Jella Lepman Medal

The Jella Lepman medal is named after the founder of IBBY and was first awarded in 1991 in celebration of the centennial of her birth. At that time it was given to four persons – most of them founders of IBBY – and six institutions that had made lasting contributions to children’s literature. In 2005 the IBBY Executive Committee decided to reinstate this specific award of recognition.

Jella Lepman (1891–1970), was born in Stuttgart, Germany. She became a politically active journalist and in 1936 emigrated with her son and daughter from Nazi Germany to London and became a British citizen. She was engaged as advisor for questions relating to children and young people at the American headquarters in post-war Germany and organized an exhibition of children’s illustrations and children’s books from 20 countries in Munich in 1946. Thereafter, with initial funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, she established the International Youth Library in Munich in 1949 and directed the library until 1957. In November 1951, Jella Lepman organized a meeting in Munich under the title International Understanding through Children’s Books, in November 1951 which resulted in the formation of the International Board on Books for Young People – IBBY. 

More information about the medals here from Bookbird (Issue 1/1991) article.

Medal in 2023

In 2023, the Jella Lepman Medal was awarded to:

Patrick Sullivan (USA)
in recognition of his extraordinary work for the IBBY REFORMA Children in Crisis Project

Medal in 2022

Medal in 2018

Medal in 2014

Medal in 2010

Medals in 2006

Medals in 1991