Women in Children’s Books a Discussion Topic at Bologna Children’s Book Fair


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I was delighted and honored to be part of an important discussion at the 56th annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair about the representation of women in children’s books. Moderated by Maria Russo, children’s books editor at the New York Times, the “Time Is on Their Side: Women in Children’s Books" panel included authors, illustrators, publishers, and journalists from around the world. It was fascinating to hear the history and current climate of women’s representation in children’s literature in other parts of the globe—for better or worse. 

General consensus: positive messages regarding gender equality and women’s rights will only continue to flourish, especially as awareness grows and threats to these issues arise. 

It was wonderful and enlightening to meet and learn from these intriguing women, and I’m so grateful to BCBF and its exhibition manager Elena Pasoli for including me.


Photo: BCBF exhibition manager Elena Pasoli introduces the panel—seated from left, Olga Maëotz, literary critic (Russia); author Susan Wood (USA); Vichi de Marchi, journalist and author (Italy); NYT children’s books editor Maria Russo (USA), Beatrice Masini, author and editorial director of Bompiani (Italy); Gillian Engberg, editorial consultant (USA); Isabel Sánchez Vegara, author (Spain); Ana Albero, illustrator (Spain); Sophie Gallo-Selva, publisher, Les petites mustaches (France). Not pictured: Bodour Al Qasimi, vice president, International Publishers Association and publisher, Kalimat (UAE), and Marta Breen, author (Norway).

Photo: Ada Treves 

© Susan Wood 2018