Wally de Doncker was elected as President of IBBY for the term 2014-16 during the General Assembly of IBBY in Mexico City, Mexico, September 2014.
He served as a member of the IBBY EC from 2008-2012, with the term 2010-12 as Vice President. He has been the IBBY Liaison with the European Union since 2012. For many years Wally has been a valued and active board member of the Flemish Branch of IBBY Belgium.
Wally is a former teacher, an author and a children’s literature specialist. He taught at a school in Dendermonde, Belgium until 2001 before becoming a full-time writer, since then, his books have reached readers in more than thirteen countries in Europe and beyond. He has served as a special teacher of children’s literature and while teaching he developed a pre-reading and reading method for young children under the name Leesdraak (Reading Dragon), which is now used in over 200 schools.
One of his main aims is to bring children and literature closer together. Wally again and again tackles themes that are scarcely touched upon in contemporary children’s literature. His books have received numerous nominations and selections. In 2009 the Children’s Museum Labyrinth in Berlin, Germany highlighted his book Ahum and the Dutch Children’s Book Museum in The Hague features It starts Somewhere in an exhibition running from 2010-2016. His book Van A a tot Zet (From A to Z) was included in the exhibition Büchstäblich Anders at the International Youth Library. Wally was shortlisted in 2013 for the Belgian SABAM award for Children’s and Youth Literature.
In addition, several of his works have been adapted as stage plays, musicals, film animations and dance films. He is a frequent contributor to publications that deal with international children’s literature and is a regular guest at libraries, schools and other setting where children and adults come to enjoy his readings. From 2003 to 2009 he was a member of the editorial board of the critical journal of children's literature, The Lion and the Unicorn, which is published in the USA.
Speech at Bologna Book Fair, 2015