Since 2019, Bologna Children’s Book Fair is partner of the four-year project “Mapping - A map on the aesthetics of performing arts for early years”, an artistic research venture, supported by the European Union, looking at the relationship between early childhood (children from zero to 6 years) and the performing arts.

"Mapping" is proposed as an experimental mapping project, a field research involving performers, academics, and illustrators for children’s book entrusted with the task of interpreting the concept of children- spectators of a performative event (theater, dance, music, circus, etc.), in which the performer meets a young audience.
In the framework of the project, which involves 18 partners from 17 countries, including La Baracca - Testoni Ragazzi, Theater for Youth of the city of Bologna, the aim of Bologna Children’s Book Fair’s activities is creating an interaction between the performing arts and the world of illustration and literature for early childhood.

As the first step, in 2019 BCBF has organized the first edition of the international contest “The Children-Spectators”: among 418 participants from 45 countries and regions, 31 illustrators have been selected by a jury composed by Ivan Canu, Mauro Evangelista, Giorgia Grilli and Roberto Frabetti.

In 2020, 641 illustrators from 62 countries participated to the second edition. The jurors – Ayami Moriizumi, Paola Vassalli, Giorgia Grilli e Roberto Frabetti - selected 38 artists.

In 2021, 584 illustrators from 61 countries participated to the third edition. The jurors – Giulia Orecchia, Maurizio Quarello, Giorgia Grilli e Roberto Frabetti - selected 35 artists.

The selected illustrators are also candidates for the final exhibition of the project, along with the original illustrations of four international artists, Katsumi Komagata (Japan), Manuel Marsol (Spain), Fabian Negrin (Argentina), and Klaas Verplancke (Belgium).

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