Roberto Innocenti, Andersen Award 2008, met the Bologna audience

11 April 2024

The meeting with Roberto Innocenti promoted by IBBY Italia on Wednesday 10 April in Bologna at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair as part of the initiatives in preparation for the Congress aroused great participation, enthusiasm and emotion, particularly among the young people who flocked to the event.

Roberto Innocenti is the only Italian illustrator to have been awarded the 2008 Hans Christian Andersen Prize, the Nobel Prize for children’s literature: his works are currently on display in Florence at Palazzo Medici Riccardi in an exhibition open until 26 May promoted by the Metropolitan City of Florence and curated by Paola Vassalli and Valentina Zucchi. Innocenti spoke with them in Bologna, introduced by Elisabetta Lippolis, vice president of IBBY Italy. “His work,” said Vassalli, who dedicated no less than three chapters to Innocenti in the book ‘ABC of Figures in Children’s Books’ (Donzelli, 2024), “is great literature and a work for everyone. It is a work in which he rebels against injustice and gives substance to his indignation, an indignation that stems from the desperation of a child inside the war that he was.” Valentina Zucchi also emphasised the popularity of his work, which has the poetry and depth of art: “His work,” said Zucchi, “can be taken home with twenty euros and this is a great democratic principle. In his images there is the world: they are complex, but at the same time simple, yet not simplified, because children understand everything.” In conclusion, Vassalli invited the City of Florence and the Government to dedicate a house to this author and to all illustrators, for whom there is still no dedicated museum.