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 first Awards will be presented in 2021 at the 37th IBBY Congress in Moscow, Russia.

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 2020 - Winners

The winners of the 2020 IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award are Marit Törnqvist from the Netherlands and Zhu Yongxin from China. Marit Törnqvist is a writer and illustrator who has developed reading programmes for children that focus not only the story, but also on the experience of reading and on encouraging children to narrate and illustrate their own stories. Zhu Yongxin is a well-known scholar who has devoted his life to continuous research and activities related to reading promotion, including training and programmes for children in rural areas and children with special needs. 

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

Marit Törnqvist

Marit Törnqvist is a writer as well as an illustrator. She has developed reading programmes for children that focus not only the story, but also on the experience of reading itself. Her reading aloud activities strive to create a warm and joyful atmosphere that make children want to come back for more and inspire them to pick up a book and read. She encourages children to identify with the stories that they read, leading them to narrate their own stories and holds reading and illustrating activities with groups of children from different countries, resulting in a closer understanding of each other’s life and culture. She also conducts bibliotherapy programmes for children living in difficult circumstances, often helping them to face the grim realities of life by encouraging them to express their own stories. She started a programme that provides books for refugee children in their own language so that they can read their own stories as a first step towards accepting the culture of their new home. In Iran, she has contributed, both professionally and personally, to giving support to street children, children from disadvantaged neighbourhoods, refugees and victims of natural disasters. Törnqvist’s work reaches children as well as families, caregivers and people working with children at home and around the world.

Zhu Yongxin

Zhu Yongxin is an established and well-known scholar with many publications relating to reading promotion for children. He has devoted his life to continuous research and activities related to reading promotion. As an educator, he is regarded by many as the inspiration and role model in the field of reading promotion. He and his team have trained many teachers throughout China to be reading promoters so that they can then take on the role and responsibility to train others. His programmes help schools in carrying out comprehensive reading courses for parents, children and teachers with a strong focus on rural areas. He also focuses on children with special needs, the vulnerable and those living in remote areas. His efforts have led to the development and production of the first set of audio books meant for visually impaired children in China. Zhu’s knowledge and experience have brought him recognition from his country’s Government and he has been able to influence and propose a number of new initiatives relating to the country’s reading policies, including the promotion of children’s reading. He donates much of his professional fees and royalties to reading promotion activities, where he is also a frequent volunteer. He continues to be the driving force for reading promotion for children in China and is recognized internationally as an expert in the field of reading promotion.

IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award 2020 - Nominations