Statement on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza

As a non-governmental organization advocating for international understanding through children's books and upholding the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) joins the worldwide call for an immediate ceasefire and release of hostages in Gaza. For all of us who have committed a lifetime to serving children, we cannot bear the continuing loss of children's lives. We are reeling from news of the rapidly escalating conflict in the region, recognizing that in this horrific crisis of death and destruction, it is innocent children who suffer the most. As a global community represented in over 80 countries, we stand together in our demand to end this humanitarian crisis. 

Further, we extend our call to all organizations and individuals who work in the fields of information, education, and publishing, to join us in speaking up for the rights of all children and youth. It is our collective moral obligation to protect all the children of our world and condemn all forms of violence against them. 

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY)
16 November 2023


IBBY Statement on the situation in Israel and Palestine

The events that unfolded since Saturday, 7 October stunned and shocked the world. The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) denounces all violence, in any form, and especially violence against children. IBBY’s Mission Statement calls for the protection of all children as codified in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that every child has the inherent right to life and promotes the development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Fifteen years ago, the IBBY Gaza libraries in Beit Hanoun and Rafah opened their doors. These two libraries gave the local children havens where they could enjoy reading and dream of a better future through books. The libraries stayed open through years of blockade, confrontation and poverty, but now war is again destroying their fragile existence. We are deeply concerned for all the children affected by this war: with Gaza under siege and facing a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation, we are especially worried about our librarians and their innocent visitors.

Hostage taking and massacres are indefensible, but the current conflict will not solve anything. Therefore, we call on all agencies and organizations that believe in justice, peace and humanity to work towards a diplomatic solution and end this tragic war.The children of Israel and Palestine deserve better than this.

IBBY Executive Committee
18 October 2023

IBBY Statement on the War in Ukraine

IBBY was founded in the wake of World War II with the devastation in Europe and much of the world deeply affecting thousands of children and families. And yet, Jella Lepman believed this was the right moment to bring people together to work toward peace, understanding and tolerance through sharing literature with children. This was her motivation as she founded IBBY and her vision continues to be our inspiration.

IBBY works tirelessly to advocate for books and reading as a fundamental way to move toward a peaceful and tolerant world. Unfortunately, there continue to be wars and conflicts around the globe. In particular, we are appalled at the constant and ferocious Russian attacks against the sovereign state of Ukraine, especially the killing of thousands of innocent civilians and the trauma it is causing children and their families. We strongly and firmly condemn the unjustified war in Ukraine and greatly admire the efforts of IBBY Ukraine and the Ukrainian book community as they work to help children survive and cope. We are actively supporting the relief efforts in Poland to provide books for Ukrainian refugees who have had to flee their war-torn country. We continually look for further ways to be of help to those in crisis.

With 80 national sections of IBBY around the world, our IBBY family is distressed when any of our sections finds itself in a country under attack. IBBY Ukraine has been a beacon of hope for children and their books for 25 years and we reiterate our respect and admiration for them as they continue their work despite facing the most difficult circumstances. As the IBBY family, we stand together in our commitment to international understanding and to a brighter, more peaceful future.

IBBY Executive Committee
28 October 2022