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Children's books popular at Shanghai Book Fair


08-18-2014 00:31 BJT

This year’s Shanghai Book Fair has a strong focus on children and features more than 10,000 children's books by Chinese and foreign authors. 

There is an entire hall at this year's fair dedicated to children's books, with works from more than 50 publishers — more than ever before — on display. Many families are choosing books together. 

"There are more kinds now than before. My son also wants to find some adventure stories he likes," a parent said.

One bookseller says she's selling 100,000 worth of imported picture books a day at the fair — twice as much as last year's sales. And given a choice between Chinese and foreign children's books, many parents say the foreign ones are more appealing, especially the picture books. 

"I've bought some foreign children's picture books. They are quite colorful and their stories for teaching kids to be responsible are also inspiring," a parent said.

But one young reader says she prefers the domestic books. 

"I still like Chinese children's stories as I find it is much easier to understand their writing styles," said a child named Zhong Aiyuan.

A local editor says Chinese authors are good at writing stories for older children who already know lots of words and are familiar with the Chinese school environment. But she says it is difficult to develop picture books for younger children. 

"Here, artists often draw after the writers have finished stories, and that creates a barrier. But in many other countries, many writers can also draw themselves. And they will consider many details of a book including how it feels when it's touched," Zhuo Qing, Chief Editor of Children's Publishing House, said.

Children's writer Qin Wenjun says that it is not easy to find new authors to succeed famous Chinese writers. 

"Good children's story writers should not only have writing skills, but also understand children's thoughts very well. Otherwise they cannot write stories that will attract kids. And some young writers decided to quit after initial trials because they found it is very hard to become famous quickly in this area," said Qin.

And Qin says some publishers are offering more support for young writers of children's books.

At this year's book fair, publishers are holding nearly 60 events, and will get old and young writers together to talk about how to develop children's literature.

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