BOOKS FOR AFRICA, BOOKS FROM AFRICA – IBBY’s exhibition of children’s books published in Africa

The 29th IBBY Congress held in 2004 in Cape Town gave the international participants a brief impression of the continent’s wealth of language and culture, but it also gave a glimpse of the specific problems its population has to face. As an international network focussing on children’s literature, IBBY pursues the worldwide exchange of literature as an instrument for encouraging a better international understanding by demanding equal access to literacy and books for all children of the world.

International exchange cannot be accomplished if it is undertaken only as a one-way street. In IBBY’s opinion, the world’s attention should be directed to children’s books which are produced by African publishers in Africa for Africa. We are grateful for all the advice and help that we have received during the establishment of this project. In particular from the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN) for background information, and from the African Publishers Network (APNET) who helped identify publishing houses that publish books locally and include original African languages. Special thanks goes to Mr Hideo Yamada of Yamada Apiculture Center Inc., Japan for his generous support of the IBBY-Yamada Fund enabling IBBY to initiate projects aimed at bringing children and books together. The Books for Africa. Books from Africa exhibition is sponsored by the IBBY-Yamada Fund.

The IBBY exhibition is envisaged as source of information for quality African children’s books produced for teachers, researchers, parents and for all those interested in children’s literature. Though this website is in English, which is the common medium of international information exchange, it is our intention that it can be used as a tool that can be translated into any language.

This virtual exhibition displays the cover of each book together with a review of its contents. Profiles of the publishing house with links to their websites are included. IBBY would like to express its gratitude to the independent reviewers; their assessment was fundamental to the project. I also want to express IBBY’s appreciation to the project leader María Candelaria Posada, and to Meena Khorana, who is responsible for the editing.

We want to emphasize how important children’s literature books are in the effort to increase literacy in children worldwide. In Africa, such books are frequently the single printed material in the local language, and often in the language of communication across the region that is understood by the child. Children´s literature books, in the child’s mother tongue, are the best way to introduce small children and their families to reading.


Peter Schneck

IBBY President 2004-2006