Cen­tral and Eastern Europe turn pages at fair

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - By CHI­NADAILY

A 5-year-old Chi­nese boy was qui­etly read­ing a book writ­ten in Czech with his mother sit­ting be­side him.

Zhang Jun, 42, and her son were vis­it­ing the Bei­jing In­ter­na­tional Book Fair. “Choos­ing a good book for chil­dren is very im­por­tant,” says Zhang.

“When my son doesn’t be­have well, I read sto­ries to him to let him know what is right and wrong.”

She says she per­son­ally fa­vors chil­dren’s books from Europe. “When I was about 10, I read a Czech fairy tale called The Mole. I found the story quite warm and in­ter­est­ing, so now I like to bring chil­dren’s books from Euro­pean coun­tries for my son to help him build a bet­ter self,” says Zhang.

It’s the first time for 16 Cen­tral and Eastern Euro­pean coun­tries, in­clud­ing Poland, Hun­gary, Ser­bia, Ro­ma­nia and the Czech Repub­lic, to be in­vited as the joint coun­tries of honor to the book fair.

Mart­inHosek, sec­ond sec­re­tary of the em­bassy of the Czech Repub­lic, who was in charge of the Czech’s book ex­hi­bi­tion at BIBF, says his team pur­posely fo­cused on books for chil­dren for the show.

“There are many il­lus­tra­tions in chil­dren’s books, and kids may like them even though they don’t un­der­stand the words,” he says.

An­drea Hu­seinovic from Croa­tia brought her pic­ture books, which she painted to­gether with her 13-year-old son, to Chi­nese read­ers with the co­op­er­a­tion of Guangxi Nor­mal Univer­sity Pub­lish­ing Press (Group).

As well as the books ex­hi­bi­tion, var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties such as films, cul­tural speeches, lit­er­a­ture sa­lons and dances were or­ga­nized to serve the theme of “Kalei­do­scope of Di­verse Cul­tures” at the book fair.

Sarkozy Bence, gen­eral man­ager of Je­lenkor Ki­ado Kft, one of the three key pub­lish­ers in­Hun­gary, says: “We got a Hun­gar­ian ver­sion of Jiang Rong’s Wolf Totem and works writ­ten by Yu Hua. But the prob­lem is, we lack trans­la­tors to help us read more.”

Hosek agrees on the im­por­tance of trans­la­tors.

“The cul­tural and lit­er­a­ture com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the Czech Repub­lic and China has a long history, be­cause we have some very good trans­la­tors,” he says.

There are about 500 Czech books that were trans­lated into Chi­nese, and Chi­nese nov­els like that byMo Yan and Su Tong have been trans­lated into Czech.

China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tives have of­fered greater mo­men­tum for more pub­lish­ing and cul­tural ex­changes, says Lin Liy­ing, vice-pres­i­dent of China Na­tional Pub­li­ca­tions Im­port& Ex­port (Group) Cor­po­ra­tion, one of the BIBF or­ga­niz­ers.

ZOU HONG / CHINA DAILY

A view of Euro­pean pub­li­ca­tions on dis­play at the Bei­jing book fair.

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