Always an exciting event, this year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair reported that foot traffic was heavy, moods were optimistic, and business was getting done. What then was the "business" getting done, and what genres of books were showcased and hot this year?

The answer in large part is middle grade fiction!  Agents, publishers, and rights managers all agreed. Good news for those of us with an interest in writing for those middle graders.  In particular, one title attracting attention was Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve, illustrated by Sarah McIntyre, which will be published in the U.K. in September by Oxford University Press.  Another mg book, Gracefully Grayson is about a boy realizing he identifies as a girl. 

And for good measure, two more mg offerings are The Creature Department by Robert Paul Weston and The Nine Lives of Alexander Baddenfield by John Bemelmans Marciano, illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

What was the buzz about picture books?   Little, Brown Books for Young Readers was highlighting Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, a new picture book from Peter Brown, due in fall 2013, about a tiger who wants to let his inner tiger loose.  Another book of interest is The Cat with Seven Names by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Christine Davenier.

Bologna, in many ways, is a bell weather for kids' books across the world.  There is usually a wonderful showing of books of all types, genres and nationalities.  This year was no exception, although dystopian and young adult were not quite as hot as in previous years.  Trends, as we know, come and go.  If Bologna isn't a trendsetter, it certainly is an indicator of what's to come.