IBBY Asahi Laudacio 2006


IBBY-ASAHI Reading Promotion Award Ceremony 2006


Laudatio delivered by Jury President, Jant van der Weg-Laverman

22 September 2006


Dear President of IBBY-international, dear Mr Fujiwara from the Asahi Shimbun, dear Award-Winners, dear President of IBBY-China, dear IBBY-friends,


It is a great honour for me to present here the jury report of the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Awards 2006! This honour is as great as all the projects the members of the 2006 jury have studied, showing once again the magic of reading and the magic of books. This magic is not limited to just a few countries of the world, but we can find it everywhere, in huge cities as well as in remote areas.

In our modern world the large media group of television and film seems to be all-powerful – reading and books are old-fashioned in their way of thinking. However, as a member of the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award Jury one is privileged to experience just how many people from all over the world show the richness of reading and the magic of books in their projects. They have dreams about this richness and magic and they want to transmit this to the next generation. Dreams need words, need language, need the magic of language. Therefore, reading books is not old-fashioned, but it is the “transporter” of magic: the magic of books, of stories and poems, of language and pictures with high quality.

This basically was one of the ideals of Jella Lepman and it is that of so many people within IBBY. This magic can build wonderful, thrilling bridges between people, young people of very different cultures. Readers can learn about their peer groups in China, in Mongolia and in Poland, can learn that they have the same emotions and feelings in what are usually very different circumstances. We could feel something of that in the enchanting Children’s Forum of yesterday. Of course it is also great fun to read about the life in your own country. Therefore, it is good that there is this award to encourage people, who are working, sometimes in poor circumstances, to support them in their not always easy job and to applaud them. They enable children to dream about a much better world, to enjoy the magic of language and to learn how to crystallize their dreams.

People involved want to transmit beautiful stories, magnificent poems in wonderful language and with delightful pictures to children, in a word: CULTURE. Not only to transmit to privileged children with a loving dad, a loving mum, affectionate grandparents and a bookshelf for themselves, but also to children in less happy circumstances. IBBY likes to say that we build bridges: bridges between adult and child, but also bridges between different languages, different cultures, different people. These bridges can help lead them to peace and happiness. The IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award is a clear exponent of this ideal. We are proud that the Japanese newspaper company the Asahi Shimbun supports this idea and that the company wants to continue their cooperation with IBBY on a permanent basis. Thus, outstanding and innovative projects that promote reading throughout the world can be made known to many many people.

IBBY sincerely thanks the sponsor of this award the Asahi Shimbun for its ongoing support and generous contribution.

Anne Pellowski, who is a member of the 2006 Jury, investigated the effects of the award on the winning projects and she reports that it clearly shows that not only is the Award important for encouraging people all over the world to initiate such projects, but also that it gives them a legal standing and respect. Her conclusion was that these Awards have had and will have long-lasting and far reaching effects.

Recent changes in the regulations of the Award stipulate that the Award is now to be given biennially, allowing two projects to be selected every two years. Eleven projects were nominated for the 2006 Award, all of them of high quality and from diverse areas of the world: South America and Asia were represented, as well as New Zealand and Europe. Thus, the task of this jury was not easy, it never is! Nevertheless, a result was reached – a wonderful result, we believe.

The IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award 2006 goes to the following two projects:

  • The Mongolian Children’s Mobile Library Project, nominated by the IBBY National Section of Mongolia.
  • The national campaign All of Poland Reads to Kids from the Foundation ABCXXI, nominated by the IBBY National Section of Poland.

The members of the jury, who include Elda Nogueira (Brazil), Mari José Olaziregi (Spain), Anne Pellowski (USA), Vagn Plenge (Denmark), Chieko Suemori (Japan) and myself, Jant van der Weg, as a President, were thrilled with the Mongolian project, particularly with the way the books are transported to children in very remote areas of the country – reaching children that would not usually see any books if it was not for this project. The books are transported with the help of camels, an exotic animal for children who do have them in their own country! Here the magic begins. The project in Mongolia reaches children in remote areas and lets them discover the magic of books, which in turn encourages cultural development.

The Polish project is also a fascinating project. It involves reading promotion activities that are very well planned and take place all over the country. Modern media have been integrated at a high level and used to support the main aim of the project: to revitalize the habit of reading to children in different situations, thus not only raising the mental level of young children, but also strengthening moral values.

The members of the jury were deeply impressed by both projects and with the activities undertaken by those working on the projects. Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I can congratulate Mr Dashdondog and Ms Kozminska as representatives of the winning projects.

Jant van der Weg-Laverman

Macau, 22 September 2006