21 January 2024
Solidarity with Palestine at BCBF

To the organisers of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair,

As illustrators, authors and publishers dedicated to creating meaningful and beautiful books for children, we have come together to highlight an urgent and pertinent issue.

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair celebrates the very best of children’s literature in all its diversity. The knowledge, camaraderie and inspiration gained at the fair is nothing short of magic. We also know that the fair not only highlights the brightness of childhood, but honours its dark moments. In 2022, BCBF stood with the world in acknowledging the suffering in Ukraine with an impressive display of art and books from the region that was (and still is) exacting serious and lasting impacts on Ukraine’s children, and continues to shape their stories. It also suspended Russia from participating due to its role in the aggression.

This show of solidarity is important because it is at the very essence of our work as children’s authors, illustrators and publishers, to champion the rights of children, to nourish their minds, to honour their creativity and the protect them from harm.

Currently, there is a war on Palestine which is affecting children at such an unprecedented scale that it has been described by doctors, journalists and UN aid workers as a war on children.

In 100 days of war:

10,000 children have been killed and 30,000 have been orphaned.

More than 1000 children have had amputations, some without anaesthetics.

Hospitals where children seek treatment, including newborn babies requiring incubators, are targeted in bombing or raided.

Almost all the children are denied education as schools are targeted in bombing (even with families inside).

Majority of children have been displaced from their homes, many having to walk the length of the Gaza strips to ‘safe areas’ where bombardments still continue.

Majority of children live in tents, and some have died from the winter cold.

Majority of children do not have access to clean water, making gastrointestinal infections rife.

Majority of children are starving.

Bombardments occur every day and throughout the night, terrorising and traumatising children.

This horrific list is not designed to minimise the effects of war on men, women and the elderly - indeed, all aspects of life in Gaza and the occupied West Bank are devastated. Nor is it designed to overshadow the experience of children in conflicts elsewhere. However, it plays an important role in highlighting how unparalleled this war is to anything that we know, and therefore our support must be urgent, universal, and whole-hearted.

Solidarity for Palestine and for humanity has already spread widely across creative communities. We, the undersigned, would like to urge BCBF to join us in taking a stand and showing the Palestinian child whose books have are buried under rubble, whose play and story times have been taken from them, whose songs are drowned out by bombs, that they are not forgotten.

Palestine has been violently occupied by Israeli forces for 75 years. Palestinians have had their lands stolen, their rights stripped from them, and their people wrongfully detained, tortured and killed, and even dead bodies are mutilated.

Today, there is great destruction in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, but a chance for us to honour the spirit, resilience and innocence of the children outside of the besieged enclave. Please consider showcasing humanity and Palestinian solidarity at your fair, declaring your support for an immediate ceasefire in the meantime, and rallying the creative world by announcing it ahead of the event. We also urge you to suspend participation from the occupying state of Israel, which is carrying out these crimes against humanity with impunity, until Palestine is liberated.

1,951 verified
  1. Inda Ahmad Zahri, Doctor, author, illustrator, Riyadh
  2. Sara HB, Author, mother, Private, Mexico city
  3. Leila Boukarim, Author, Berlin
  4. Sana Alfalasi, Illustrator, Dubai
  5. Huda Al-Marashi, Author, San Diego
  6. Cathy Camper, Author, Portland
  7. Nasir Nasrallah, Artist, Sharjah
  8. Karla Hammer, Artist, Byron Bay
  9. Reem Al Qamzi, Architect, Dubai
  10. Sinan El Hallak, Illustrator, Gloucester
  11. Jennifer Stark, Engineer, writer, Austin
  12. Chanamon Ratanalert, Illustrator, San Francisco
  13. Mai Alfalasi, Mother, Dubai
  14. Omar Abed, Author, Springfield
  15. Ibtihaj Al Harthi, Illustrator, Freelancer, Muscat
  16. Sarah Firth, Author/Artist, Melbourne
  17. Lulwa Almathkor, Illustrator, Arts by lulu, Salam
  18. Noha Albarwani, Digital Artist, Anatoon, Muscat
  19. Najla Al Owais, Mother, Sharjah
  20. Asma Enayeh, Illustrator, Dubai
1,911 more
verified signatures
  1. Marcos Guardiola Martín, Illustrator, Madrid
  3. Arianna Vairo, artist, Milano
  4. Salwa Shakhshir, Publisher, Al Salwa Publishers, Amman
  5. Lina Abusamha, Publishing student, University of Stirling, Scotland
  6. Vicente Ferrer Azcoiti, publisher, Media Vaca, Valencia
  7. Mustafa Naci Turan, Sales Manager, Introtema Translation and Copyright Agency, İstanbul
  8. Estefanía Rodero Sanz, Researcher, estefaniarodero.es, Madrid
  9. Muhammed Agirakca, Founder, Introtema Agency, İstanbul
  10. Jumana Sawalha, Non, Concerned citizen, Barcelona
  11. Feride Kurtulmus, Editor, Ketebe Publishing, Istanbul
  12. Ana Rossetti, Escritora, Madrid
  13. Taghreed Najjar, writer, Al Salwa Publishers, Amman
  14. Marcela Chávez Gutiérrez, Writer, Ciudad de México
  15. Claudia Rosignoli, Cultural manager, Plàudite Teatre, Barcelona
  16. Armandeux Cuentacuentos, Storyteller, Juárez
  17. Marianna Longo, Designer, Manchester
  18. Büşra Altun, Introtema, Üsküdar
  19. OiHana, Production, Freelance, Basque Country
  20. Ainul Farhana Binti Mohamed Bathurudin, Educator, -, Singapore
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