30 March 2024
To BCBF, Palestinian Children Matter

To the organizers of the Bologna Children's Book Fair (BCBF),

As Palestinian and Arab publishers, authors, designers, and illustrators, we write this letter to BCBF, the most prestigious children's book fair celebrating diversity of children's literature in all its forms.

Over the past 60 years, BCBF has grown to symbolize the best that literature and culture can offer to children, and thus is considered one of the biggest advocates for children's rights.

BCBF celebrates the wonderful diversity of children's literature every year. A new BCBF feature for 2024 is the collaboration with the United Nations, which has led to the creation of shared initiatives on sustainability and children’s rights.

The fair not only reveals the beauty of childhood, but also acknowledges its darker aspects.

In 2022, BCBF rightly highlighted the devastating effects of war on Ukraine with a fantastic collection of art and books from the region. It also shed light on the significant and lasting effects of the ongoing conflict on Ukrainian children.

BCBF also suspended Russia’s participation in the fair due to its role in the aggression against Ukraine and its causing of significant civilian casualties.

As we write this letter and for the past 6 months, we continue to witness Israel’s live streamed genocide on Gaza/Palestine unfolding in front of our very eyes.

More than 14,000 children have been murdered and over 17,000 have been orphaned so far.

The number of children reported killed in Gaza since October 2023 is higher than the number killed in four years of war around the world combined.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is not a natural disaster!

Israel is using starvation as a weapon of war. According to UNICEF, one in three babies under the age of two in northern Gaza are suffering from acute malnutrition.

At least 27 children have died due to malnutrition in northern Gaza so far.

The people of the world struggle to digest how this is allowed to continue to any of the world’s children today.

BCBF did not hesitate to condemn Russia and take a stance against the war on Ukraine. But when it came to taking a stand for Palestinian children in Gaza, BCBF are silent.

We battle with the question of how BCBF can so willingly condemn the Russian attack on Ukraine yet stand silent while Israel’s genocide on Gaza continues to unfold.

Does BCBF consider the safety of a Ukrainian child more valuable than that of a Palestinian Child?

Or that a Ukrainian child has more of a right to exist than a Palestinian child?

Is it not the essence of all that we do, as Children’s book publishers, to unite our children together and teach them acceptance, inclusiveness, tolerance and that they are all equal.

We, the undersigned, ask BCBF to highlight the suffering of Palestinian children in your exhibition, declare your support for an immediate ceasefire and urge BCBF to suspend the participation of Israel in the exhibition, which occupies Palestinian territories, steals land, tortures children and commits crimes against humanity with impunity.

342 verified
  1. Salwa Shakhshir, Publisher, Al Salwa Publishers, Amman
  2. Masarra Touqan, Publisher, KWD, Amman
  3. Noha Habaieb, Illustrator, Doha
  4. Sinan Sweis, CEO, Jabal Amman Publishers, Amman
  5. Lobna Shokry, Children’s book author, Virginia, USA;Cairo, Egypt
  6. Haya Halaw, Illustrator, Freelancer, Hamburg
  7. Taghreed Aref Najjar, writer, Amman
  8. Lucy Coats, Author, Northampton, UK
  9. Jessica Craig, Literary Agent, Craig Literary, Connecticut, USA and Asturias, Spain
  10. Telka Pelova, Bookseller, Pages of Hackney, London
  11. Halimah Manan, Assistant Editor, London
  12. Emily Sharratt, Editor, writer, London
  13. Clara Vulliamy, Author-illustrator, London
  14. Nabilla Doma, Brand Manager, Penguin Random House, London
  15. Miranda BESHARA, Children’s Author & Translator, Paris-Cairo
  16. N Shafi, Writer, Sheffield, UK
  17. Inda Ahmad Zahri, Author, illustrator, doctor, Riyadh
  18. E.G. Alaraj, Children’s Book Author, Vancouver
  19. Christabel McKinley, Literary Agent, London
  20. Stephanie Hewitt, Chesterfield
302 more
verified signatures
  1. Ibtisam Barakat, Author, Tasting the Sky, A Palestinian Childhood, USA
  2. Angela Iannone, Teacher, Fondi
  3. Selin Aşık, Analist, Istanbul
  4. Leila Mattar, translator
  5. Maryam Ahmadi Shirazi, Publisher, writer, Nashr e Madaran e Emrooz, Tehran
  6. Tiddia Michela, Insegnante, Cagliari
  7. Nasrin Karimi, Lawyer, Berlin
  8. Beyaert Nancy, Mortsel
  9. Ruth Kidane, Toronto
  10. Nora kort, Community Development Specialist, President/ ATTA Services, Jerusalem
  11. anonymous
  12. Sana, Retired, London
  13. Mirta Mattina, Psicologa, Napoli
  14. Arianna Santucci, Student, Rome
  15. Valeria Fogato, illustrator, Milano
  16. Laurence Egan, Pharmaceutical Operator, Glasgow
  17. Julia Denos, Author-Illustrator
  18. Serena Tabacchi, Curator, Rifugio Digitale, Florence
  19. Mozhdeh tamri, Writer, Poet, Toronto
  20. Rima Bordcosh, Mi.ssisauga
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