White Wolf Books
Long-term programme for the advancement of Latvian children’s literature and promotion of book reading
White Wolf Objectives
The project aims to focus public attention on a positive target – a child who reads an interesting and beautiful Latvian book – and to improve the variety and quality of the supply of Latvian children's books, making it more contemporary and suited to the needs of children today.
By giving wider publicity to children's literature, book-reading children and reading as a family value, we strive to create a positive "reading trend" in opposition to the preconception that "children today do not read books any more". We bring together book reading children with a broad outlook and an emotional perception of the world, encourage them to have serious discussions with grownups about the books they have read, and make them visible to society.
White Wolf strives to create a memorable annual event for authors, readers and the media, a culmination point around which the whole yearly cycle of children’s literature would be centred.
The Latvian section of IBBY is implementing the White Wolf Books project in association with the Children’s Literature Centre of the National Library of Latvia, Writers’ Union of Latvia, a number of regional libraries, institutions of higher education, museums, theatres and major Latvian media outlets. The project receives financial support from the Charity Foundation of Rietumu Bank, State Culture Capital Foundation, Ministry of Culture of Latvia, the local governments of cities and rural municipalities.
What Is White Wolf
The programme takes its name and symbol – a white wolf reading a book, a kind of a "totem of children's literature" – from the surname of Jānis Baltvilks (1944 – 2003), a contemporary classic of Latvian children’s literature. Jānis Baltvilks brought the forest into Latvian literature, drawing his understanding and knowledge of nature from earlier experience as a professional natural scientist. His works convey a comprehensive, wise view of the world, based on the courses of nature. The writer, whose contribution amounts to more than 30 children's books of poetry, prose and reference literature, was also one of the most active members of the Latvian section of IBBY.
The annual Jānis Baltvilks Prize – an international sign of appreciation awarded to children’s writers from the Baltic Sea countries
It was in 2005 that the first Jānis Baltvilks Prize was awarded to a children’s author and a book illustrator. It is now awarded every year on 24 July, the writer’s birthday. The award recipients from previous years are the Latvian writers Māris Rungulis, Māra Cielēna, Inese Zandere, Pauls Bankovskis, Juris Zvirgzdiņš and the artists Anita Paegle (twice), Juris Petraškevičs, Reinis Pētersons and Edmunds Jansons.
From 2008 Jānis Baltvilks Prize is an international children’s literature award for the Baltic Sea countries and is awarded in Riga to a foreign writer and the translator of their work into Latvian. The winner of the first International Baltvilks Prize is the Estonian writer Aidi Vallik whose books about the life of a teenage girl named Anna have become equally popular in Latvia and Estonia; the translator’s prize was awarded to Maima Grīnberga. 2009 the translator’s prize received Mudīte Treimane – our famous translator of Astrid Lindgren books.
Jānis Baltvilks Prize is listed as one of the most significant culture events endorsed by the Latvian government.
Other White Wolf Events
The White Wolf Books programme includes the following annual events:
– White Wolf Readings: annual international readings of children’s literature featuring authors from the Baltic Sea countries.
– The White Wolf Books competition of Latvian-written literature (for a different genre of children’s literature each year),
– Among Wildlife with a Book, a series of events in which families with children go on small trips in the company of naturalists, children’s authors and artists.
– competitions of children’s writing and the nation-wide Wide Horizons Contest for young readers, held in schools and libraries; in 2008, 2100 children from all parts of Latvia took part in the contest.
– The City of Wide Horizons, a children’s creative summer camp for the winners of contests.