In the months of May and June, many Madrid-based families spend their spare time outdoors enjoying the warm sunshine and long evenings. One of the top destinations for a family excursion is the gorgeously shady Retiro Park to visit the annual book fair (La Feria del Libro).
The fair, now in its 78th edition, is a local tradition not to be missed. From 31st May to 16th June, young readers, their parents and grandparents congregate around the book stalls to discover the latest titles from their favorite authors. The fair offers discounts on books, workshops, signings, screenings, street entertainers, talks and – of course – food. Entry is free and rarely do you leave empty-handed.
KIM loves the visiting countries
The visiting country this year is the Dominican Republic, which is fitting, as in 2019 the country celebrates its 175th anniversary as an independent state. The theme underpinning their cultural offering at the book fair is “¡Descubre un país de cultura!”– history to be discovered, stories to be written – and includes poetry, films, photography, literature and non-fiction from that country.
The children’s section this year will be dedicated to the sea, as the Dominican Republic brings the Caribbean, pirate adventures, whales, islands and many stories that have the sea as a protagonist.
KIM loves the storytelling
On weekdays from 11h to 14h and again from 18h to 21-30h (Sat & Sun 11-15h; 17h-21:30h) continuous children’s entertainment is offered in the Pabellón Infantíl. Although almost exclusively in Spanish, these shows are visual, didactic and accessible no matter your grasp of the Spanish language.
In addition, specifically for the feria de libro was prepared a guide to the children’s literature that can be found here. You’ll be able to find these, and many more, books in the expo centers of the fair.
KIM loves the Young Person’s marquee
Aimed at 14-30 year olds, this marquee promises to be the place to be for young adults during the fair. An ambitious programme has been drawn up that includes round table discussions with booktubers and bookstagrammers on 1st June. On the 16th of June there will be a talk on the future of Marvel Universe.
KIM loves the international bookstores
Every year sees an abundance of children’s booksellers and publishers at the fair, offering everything from board books, first readers and fiction to non-fiction, action, themed, comics and graphic novels for readers aged 0-18 years old. Among the stalls offering children’s books in English are Booksellers (stall 52), El Dragón Lector (stall 70), Didacticalia (stall 49) and PASAJES LIBRERÍA INTERNACIONAL (stall 160). Look out for authors and illustrators who hang around these stalls and often spontaneously sign or sketch on books to the delight of young onlookers.
KIM loves the photo exhibition
As the stalls thin to one passageway towards the centre of the fair, the adjacent space is always filled with large photographic displays, which over the past couple of years have focussed on environmental impact and climate change. For our digital children, the novelty of looking at printed photographs is not lost on their analogue parents! Definitely worth seeking out this exhibition whilst at the fair. It never fails to engage youngsters and adults alike.
So get out with your family this spring to visit the Feria del Libro in Retiro Park. If you are looking for other activities in Madrid, visit our activities in Madrid section!