The Livrodrome, an itinerant and fun children’s literature festival, kicks off in Paris

“There is room for literary karaoke”, launches a teacher to her class of university students gathered in the middle of the courtyard of the National Book Center (CNL), installed in the Hôtel d’Avejan, behind the Musée d’Orsay. Then two young friends take to the stage and prepare to sing a text to the music of their choice. Will be the river upside down (Jean-Claude Mourlevat) à la Aya Nakamura. An original challenge that generates a lot of fun. Later, the atmosphere is calmer. Sitting on deckchairs in the livromathon, some students listen to an audiobook with headphones on.

From June 22 to July 22, the Livrodrome tours the territory in ten stages and offers new activities to stimulate the literary appetite of children and adolescents. On the program of this flagship event of Partir en Livre: interactive reading and writing workshops. are thought of “an imaginary fair” by its designer Gauthier Morax: a route with many meetings with industry players and books, almost at will.

“What do you like to read ?” No one will be able to escape the interrogation of an author, an illustrator or a bookseller in the literary ordering booth. It is the turn of Shaïness, 12 years old. Installed in the red-curtained voting booth, the schoolgirl answers questions from Xavier D’Almeida, editor of Pocket Jeunesse, about her reading habits and her favorite books. For this great reader of Harry Potteradvises the editor NEO by Michel Bussi, a fantastic dystopia. “I think you might like it”he told her, after having described the synopsis and the cover.

At the Center national du livre, the Livrodrome's literary ordering booth allows teenagers to find their ideal novel.  (LOUISE FRETET)

At the end of this meeting, Shaïness and all the other student-patients leave with their prescription for books prescribed especially for them, including a novel opposite their universe. And therein lies the whole point, according to juvenile novelist Vincent Villeminot: “This exchange is a gamble, but it is an outlet for the superhero to go to something else.”

Some presented their recipe at the bookstore stand, curious and happy to discover new stories. Something to delight Shaïness French teacher Olivier Thircuir: “It is a kind of reward for all the work done during the year. And it’s timely, you’ll be able to pick a book or two to read this summer.”he adds, the smile hidden by his mustache.

This literary consultation between imaginary doctors and patients in spite of themselves could have pleased Molière, a star of the ephemeral tattoo activity.

During the attractions, young people win a 12-euro Reading Check, financed by the CNL, which they can use at the bookstore stand. Fashion is there, says Erika Menu, a bookseller at Attrappe-Coeur in the 18th arrondissement. “To choose is to give up”he reveals to a sixth young man, a little disappointed that he couldn’t stock up on books.

“I am very surprised by the appetite they have for advice on works they do not know”The bookseller is enthusiastic, assuring that the manga stand has not polarized all the attention.

Among the stacked books, albums and books about friendship, the theme of this year’s Partir en Livre festival. A selection made up of the list proposed by the Center National du livre, and Erika Menu’s favourites. In the top 3 of sales between 12-15 years old this first day of the Livrodrome: a thriller with The assassination of Roger Ackroyd Agatha Christie’s dramatic novel the hate we give by Angie Thomas and the little queens by Clémentine Beauvais with sparkling humour.

At the Center National du livre in Paris, the Livrodrome bookstore is full of novels of all kinds, manga and comics on the theme of the 2022 festival, friendship.  (LOUISE FRETET)

From Paris to Marseille, the Livrodrome hits the road, stopping in ten French cities to meet young people from 10 to 18 years old. For the president of the CNL, Régine Hatchondo, this event is “a bias to get the book off the shelves and get the youngsters off the screens”.

Along its route, the Livrodrome will offer unique activities typical of each city to give the stage a unique color and flavor: manga escape game, exquisite digital corpses, mock literary trials, letterpress printing laboratory… activities to find on the holiday route, for young and old.

Poster for the Partir en Livre 2022 festival. (CNL / LES EDITIONS ALBERT RENE)

Dating in Libra. Until July 24 at beaches, towns, parks and gardens, stations, summer colonies and leisure centers. In total more than 4,000 events open to everyone throughout France.

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