IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award

The IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award has been established by the Shenzhen iRead Foundation and IBBY to encourage a real commitment to the cause of reading promotion in the hope of spreading this dedication to others around the globe.

The Award aims to encourage further investment by individuals, organizations and governments in the promotion of children’s reading and will stimulate educational innovation, give much greater access to children’s books and an enhanced profile for children’s reading promotion – key tools in global, social, economic and cultural development – all in the context of Article 17(C) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Every two years IBBY will invite nominations from IBBY National Sections that recognise outstanding individuals who are working to promote the expansion and development of children’s reading. From the nominations the IBBY-iRead Award Jury will select two winners. 

The Jury will look for nominees who have demonstrated a commitment to exploration, innovation, and a sense of responsibility and dedication to cultivating a love of reading and competency in children. Their work may include: the creation and operation of outstanding reading promotion projects; effective promotion of strategies in favour of reading policies; and, advocacy of the children’s right to read. All nominations will be judged on sustainability, influence, dedication to the common good, innovation and inspiration.

The iRead Foundation has pledged 1,200,000 RMB Yuan biennially for twenty years for this important award. The two winners will each receive 200,000 RMB Yuan and, in addition, 150,000 RMB Yuan will be given to a non-profit children’s reading promotion project of their choice. The remaining funds will go towards the administration of the Award and to support the IBBY Secretariat. 

IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award 2022 - Winners

The 2022 winners are: Zohreh Ghaeni from Iran, nominated by the IBBY sections in Canada and Iran, and Jane Kurtz from the United States nominated by USBBY. Both of these amazing women are inspiring examples of reading promoters who show us how one person can truly make a difference, especially when we work together!

The film from the IBBY Press Conference can be found here. The full media release can be downloaded here.

Zohreh Ghaeni

We believe that by empowering disadvantaged children and their families through literacy acquisition and reading literature, helping them gain the basic and essential skills, they can get themselves out of the cycle of poverty and deficiency.
Read Zohreh Ghaeni's full interview here.

Zohreh Ghaeni is a children’s literature expert, lecturer, researcher, and major reading promoter. She has worked as a teacher in rural areas of Iran, studied librarianship and information science at the Open University in Tehran and is now the co-founder and director of the Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature in Iran founded 20 years ago, which is a non-governmental and non-profit organization. In that capacity, she has directed and co-authored the publication of a ten-volume history of children’s literature in Iran, a monumental achievement. As part of the Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature in Iran, Zohreh designed and developed a reading programme that has had huge success all over Iran and Afghanistan: Read With Me. This project makes high quality books accessible to children who normally do not have access to books, such as street and working children, those living in remote and deprived areas, and those living in crisis due to unrest, natural disaster and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jane Kurtz

"So far, we have more than 100 titles published and we've printed about 250,000 books in Ethiopia, but our goal is to print at least a million books in the future. We know providing children with appealing reading material in their own languages can make a huge difference."
Read Jane Kurtz's full interview here

Jane Kurtz grew up in Ethiopia and has spent the last 25 years helping to develop indigenous authors and illustrators in Ethiopia—and in multiple languages—while also establishing an infrastructure for publishing books and promoting literacy with training for teachers and librarians. Her work began in 1998 when she co-founded Ethiopia Reads and developed a strategy for starting libraries to support literacy development. In early 2016, Jane initiated a workshop in Ethiopia with artists, children and adult volunteers, which resulted in a prototype for Ready Set Go books. Created in partnership with Open Hearts Big Dreams, these books are colourful, easy-to-read, culturally appropriate, and published in English and one local language. Jane’s work with literacy addresses the challenges of multiple official languages; lack of books reflecting Ethiopian culture, history, and landscape; obstacles in the translation, publication, and distribution process; and insufficient professional opportunities for educators and librarians. With her vision and collaboration with others, she has planted the seeds of literacy all over Ethiopia.

IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award 2022 - Nominations

IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award 2020