From March 6 to 9, 2023, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair celebrates its sixtieth edition, during which it will bring together the most renowned illustrators, authors, translators, publishers, agents and critics of children’s and young people’s literature from all over the world. . . The award for Best Children’s Book Publisher also goes, to which she is nominated, representing Colombia, Catapulm Bookswho since 2016 has opted for this type of literature.
In this sixteenth edition of the Bologna Book Fair, publisher María Fernanda Paz Castillo, director and founder of Catapulm Books— In addition to participating in the awards ceremony, he will lead the publisher’s entourage who arrives at the fair with a catalog of 30 titles by Colombian authors and illustrators and from all over Latin America such as Jairo Buitrago, Paula Ortiz , Triunfo Arciniegas, Pilar Posada, among others.
Catapulm Books begins its story in 2016 with Adiós, a poem by Candelario Obeso illustrated by Juan Camilo Mayorga. Today, six years later, they are to doors to be named best children’s book publisher in the Caribbean, Central and South America. Regarding the nomination for the prize, GlobeLiveMedia spoke with María Fernanda Paz Castillo, director and founder of the publishing house, about the nomination, the difference between children’s literature and children’s literature and what is coming for 2023. She announced two novelties.
To start, congratulations on the nomination, and where does the name of the editor come from?
When we founded the publishing house we were… the spirit of the publishing house is closely linked to the game, that is to say the word and the word from different angles, let’s say from the oral tradition , poetry, narrative; So we were looking for a word, let’s say, that was in the collective unconscious, but we also thought of an onomatopoeia, because they are very strong; in words like with many different meanings for everyone. So we find catapult We liked it a lot, we thought that, as I told you, it sums up the spirit of the writing, which is to play with the language, from different places… it’s like the essence of the publishing house, not only playing with the language, but also with the image, right?
It’s not the first time that Catapult participate in the Bologna book fair, how was the first time and what was the impact of these participations for the publisher?
Yes, the publisher has been to the Bologna Fair, and I, as a publisher, have also been going there for a long time, because, well, it is the most important fair for the sale of rights in the field of children’s literature, books for children and for young people. I think that, above all, the Bologna Fair was very formative, in the sense of being able to get in touch with the best publishers, to see the works, to be able to contrast, to see what your books look like there, to see the different currents, tendencies, to know, above all, the illustrators. It was therefore, particularly in the field of training, such as the training of editor-in-chief, essential in this sense.
How did you find out about the nomination? Did they know? And after the nomination, what’s next for Catapult?
Listen, the truth is, no. It was an absolute surprise. We see that, on the page of the Bologna Book Fair, it says that it was the associations of promoters of reading, it was the librarians who recommended the publishers that we are, let’s say, named by Latin America , because beside Catapult there are four other publishers, two Chilean and two Argentinian.
Well, first it was an absolute surprise, because we didn’t know, we had no idea. The truth is that it was a total surprise with great joy because the other editors who are also nominated are editor friends and we have, in a way, traveled many salons together. It is a reward for the work we do. We receive it with great humility and alive that we are on the way, that it is our way, and that this way is also interesting on other continents, in other spaces and for mediators from different countries.
Why talk about children’s literature and not children’s literature? Is there a difference?
It’s just that it’s a difference, let’s say, very personal, and it varies depending on who you talk to, because there are a lot of people who talk about children’s literature. I like to talk about children’s literature, because the term childishIn my opinion, it infantilizes literature a bit, gives it a connotation of, let’s say, the infantilization of children’s literature, and many people even believe that, because it is children’s literature, children can also to write.
There is a whole new current that prefers to talk about children’s and young people’s literature and not about children’s or youth literature; but as I told you, it’s a personal and professional position, I like to talk about children’s books, children’s literature, for boys and girls.
Why specialize in this type of literature?
Well, look, I think in my case, what concerns me, already as a professional, is due to an interest in training readers and the understanding that these are the first books that come into the lives of boys and girls. , and which are important, let’s say exponentially, because to the extent that children are in contact with good books, with good texts, with good images, to that extent, well, they form readers with everything that involves the training of readers.
So I have a particular affinity for children. I love children. I have always been in close contact with children, it seems to me that they are also incredible readers because they see things that we do not see. They have no prejudices when approaching a book, it’s very surprising. I say the coolest, the most interesting, the most important is everything that happens between readers and these books, the responses are impressive and the things that children do, based on the books, or the thoughts that come from them .
Editing children’s books is a very noble job and a very rewarding job, because they are hard-working books, and sometimes there are very large teams behind each book. They are rewarding jobs too, in that sense.
In Catapult We have a very clear line on the importance of accompanying children in their training as readers, which is why we have children’s books that come out, let’s say, of the box and are already starting to turn the pages on paper, even older boys and girls who can read, that they are more independent in their reading.
We are talking about more or less 30 titles in the catalog, how was this process to get closer to the authors and find out what boys and girls want to read?
We, the truth, are going the other way. We don’t publish what kids want to read. We publish what experience tells us should be in the reading repertoire of boys and girls. We promote that, bring it closer together and try to offer different things, different books, maybe more traditional books. Variety is very important to us, who offer readings, because we also understand that readers are formed in this way. Not only giving them what they like, which is very important, but also offering new things. There are already plenty of publishers dedicated to making what kids want to read. This is where the important role that we adults have in shaping boys and girls as readers comes in and that is bringing them closer, not bringing them closer to new kinds of new books, new genres literary, new characters.
Number 30 is incredible for us, it’s a catalog made with a lot of effort, we put a lot of work into each book, a lot of work, there are books that have three or four years of work behind them. It is therefore a figure, for us, quite significant for all the work behind it, not only on the part of the publisher, because we work with an artistic director, with a producer, but also on the part of the authors.
After going through the Bologna Book Fair, the Bogotá International Book Fair and regional fairs are approaching, what have you prepared for 2023?
Yes, we are going to participate in several regional fairs. We are still seeing if we will participate with a certain ally. At the Bogotá Book Fair we are going with a super interesting program, several authors of Catapultanyway, internationals, Mariana Massarani, Roger Melo, Micaela Chiris, Ana Palmero, who is also the artistic director of Catapult and that she is an expert in the art direction and design of children’s books. They also come from local authors such as Pilar Posada, comes Pablo Ortiz, Triunfo Arciniegas.
We will also have an event for mediators with Triunfo Arcinegas, we will have book signings at the weekend at the stand and, what is like the icing on the cake, is that we are going with two spectacular novelties, which will be soon in bookstores, and that I give you the scoop, a book is called Aesop said it was the donkey by Triunfo Arciniegas and Juan Palomino, and a book titled I want to be, which is by Andres Letría, a translation from Portuguese.