On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the BOP – Bologna Prize for the Best Children’s Publishers of the Year, organized by the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and AIE – Italian Publishers Association in partnership with IPA – International Publishers Association, awarded publishers who have most distinguished themselves for their professional and intellectual skills in each of the six areas of the world: Africa, Central, and South America, North America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. At the same time, the prize is designed to foster a mutual exchange of knowledge and ideas among different countries, areas, and cultural identities across the world.
The 202I BOP winners include: Africa: Mkuki na Nyota, Tanzania; Asia: TUTI Books, Iran; Central/South America: Tragaluz Editores, Colombia; Europe: La Joie de Lire, Switzerland; North America: Levine Querido, USA; and Oceania: Oratia Media, New Zealand.
About TUTI Books: TUTI is the Persian word for “Parrot”; a bird that is rooted deeply in Iranian literature and is known for uttering fascinating stories. Run by its director, Sahar Tarhandeh, TUTI Books (which is the children and YA books division at Fatemi Publishing Co.) is based in Tehran, Iran and is among a handful of publishes in Iran who are active in this field. and is solely dedicated to publishing high-quality content for children and young adults across the world. TUTI has won several prestigious awards for its titles and has been able to make a great connection with its readers.
TUTI’s content and quality: TUTI’s endeavours in this regard are backed by Iran’s rich history of culture and literature, which has always had a tremendous amount to offer. TUTI’s mission extends to introducing world literature to Iranian children and young adults, reflected in their actions of searching for and acquiring the rights to titles from all over the world, further tightening cultural ties between nations. Among Iranian publishers, when publishing translated titles, TUTI is among the handful of houses that – in the absence of copyright laws is committed to publishing books by respecting the rights of international publishers. They have acquired several titles from credible international publishers and are also working on creating several original titles, which will be published within the next few months or next year.
The first and main criteria when publishing a book by TUTI is the artistic quality of the illustrations and a well-written story. The artistic quality of the illustrations, well-written text, and preferably employing universal themes, to which children from any part of the world can connect. Also, TUTI Books always tries to include subjects like disability, preserving nature in its editorial choices.
Impact of the pandemic: When it comes to the impact of the pandemic, just like every other country, remote working during the early months of the pandemic made it very difficult to coordinate and move daily tasks forward. The bookstores, schools, and libraries were closed, and so the publishing and distribution of books was hugely challenging, saved only by the use of digital. As the Covid situation improves, they are trying to publish more books in a timely manner.
About the Bologna Children’s Book fair and the prize: The Bologna Book Fair is by far the biggest and best platform that makes it possible for children’s and young adults’ publishers to gather around and provide each other with brilliant books. TUTI Books has always made sure to participate in the fair and present its titles, along with looking for quality titles to bring back and publish within Iran. Sahar Tarhandeh, notes, “This year, we were honored to win the BOP Best Publisher of the Year Award in Asia. We are glad that TUTI’s efforts in creating high-quality content has been recognized in this scale and it pushes us further to keep making greater books. Considering the difficulties we deal with in Iran, whether it be the absence of international copyright laws, financial sanctions, or the unstable economy and currency value, we are glad that TUTI’s endeavors are being acknowledged through various awards and recognitions. The BOP award is the latest and probably the most important one. Being recognized in the Bologna Book Fair indicates that we are in the right path and gives TUTI Books incentive to continue creating high-quality titles for children and young adults.”