I spent last weekend in Paris at the impressive and wonderful and brilliant Salon du Livres Jeunesse de Montreuil. It’s a giant book fair focussed on YA and children’s books. It attracted 161,000 people this year.
I’ll just say that again: One hundred and sixty one THOUSAND.
As a writer, it’s one of the most fabulous things I’ve ever seen.
It’s absolutely massive, sprawling across two floors of a big convention centre.
All the French publishers have stands stacked with books, like mini-bookshops. Writers and editors man the stalls to talk about the books directly with readers. It’s like a ComicCon but for books.
This was the Robert Laffont stand.
Parents bring their children to the fair and they bond over books. It warmed my heart to see fathers and mothers carefully reading the first chapter of Night School before deciding it was Ok for their young son or daughter to buy it.
I particularly loved getting to meet Night School readers, who are all, without exception, beautiful and clever and FUN.
My signing tablemate was the amazing and famous French YA author Carina Rozenfeld, whose books I am going to try to read in French!
And I got the chance to wander through the book fair and look at the gorgeous French children’s books. They are so colourful and creative – it made me feel like a child again.
Just look at this one:
And this one:
And this one (sob):
Montreuil is a hugely successful annual fair. Spending time there makes you realise that books really do still fire children’s imagination.
It brings writers and their readers together, and helps readers find new books in which to immerse themselves.
C’est fabuleux, no?