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Let’s be honest, which of us as

children didn’t fall in love with one

particular book mainly because we

were so fascinated and thrilled by the

pictures in it? I have never forgotten many of these

imaginative illustrations. And I know for a fact that

they helped me – as they have helped millions of

other children across the globe – to move from the

world of the spoken to the world of the written

word. But that’s not all. From the moment of my first

hesitant reading attempts, they ensured that reading

was a source of unadulterated pleasure for me. It

still is today.

The major role played by illustrators in the success

of children’s books is sometimes underestimated.

We often remember the author of a book, but cannot

say who was responsible for the illustrations. That

is why I am delighted that the Bologna Children’s

Book Fair offers such a wonderful opportunity to

present a selection of truly remarkable works by

German illustrators. It shows how varied and cre­

ative the art of illustration in Germany is today.

Without a doubt the lovingly designed book illustra­

tions are one of the reasons why Germany has been

successfully exporting children’s books to all corners

of the world for decades. They encapsulate the

dreams and longings of children the world over and

thus resonate with young people from all kinds of

different cultures. Who knows, maybe the exhibition

will manage to attract many more fans of the ani­

mal, magical and human heroes and heroines in our

books. I do hope so.

Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier,

Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs