality exhibition based on famed illustrator Jimmy Liao’s All My World Is You. Using a special virtual reality headset provided by Taiwan’s HTC, visitors can interact with Liao’s characters in a VR environment. The exhibition won ecstatic response from Roberta Chinni, director of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, who visited the VR exhibition three times. Her enthusiasm was shared by Marisol Schulz, director of Mexico’s Guadalajara International Book Fair, who said the VR event took the term “experience” to a whole new level.

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