Dear IBBY Europe colleagues,

Our second IBBY European regional conference, "Languages in Europe. Children reading in a multilingual environment", was held on April 4 2019 at the Bologna Children's Book Fair. The proceedings will be published on the IBBY Europe website by the end of June 2019. Meanwhile, Ann Lazim's report, accompanied with pictures, will give you an idea of its content. You can also download the programme and the speakers' biographies.

The members of the conference's organising committee (Doris Breitmoser, Hasmig Chahinian, Eva Devos, Pam Dix, Sabine Fuchs, Deborah Soria, David Tolin) would like to thank the Bologna Children's Book Fair and IBBY Italy, for their whole-hearted support of this event. A special thank you goes to the speakers, the participants, to David Pintor who designed the perfect poster for the conference, and, of course, to the IBBY secretariat.

In this issue of our newsletter you will find the latest news from the world of children's books and reading in Armenia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Spain, and Sweden.

Have you visited our website recently? New books have been added and our database has been updated. By the end of June 2019, you will discover our website's new design! Stay posted!

And as always, our Facebook page is full of interesting discoveries to be made!

David Pintor, the faithful supporter of IBBY Europe, designed a new header for this issue of our newsletter: Thank you David! And Liz Page, the executive director of IBBY, proofread our newsletter, as she always does: Thanks, Liz!

Best wishes to you all!

Hasmig Chahinian


Languages in Europe
Children Reading in a Multilingual Environment


IBBY Europe organised a successful second conference on the final day of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair on April 4th 2019 thanks to the hard work of the team of Hasmig Chahinian (France), Eva Devos (Belgium), Pam Dix (UK), Sabine Fuchs (Austria), Doris Breitmoser (Germany), Deborah Soria (Italy) and David Tolin (Italy).

Thanks are due to the generosity of the Fair for providing a free room for the day, as well as coffee and lunch for the delegates.

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair’s exhibition manager, Elena Pasoli greeted delegates and then gave us a wonderful surprise by handing over the welcome to famous Italian author Roberto Piumini who, taking into account the theme of the conference, spoke about the presence of words for children throughout their lives, allowing them to speak and the importance of giving words back their sounds as well as making them available in books.

IBBY President Mingzhou Zhang also gave a warm welcome. He emphasised the significance of regional conferences in moving IBBY’s work forward, commenting that: ‘We are living in a diverse world where understanding, tolerance and cultural co-existence are the only options for a mutually beneficial future for our children – no matter who they are, where they are and what they believe in.’ Mingzhou also referred to ‘the current turbulence in our world, especially the worrying rise of nationalism and populism – our IBBY mission is becoming even more urgent and relevant.’

The scene for the day was set by Christine Hélot from the University of Strasbourg, France, whose talk was entitled ‘From Bi/multilingualism to Bi/multiliteracy – why should children read books in different languages’. She spoke about linguistic diversity being a social justice issue, asserting the right of all children to have access to multilingual education. She posed the question ‘Why is linguistic diversity discursively framed as problematic?’ and emphasised that it should be seen as a resource not a problem. Christine questioned society’s tendency to organise monolingual spaces leading to exclusion of those who speak minority languages. She believes that teachers have agency to change what is happening in their classrooms and that the way school-based literacy devalues home languages needs to be challenged. Christine then outlined the considerable amount of research that has been done on multilingualism, bilingualism, literacy and biliteracy before introducing a range of very interesting bilingual and multilingual texts.

Christine Hélot and Carole Bloch. © Doris Breitmoser

In her talk ‘Brilliant brains: neuroscience evidence for holistic understandings of reading development in multilingual settings’, Carole Bloch from the organisation PRAESA spoke about the prevalence of phonics teaching in South Africa, something Christine Hélot had also touched on in relation to government policy in France. Carole spoke about the importance of context being essential from the start of learning to read rather than decoding without comprehension in literacy programmes that promote part to whole, rather than vice versa. Our hunger for meaningful patterns translates into a hunger for stories. Play is the key learning mechanism for children. There are issues around the status and perceived value of languages. In South Africa many children experience language shock - they have not yet learned to read in their home language and then they are taught in English when they start school.

Graphic designer and illustrator Marion Bataille described in words and pictures her universal alphabet project - an exhibition she has created about seeing alphabets differently. She considers that children learning to write have some of the same considerations as graphic designers. Letters should always show how they are built - deconstruction is as important as construction. Marion commented that when you leave your country of birth, an alphabet chart is a bit like a photograph.

Then followed the first of three panel sessions. The first focused on experiences.

Giovanna Malgaroli. © Doris Breitmoser

Writer, illustrator and teacher Amaia Hennebutte, spoke in Basque, which was especially important given the subject matter of the conference and the fact that most of the presentations throughout the day were in the dominant language of English. The normalisation of using Basque language started post Franco 1982-3. Basque children’s literature is still very young and its development and promotion faces many problems, chiefly the lack of co-ordination for political reasons and the lack of autonomy through not having a state. Basque is a minority language and therefore there is a small market – there are 700,000 Basque speakers in Spain and 6,000 in France and the latter is decreasing. However, there is a strong belief that culture is universal despite all the challenges facing Basque children’s literature and solutions are being found to promote children’s & YA literature. Training is being provided for creators. Bilingual books are being published for people who read in the majority language. Literature written only in Basque is being promoted. Technology helps parents who cannot read Basque – a QR code enables access to the majority language. World literature is being made available in Basque through translation. Projects include family book clubs; training for teachers; and depositing collections of 150 books in schools for a month.

Librarian Giovanna Malgaroli spoke about the Mamma Lingua project organised through Nati per Leggere (born to read), which promotes literacy in Italy for families with very young babies. Mamma Lingua (Mother Tongue) encourages reading books in one’s own language. The project was created in 2015 with 127 preschool books in a range of languages - Albanian, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Romanian and Spanish, which are the most spoken languages in Italy among the migrant communities. Giovanna explained the criteria for choice, which included the idea that the books should be challenging but not frustrating. In addition to books in each language, several Titoli Ponte or Bridge Titles were selected – classic books that are internationally known and therefore can make links between cultures. In 2017 Mamma Lingua became a circulating book exhibition.

Two French librarians, Myriam Jeanne and Aïcha Marok, appeared in a short film, explaining the thinking behind the Discovery Bags they have developed containing several books in foreign languages that they loan out to borrowers in the public library where they work – currently they are in Arabic, English, German and Spanish and the bags usually include a variety of different types of texts.

Antonella Saracino and Leila Garsi. © Doris Breitmoser

Following lunch we were treated to a lively interactive story session with Leila Garsi, Enrica Menarbin and Antonella Saracino who gave us a flavour of the work they do with children in the Salaborsa Ragazzi library in Bologna, which has books in 94 languages. They demonstrated trilingual storytelling in Italian, Arabic and English and then invited participation so that other languages were added – Armenian, Swiss German, Irish and Flemish.

The first speaker in a panel on publishing and distribution was Amna Al Mazmi from the Kalimat Foundation for Children’s Empowerment in the United Arab Emirates. In 2017 they established a scheme that would pledge a library at each Sharjah Book Fair. Each portable library pledged includes 100 titles in Arabic. Pledgers are asked where they want the libraries to go. In Italy eleven portable libraries including bilingual books have been funded so far.

Pam Dix spoke on behalf of Mishti Chatterji, the UK publisher at Mantra Lingua, who for some years has been publishing e-books as well as dual-language printed books. An innovative development is the Talking Pen, which enables access to a wide range of languages as it is possible to use it to record languages that are not already loaded onto the device. Pam demonstrated how the Pen works with sheets of languages and phrases and with books. Another aspect of the development of the Talking Pen is that it has been used with visually impaired children thanks to active cooperation with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

Amna Al Masmi, Pam Dix, Silvija Tretjakova and Sabine Fuchs. © Doris Breitmoser

Sabine Fuchs from the University College of Teacher Education in Graz/Styria showed some of the multilingual books that have been published in Austria. She focused on Kommt ein Boot a poem by Heinz Janisch in 11 languages, with words from a variety of other languages incorporated, and illustrated by 11 different artists.

Silvija Tretjakova spoke about reading promotion in Latvia, which is inspired by Daniel Pennac’s Comme un roman (English edition titled The Rights of the Reader). She talked about libraries in Latvia itself and also services provided to the Latvian diaspora, mainly in Europe, and about their campaign to involve fathers more in reading with their children.

The final panel focused on resources. Eva Devos from IBBY Belgium/Flemish Reading Association talked about information sources available to find out about books existing in many languages, including the IBBY Honour List, the White Ravens list produced by the International Youth Library, the IBBY Europe database of books in languages spoken in Europe, including languages spoken by refugees. IBBY France and the International Youth Library have jointly produced a list of available books in Arabic.

Barbara Jakob from the Swiss Institute for Children’s and Youth Media introduced an online database that gives access to rhymes in German, French, Italian, and English. The passing down of rhymes is not so prevalent now due partly to migration and generations of families living far apart, hence the need to collect and disseminate them. Presently there are over 1,100 rhymes in 20 languages on the database.

Denis Beznosov from the Russian State Children’s Library spoke about a major project to compile The Anthology of the Contemporary Children’s Literature of the Peoples of Russia, which includes 870 works and shows the ethno-cultural diversity of Russia.

After an enormously informative and inspiring day, delegates left with much to think about and many ideas to consider putting into practice.

Ann Lazim, IBBY UK

Echoes from the European sections

From Belgium
French-speaking branch

Encounter between the Belgian candidates for the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award:
Anne Brouillard and Bart Moeyaert at the Brussels Book Fair – 13/02/2019

This year, Flanders was the guest of Honour at the Brussels Book Fair. For this event, in collaboration with the Flemish Branch of IBBY Belgium, the French Branch of IBBY Belgium organised an encounter between the two Belgian candidates for the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award: Anne Brouillard, the illustrator candidate selected by the French Branch and Bart Moeyaert, the author candidate selected by the Flemish Branch.

This event was led by Monique Malfait-Dohet and Robert Schmidt.

Since 1990, Anne Brouillard has published around fifty albums, picture books, each reflecting her sensibility as artist and of her poetry. She never wants to please, but tells her stories her way, always renewing herself whether it is through the shape of the book, the subjects, the layouts or her technique. Her public is very diverse going from small children, to adults who are able to find something of their childhood in her books.

We asked her which picture book does she feel is the most important in her career, she immediately mentioned L’orage (The storm), published by Grandir in 1998. This is a picture book without text, without story, it is just a storm approaching. She likes this book very much, because she could fully concentrate on the colours. The sky, the houses, the landscapes are drawn in very particular tones and that is what interested her when making this book.

Anne Brouillard has worked with various authors: Thierry Lenain for Demain les fleurs (Tomorrow the flowers), published by Nathan in 2000; Elisabeth Brami for Rêve de lune (Moon’s dream), published by Seuil Jeunesse in 2005; and, Nadine Brun-Cosme for Lilia (Lilia), published by Points de suspension in 2007. For her, meeting an author is always a surprise. Sometimes, the author sends her a text, sometimes the publisher. She has to feel the text and see the images that are provoked by the words. Anne Brouillard does not only want to illustrate a text, but she wants to give the words something more – something that completes or enriches them.
To make a picture book with text and images or without text, is a well thought-over process for Anne Brouillard. She likes to take her time, do some tests, add, remove… Her creation goes through considerations about the sense of the story, the meaning of the words, their impact on the story. Images and words have to be in ‘constant conversation’, complementing each other and allowing the reading child to stroll through the images and absorb the words.

Anne Brouillard is preparing the follow up to her book La grande forêt. Le pays des Chintiens (The great forest. Chintiens’ land), published by Pastel-L’école des loisirs in 2016, and we are all eager to discover this new book.

Bart Moeyaert is a star in Flanders and in the Netherlands, but is less known in the French-speaking region of Belgium and in France. Some of his books have been translated in French at éditions du Rouergue, such as Frères (Brothers), Nid de guêpes (Wasps’ nest), Oreille d’homme (Man’s ear), C’est l’amour que nous ne comprenons pas (It’s love that we don’t understand) and Embrasse-moi (Kiss me). Two new books were published last year at La joie de lire: La Création (The Creation), which is a re-issue of Moi, dieu et la Création (Me, God and the Creation) published by éditions du Rouergue in 2003, and L’oie et son frère (The goose and his brother), which are short stories about the life of a goose and his brother on the farm.

Bart Moeyaert is the seventh son of the family and King Baudouin of Belgium became his godfather. He received a gift from the King – a little spoon and a little bowl in gold engraved with the royal letter «B». As he writes in Frères, he received the gifts on his seventh birthday and his parents told him that the «B» stood for Bart!

He spoke about his first book Duet met valse noten (Duet of wrong notes), published when he was only 19 years old. This first book was an immediate success, and was re-printed four times in one year and pushing him forward as the ‘new genius’ of youth literature. But the notion of ‘youth literature’ did not mean anything to him. He wrote his stories for himself and never liked this categorisation. He says that he does not write ‘for’ young people, but describes the characters as he feels them.

We talked about the re-issue of La Création by La joie de lire. He likes the new title of the book because the old one seemed a little too pompous for him, and L’oie et son frère, which was first published in 2014 in Flemish. This is a collection of short stories he wrote and Gerda Deendonven illustrated for the De Standaard newspaper in 2001. In 2014, Bart reorganised the texts and Gerda made new illustrations for the publication of the book. In 2018, La joie de lire published the French version with the same layout as the original newspaper version.

From left to right A. Brouillard, Monique Malfait-Dohet, Robert Schmidt, Bart Moeyaert. © IBBY Belgium.

In October 2018, Tegenwording heet iedereen sorry (Everybody is sorry nowadays) was published. It is the first book for younger readers from Bart Moeyaert since De melkweg (The milky way) was published in 2011. Although the book was seven long years in the waiting, it is a huge success with three re-prints in four months. Meanwhile, Bart Moeyaert is a very busy man. He was named artistic director for the 2016 Frankfurt Book Fair when Flanders and the Netherlands were guests of Honour. This resulted in three years of intense activity, but during those years his desire to write, not for young people, but about a young person, became greater and greater. As he says, “When I’m writing the story of Bianca, I’m Bianca”.

This encounter was a special moment with two exceptional artists. IBBY Belgium is very proud to nominate them for the Hans Christian Andersen Award 2020. Anne Brouillard was nominated in 2002, and Bart Moeyaert was nominated in 2002, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and was finalist in 2002 and 2012.

We wish them good luck for the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award.

The Libbylit Awards

Every year since 2005, the French Branch of IBBY Belgium has given the Libbylit Awards to authors and illustrators who have published excellent books the year before.

Libbylit is the quarterly magazine published by our section, in which we present activities around youth literature that take place mostly in and around the French-speaking part of Belgium, and in France. The second part of the magazine comprises a presentation of books and picture books we receive annually from almost 90 publishers in French.

From these, the best are selected to be part of the selection for the Libbylit Awards. There are two categories: Picture books and Novels. Two juries of professionals (librarians, publishers, etc.) choose the laureates.
The laureates of the Libbylit Awards 2018 are:

  • Picture Book (Belgium): Mon bison (My bison) / Gaya Wisniewski – Ed. Mémo
  • Children: L’œuf (The Egg) / Kevin Henkes – Ed. Le Genévrier
  • Picture Book: Cache-cache cauchemars (Hide-and-seek nightmares) / Jean Lecointre – Ed. Thierry Magnier
  • OVNI: Et puis (And then) / Icinori – Ed. Albin Jeunesse
  • Novel (Belgium): Deux secondes en moins (Two seconds less) / Marie Colot and Nancy Guilbert – Ed Magnard
  • Junior Novel: Le trésor de Barracuda (Barracuda’s treasury) / Llanos Campos – Ed. L’école des loisirs
  • Novel: La peau de mon tambour (My drum’s skin) / Marie Sellier – Ed. Thierry Magnier
  • Graphic Novel: Les amours d’un fantôme en temps de guerre (A ghost’s loves during a time of war) / Nicolas de Crécy – Ed. Albin Michel
  • Theatre: La poupée barbue (The bearded doll) / Edouard Elvis Bvouma – Ed. Lansman

The Awards, a chocolate copy of the statue Manneken Pis – the famous urinating boy from Brussels, was presented to the laureates at the Brussels’ Book Fair on 12 March 2019 by Luc Battieuw, president of the Picture Book Jury and Robert Schmidt, president of the Novel Jury and president of French Branch of IBBY Belgium.

From Denmark

Globe Hans Prize recipient 2018: Di Heslige Slønglers Klup. © Bjarne W. Andresen
On 28 October 2018, IBBY Denmark presented its annual Klods Hans Award to the collective De Heslige Slønglers Klup for organizing a yearly two-day festival of children culture in the town of Skanderborg, the birth place of the late writer Ole Lund Kirkegaard. The festival has taken place since 2015 and in the spirit of Lund Kirkegaard, the festival aims at promoting Cheekiness, Freedom and Spiritual Nourishment.

On 18 January 2019 the section held a one-day seminar for professionals, such as teachers, librarians, writers, illustrators, scholars, etc. on the Status of Children Literature.

On 21 November 2018, IBBY Denmark held a meeting on the theme Horror I børnehøjde (Horror in children height) with children’s writers Morten Dürr and Bjarke Skjodt Larsen, and the specialist in children’s use of media Anne Mette Thorhauge.

The journal Klods Hans, named after H.C. Andersen’s tale Clumsy Hans, is issued four times a year. The February issue included an informative and entertaining article in Danish about Shit in Children Literature.

From Latvia

The Word and Picture

Opening of the conference (Ilze Stikāne and Silvija Tretjakova).
© Kristians Luhaers

Traditionally, every spring IBBY Latvia with the Children’s Literature Centre of National Library of Latvia organize a conference for specialists in children’s literature and librarians, where the participants evaluate the books for children and young adults published in Latvia in the previous year. They also discuss various experience gained from reading promotion projects, as well as look into other interesting topics. The 2019 conference took place on April 9 in the National Library of Latvia and its theme “The Word and Picture” reveals both key words.

The first part of the conference was devoted to three reviews of the children’s and young adults’ books published in 2018. The culture-related journalist Liega Piešiņa gave an overview on “Latvian Children’s and Youth Literature in 2018”, in which she evaluated some 70 original Latvian books. Aiga Dzalbe, a docent at Art Academy of Latvia, in her report “On latest developments in the illustration of Latvian children’s books” assessed the successes and failures of 2018 in the field of illustrations. This was followed by the presentation “Patches and jewellery: translated children’s and young adults’ books in 2018” by Sandra Okuņeva, a lecturer at University of Liepāja. She reviewed some 200 translated books that were published in Latvia and highlighted the best (“jewellery”) and discussed how the translated literature compensated what the original literature lacked (“patches”).

On illustration (Aiga Dzalbe). © Kristians Luhaers

The report by Karina Pētersone, the director of the Latvian National Library Foundation “Book Start – may smart readers thrive in libraries!” encouraged librarians think about the possibilities of expanding the project “Book Start”. Aiga Grēniņa, the chief librarian of the Children’s Literature Centre of National Library of Latvia, in her report “A picture book: notice, feel, listen, ‘read’ and read through!” urged the participants to think about the psychological mechanism of a young child’s interaction and acquaintance with the book, and to be aware of the importance of the effect that all senses have during the acquisition of literacy.

Swedish author Jujja Wieslander.© Kristians Luhaers

We were happy to greet our guest from Sweden – writer Jujja Wieslander, the author of the book series about a cow Mamma Mu, which is beloved by Latvian readers. The second part of the conference started with her summarizing of the experience “Play as the child’s story”. This presentation made the participants reflect on the creativity and stories that are around us in our everyday life. 

Four reports on reading promotion projects followed. Alīse Nīgale, the head of the publishing house Liels un Mazs, told about a very successful international project (Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Poland, Croatia, and Latvia) “Our little library” through which six books and several workbooks have been published in Latvia. More than 8,000 children have read them and performed the tasks with great interest. It was also useful to hear the story of Līga Fiļipova, the head of one of the participating groups for this project from the Madona Children and Young Adults’ Library about the positive results of the project in her town. Egita Puķīte presented the project “The reading relay” from the publishing house Zvaigzne ABC, and at the end of the conference the participants were fascinated by the story of the librarian Diāna Legzdiņa from the Rīga International School who shared her reading promotion experience in the presentation “The joy of reading in the school library”.

The opening of the exhibition of photos “Swedish Dads. Latvian Dads”, on the 7th floor of the National Library of Latvia, concluded the day that was devoted to children’s literature, illustration and reading promotion. The exhibition tells about fathers who want to stay at home and take care of their children, about fathers who are together with their children in everyday life and in celebrations. In its recent reading promotion projects, IBBY Latvia has also paid special attention to increasing fathers’ participation and involvement in reading together with children.

From Germany

2019 German Children’s Literature Award (Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis)

On March 21, 2019, this year’s shortlist for the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Children’s Literature Award) was presented at the Leipzig Book Fair.

Since 1956 the German Children’s Literature Award has been given annually to outstanding works of children’s and young adult literature. Since it was established, the award has been international: books that have been translated from other languages are just as eligible as German books.

Each year a jury of critics awards prizes in the categories of Picture Book, Children’s Book, Young Adult Book, and Non-Fiction. Furthermore, an independent young adult jury awards its own prize. In each category, the juries nominate six titles that have been published the previous year. From those they choose the winning titles. The awards carry a value of 10,000 Euro and can be split between the authors, illustrators and translators of each title.

Nominated for this year’s Special Award for New Talents are three German illustrators. The winner is chosen by the special award jury, who is also responsible for awarding the Special Award for Lifetime Achievement of a German illustrator. The Special Award for New Talents is 10,000 Euro; the Special Award For Lifetime Achievement carries a value of 12,000 Euro. Both Special Awards are given alternately to German authors, translators and illustrators.

The German Children’s Literature Award is organized by the Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur, the German IBBY Section.

This year’s winners will be announced on October 18, 2019, at a ceremony during the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The list of nominations for the 2019 German Children’s Literature Awards is published at www.jugendliteratur.org

2019 Kranichstein Grants for Young Adult Literature (Kranichsteiner Jugendliteratur-Stipendien)

The Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur/IBBY Germany and the Deutscher Literaturfonds (German Literature Fund) annually offer grants to two new authors of young adult fiction in German.
The 2019 Kranichstein Grants for Young Adult Literature went to Stefanie Höfler for her novel Der große schwarze Vogel (The big black bird; published by Beltz and Gelberg) and to Bettina Wilpert for Nichts, was uns passiert (Nothing that happens to us; published by Verbrecher Verlag). Each author receives a grant of 12,000 Euro.

For more information see www.jugendliteratur.org.

Stefanie Höfler and Bettina Wilpert receive the 2019 Kranichstein Grants. © Mathias Knoch/AKJ

From Lithuania

Books Help Us to Slow Down

Last year IBBY Lithuania commemorated its 25th anniversary. What a busy and successful year that was! This year Lithuania is the sponsor of International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) 2019, which is widely celebrated here in Lithuania. Kęstutis Kasparavičius, a most prominent Lithuanian artist and illustrator, whose books have been translated into 27 languages, created a poster for it and wrote an address to the young readers of the world entitled Books Help Us to Slow Down. The artist invites us to slow down and make time for books in these fast times we are living in. Thousands of posters, postcards, calendars and other materials, promoting International Children’s Book Day, have been distributed internationally and locally, reaching schools, libraries and kindergartens of Lithuania.

For a second year in a row IBBY Lithuania participated in the International Vilnius Book Fair, the biggest book event in the Baltic region, and is held every February. The Fair, attracting thousands of book lovers, hosts nearly 500 events, which include book presentations, author meetings, discussions, etc. IBBY Lithuania took the opportunity to talk about its role in sponsoring the poster and invitation for International Children’s Book Day, also about the importance of the day and the traditions associated with its celebration.

Our colourful stand at the fair and its smiling volunteers invited visitors to learn more about IBBY Lithuania. They had the opportunity to browse through the books that have been awarded by IBBY Lithuania, the IBBY Honour List catalogues and works of Kasparavičius, the Lithuanian nominee for the H. Ch. Andersen and ALMA awards.  Visitors could also buy or receive free copies of some of our publications, which includes Rubinaitis, a magazine on children’s literature; the catalogue 100 books to Children and Lithuania; recommended reading lists for school children of primary and secondary schools, and a publication on the history of IBBY Lithuania. The stand contained a cosy corner to sit, chat and have books signed by artists and illustrators, including Kęstutis Kasparavičius, Aušra Kiudulaitė, Ilona Ežerinytė, Jurga Vilė, Lina Itagaki and also meet members of the board of IBBY Lithuania and children’s literature expert Kęstutis Urba.

A discussion Reading holes. Getting teenagers to read attracted a lot of attention and focused on adolescent reading issues worldwide as well as in Lithuania. Panellists discussed the role of schools, teachers, obligatory reading lists and ways to structure classes so as to encourage reading. 

Every year IBBY Lithuania awards the country’s most prominent writers, artists and translators in 10 categories. The highlight of the year, which featured announcing winners of the awards in 2018, took place on March 30th.


From Armenia

Yerevan 15th Children's Book Fair

From 18 to 21 February 2018 the National Children's Library and IBBY Armenia, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and in cooperation with “Arevik” publishing house and the ArtBridge bookstore, organized the 15th Yerevan Annual Children's Book Fair. During the event a number of activities were held, such as flash mobs with the theme ‘reading’, individual and group meetings, discussions, cartoon shows, excursions, listening to music, and family readings, as well as a joyful programme for children – the aqua grim show with images from Tumanyan’s fairy tales and a soap-bubble show for little readers.

The other exciting part of the fair was the Gift to a Soldier book donation campaign during which the people visiting the fair donated books for the soldiers in the border zone.

“Fairy Tale Ambassadors” storytelling event….

One of the major activities of the Yerevan 15th Children's Book Fair include the "Fairy Tale Ambassadors" (storytelling by ambassadors accredited to RA), during which the Ambassador of Japan to Armenia Mr. Jun Yamada, Mr. Seyyed Mohammad Reza Heydari the advisor to the cultural centre of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Alex Bortola the advisor for culture and cooperation affairs of the French Embassy in Armenia, and the consul of UAE to Armenia Mrs. Alham Rashed Al Salami, read stories in their mother tongue to the children visiting the fair and interacted with them.

IBBY Armenia at Bologna Children's Book Fair 2019

The Armenian Section of IBBY attended the Bologna Children's Book Fair 2019 and presented several of its published books at the stand of the Ministry of Culture of Armenia. Books by the Armenian author nominee for the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award, Mrs. Nouneh Sarkissian were also presented at the stand.

Members of IBBY Armenia attended the IBBY Press Conference on Monday, 1 April and the 2nd IBBY European Regional Conference, which took place on Thursday, 4 April 2019 at the Fair. The theme of the Conference was Languages in Europe: children reading in a multilingual environment and within this framework IBBY Armenia secured several oral agreements to create bilingual books in cooperation with participants at the Conference.

From France

Candidates for the HCAA 2020

IBBY France has chosen its candidates for the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award. The votes of our members have nominated Marie-Aude Murail for writing and François Roca for illustration.

Good luck to both of them!

“Poverty at work in children’s literature”

The Centre for Research and Information on Children’s Literature (CRILJ) organised a two-day seminar (February 8-9) on “Poverty at work in children’s literature”. The event was held at the Marguerite Duras public library in Paris.

IBBY France was represented during this seminar by Hasmig Chahinian, who took part in a panel titled “Round table with three organisations supporting books and reading among children and young adults”. Hasmig presented the work of IBBY in general, and then focused on the activities of IBBY Europe and IBBY France. She also presented the project of IBBY’s library in Lampedusa. The other organisations taking part in this panel were ATD quart monde and Secours populaire. The proceedings of this conference will be published soon.

Illustration by Gilles Rapaport

White Ravens Panel: Arabic Children's Literature

At the invitation of the International Youth Library, Hasmig Chahinian (BnF / IBBY France) participated in the White Ravens Panel on Children’s literature in the Arab world at the Bologna children’s Book Fair 2019 with Jochen Weber, Head of the IYL’s language sections. The event took place on Tuesday, April 2, at the Authors Café.

New trends, illustration, topics covered by books published in the Arab world, translations into European languages as well as questions related to the current status of Arab literature were addressed during this panel.



From Greece

2019 International Greek Language Day – 9 February

The day 9 February has officially been declared International Greek Language Day and coincides with the commemoration day of Dionysios Solomos – the national poet of Greece.

To celebrate, a special event was organised on Saturday, 8 February 2019  by the Hellenic Parliament and the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad-Ministry of Foreign Affairs to award students who participated in a special writing competition who were awarded with distinction for their stories with the title The Greek Language is a Soul; the Soul of Culture. All the submitted stories were based on a message written by the author Vagelis Iliopoulos to celebrate the 2018 International Greek Language Day. All of the children’s stories, along with short stories by Greek authors, were collected and bound into a book. The project was supported by the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad-Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the book was printed by the Hellenic Parliament Printing House.

The 2019 International Greek Language Day message was written by Maria Papayanni - 2020 HCAA Greek Nominee for Writing – and illustrated by Iris Samartzi – 2020 HCAA Greek Nominee for Illustration. The poster and message will be disseminated to Greek  nationals around the world with the help of the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad-Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

3rd Week of Cypriot Literature Authors for Children and Young People

The Greek Section of IBBY in cooperation with the Cypriot Section of IBBY, organised events to celebrate the 3rd Week of Cypriot Literature Authors for Children and Young People. The awarded authors – Fytoula Vakana, Maria Pieri-Stasinou and Antonis Sergis – visited schools in Athens, met their young readers and presented their work as part of the cultural event hosted by the Cyprus Cultural Centre “The House of Cyprus”.

2019 ICBD in Greece

The Greek Section of IBBY translated the 2019 ICBD message into Greek and urged organizations and institutions involved in children and young people’s literature to contribute to the 2019 ICBD celebration. Loty Petrovits-Andrutsopulou – Honorary President of the Greek Section of IBBY and Honorary Member of IBBY International – translated the message into Greek while the poster was printed in Greek and distributed by Patakis Publishers.      

Adopting the 2019 ICBD motto “Books help us slow down” by IBBY Lithuania and on the occasion of the 53rd International Children’s Book Day, the Greek Section of IBBY held its annual celebration on 30 March at the Lillian Voudouri Great Music Library in Megaron - The Athens Concert Hall in collaboration with The Friends of Music Society. Prizes were awarded to institutions and people who promote reading, as well as to creators of literature for children and young people for their distinctive writing, illustration and translation of books in 2018. The event took place under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

During the event on 30 March, the opening of the activities for the reading campaign “Read and Change” was declared. This campaign was initiated and co-organised by the Association of Greek Publishers and Booksellers (ENELVI), The Greek Section of IBBY and The Hellenic Authors' Society.

The 53rd ICBD celebration was of major importance for the Greek Section of IBBY as it coincided with the Section’s 50th anniversary of voluntary work for the support of reading and the promotion of Greek children and young people’s literature within Greece and abroad.

IBBY Greece at Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2019

Members of the Greek Section of IBBY attended the Bologna Children's Book Fair 2019. The 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award Greek nominees – author Maria Papayanni and artist Iris Samartzi – were presented at the national stand of Greece in cooperation with the Hellenic Foundation for Culture and a special party was held to introduce the Greek nominees to the public.

Members of the IBBY Greece Administrative Board also attended the 2nd IBBY Europe Regional Meeting under the theme “Languages in Europe – Children reading in a multilingual environment”.
From Spain

Spanish IBBY – OEPLI and its four regional sections: Consejo, ClijCat, Galtzagorri and Gálix, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, published the catalogue LITERATURA INFANTIL Y JUVENIL ESPAÑOLA. OEPLI 2018 Selection. The catalogue comprises 200 titles with a bibliographical selection of the best books for children and young people created by Spanish writers and illustrators and published over the past year. The works are selected according to pre-determined quality and suitability criteria, and are considered significant within the existing large production, thus become part of this list of honour.

To download the pdf: http://www.oepli.org/Publicaciones

From Spain
Catalan branch

Despite the effects of the current crisis, the Catalan publishing group maintains Barcelona as one of the editorial epicentres in Southern Europe. The number of houses is still growing, with new publishers, Editorial Nanit, Liana Editorial and L’altra tribu, recently established. Existing publishing houses are celebrating various anniversaries such, as 95 years of Editorial Juventud, 30 years of Combel publishing house, and the Ediciones Ekaré turning 40.

The 35th Children and Young Adult Book Fair of Catalonia took place from 1–14 April 2019 in Mollerussa. Moreover, Barcelona will be the invited city of the 45th International Book Fair Buenos Aires at the end of April 2019. One of the highlights of the programme is the exhibition Visit Barcelona in 32 Children’s Book Illustrations, curated by experts Glòria Gorchs and Pep Molist.
Prizes and Awards: Maria Rius has received the Spanish "National Illustration Award 2018"; A dormir, gatets! by Bàrbara Casto Urío, published by Zahorí Books, was awarded the winner of the 2019 Bologna Ragazzi Toddler Award; and Petit Indi by Mercè Galí was nominated for the Silent Book Contest Gianni di Conno Award 2019, from the Municipality of Montereggio di Mulazzo, Italy.

We would like to express our sincere condolences on the death of the Catalan philologue Aina Moll, and writer, translator, and scriptwriter of Massagran Ramon Folch i Camarassa.
From Spain
Galician branch

Galician Books for Children and Young Adults 2019

The new catalogue of Galician Books for Children’s and Young People’s published during 2019 is now available. You can find out more information about Galician literature and check all the information, covers and details of the 2019 selection by downloading our catalogue using the following link: "GALICIAN BOOKS FOR CHILDREN’S AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S OF 2019"

2nd International Illustration Prize

The City Council of Pontevedra in collaboration with GÁLIX (Galician Association of Children’s and Young People’s Literature) convened the 2nd International Illustration Contest in order to choose the poster image of the 20th International Book Fair for Children and Young People of Pontevedra.
From among 115 entries, with a total international participation of 26 countries, the jury chose the work of Tiiu Kitsik, an Estonian illustrator settled in Berlin. The wining image highlights the strength, positivism and joy that respond to the revolution, theme of the Fair this year.

Lazarillo’s Prize

The 2018 Lazarillo’s prize is awarded a book written in Galician. On this occasion, the winning book, in the form of literary creation, was a work by Andrea Maceiras.

In 1990, since the book Contos por palabras (Stories for Word’s) by Agustín Fernández Paz won the award, 11 prizes and 4 second prizes for Galician children’s and young people’s literature have been awarded.

From Sweden

The Gulliver Prize, established by the Child and Youth Book Council (now IBBY Sweden), in 1969, is one of IBBY Sweden’s two special prizes. It is awarded annually to a person “who by work of critical, theoretical or practical character has significantly contributed to advance understanding of child and youth literature”. The recipient of the 2019 Gulliver prize is Marlen Eskander, founder and head of Läsfrämjandeinstitutet (The Reading Promoting Institute). For a long time she has worked in the municipality of Södertälje, with reading promotion, integration and inclusion issues.

In 2015 Marlen initiated Läsa för integration, LFI (Reading for Integration) at the Assyrian Cultural Association in Södertälje - a project focusing on children's and young people's language development, where all languages are equally important. The LFI method lets children experience the joy of language and reading, using reading aloud and participation from children, together with their families. Different art forms, such as theatre, storytelling, singing, drawing and creative writing, reinforce each other but literature is always at the centre.

The Gulliver prize was announced and awarded at IBBY Sweden's annual meeting on March 4, 2019, where we also had the pleasure of listening to the laureate, who spoke vividly and inspiringly about her tireless and consistent work to promote literacy and make literature available to children.

The Peter Pan Prize, the only Swedish prize that goes to a translated children's book, wasalso awarded at the annual meeting. This time the prize went to the youth novel Doften av ett hem (The Smell of Other Peoples Houses) by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, from Alaska.The Peter Pan's two Silver Stars, awarded annually according to the same criteria as the Peter Pan Award, went to Är du min bror (Are you my brother) by Liu Hsu-Kung from Taiwan and Paveen och buffertjejen (The Pavee and the Buffer Girl) by Irish author Siobhan Dowd, with illustrations by Emma Shoard.

From Russia
Left to right: Anna Chipovskaya, actress; Peter Nalitch, singer and composer; Maria Vedenyapina, director of the Russian state children’s library and president of the Association Raising readers; Grigoriy Gladkov, singer and composer

All-Russian campaign «Give books with love!» - 2019

This year, between February 11 and 17, a campaign called Give books with love! took place across Russia. This marathon-like campaign was initiated in 2017 by The Association of cultural workers, artists and educators for children’s reading Raising Readers (or simply The Association Raising Readers) as an annual network project within the framework of the International Book-Giving Day celebration with the aim of encouraging more people in Russia to become involved in this global celebration. The campaign unites state, public, and creative organizations, institutions, collectives and individuals working in the sphere of culture, art, education, book publishing, etc. in the interests of promoting children’s literary and artistic education.

Our goal is to make Give books with love! an annual event that will revive the tradition of book giving and spark young peoples’ interest in reading.

Before the start of the campaign we held a press conference with the biggest Russian news agency TASS and included noted cultural workers and artists as speakers.

2,050 children's libraries registered as participants (775 in 2017) from 79 Russian regions (58 in 2017), as well as the largest book stores, publishing houses, schools, State Literary Museum and many other organization took part in the campaign this year.

In addition to the existing official Book-Giving Day 2019 poster, artist Elizaveta Kazinskaya designed the official Russian campaign poster and promotional materials (pins, pens, bookmarks, balloons).

In the bookstores supporting the campaign Give books with love! the poster and other promotional materials were placed in a designated section of the store with a display stand of books that were sold at a special campaign price. Customers could then buy any book and put it in one of the special boxes, which were sent as a gift to the children’s hospitals, orphanages, hospices, charity funds and needy libraries in small villages in the distant corners of the country at the end of the campaign. The Russian State Children’s Library and many other libraries joined in the campaign this way.

Furthermore, book exchanges, meetings with children's writers, illustrators and cultural ambassadors, contests, quizzes, workshops and much more were organized at the campaign venues.

The campaign turned out to be amazingly successful. For example, the oldest publishing house “Detskaya Literatura” collected 410 new and beautiful books that we sent to a village library in Volgograd district, and a well-known Moscow Book House store collected 1,200 books that were equally divided between four village libraries in Voronezh district. The overall picture was very impressive: nearly 96,000 books were distributed to organizations in need.

We are very glad how successfully our campaign promoted the holiday, and gained wide popularity and publicity in most of the Russian regions.

Russian Delegation in Bologna

As part of the advanced training programme “International cooperation in promoting children's literature”, the directors and other specialists of Russian children's libraries from 10 Russian cities in different regions, from Kaliningrad to Syktyvkar, visited the libraries of Bologna, Verona and Florence. They also joined the Russian delegation in exploring the international children’s literature market at the 2019 Bologna Children’s Book Fair. They visited the amazing ancient buildings of the libraries that manage, not only to preserve the written cultural heritage of Italy with dignity, but keep abreast of the times; the marvellous collections of rare and antique books, and, of course, the stunning work being done in reading promotion among all age groups for children regardless of their nationality and gender – all made a great impression on our delegation and inspired us to imagine new projects and forms of work.

A member of Russian delegation at BCBF, Denis Beznosov, presented The Anthology of the Contemporary Children’s Literature of the Peoples of Russia within the framework of the 2nd IBBY European Regional Conference: Languages in Europe: children reading in a multilingual environment.

For the last 5 years, Denis has been contributing to the work of the Russian State Children's Library (RSCL) as a Head of the Cultural Programme Department. He is also a guest editor at the United Humanitarian Publishers (ОГИ), which is the publishing house in charge of the publication of a series of anthologies that presents works written in the national languages of Russian Federation after 1990. The series was a part of the Programme for the Support of National Literatures of the Peoples of the Russian Federation. The Anthology of Contemporary Children's Literature of the Peoples of Russia is the second volume in the series, the first was a volume of poetry. Besides the Russian language, there are about 100 national written languages, 59 of which are literary ones and this Anthology consists of works in 55 languages. It is a unique project and deserves to get more attention among specialists, domestic as well as foreign. Thus, Denis as a person regularly working in collaboration with the United Humanitarian Publishers, presented the working process on this Anthology and discussed the process of collecting stories from our big multinational country, about getting in touch with authors and setting up a network for a further work with literary communities across the whole Russia.

Exhibition of Russian Illustrators in Gdansk (Poland).
Dedicated to the 125th anniversary of the release of the first complete works of H.C. Andersen translated from Danish

The Fairy Tale of My Life is the name that H.C. Andersen gave to his autobiography. And that is the name we gave to our exhibition that opened in the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Gdansk on 28 February 2019.

In the Exhibition Hall of the Russian Centre we presented the work of three generations of Russian children’s book illustrators. The unique palette of each artist fitted naturally into the bright canvas of the exhibition, while simultaneously demonstrating the diversity and creative individuality of each one of the 30 illustrators featured.

Polish pupils, who were the guests on the opening day, learned the history behind the translation of Andersen’s fairy tales in Russia, took a tour around the exhibition with Natalia Feodorova, an art director of a Moscow publishing house Malysh, and participated in an illustration workshop with Olga Ionaytis, a Moscow illustrator.

The name H.C. Andersen was known to Russian readers from the end of the 1830s, but initially it was only through translation from French or German versions. The first translation, made directly from the original Danish was by Anna and Peter Ganse, and was published in 1894 in the form of the complete work of the author in four volumes. This translation is still considered the best one in Russia.

Irina Tokmakova’s 90th Anniversary

On February 7, 2019, the anniversary celebration of Irina Tokmakova was opened in the Central House of Writers in Moscow.

Irina Tokmakova (1929 - 2018) was a Russian poetess, author of fairy tales, playwright, translator, a Laureate of the State Prize in Literature (2003) and a Laureate of RF Government Prize in education (2008), as well as a Laureate of several other state and public prizes in the field of literature. She was not just a classic figure of Russian children’s literature, but also an active public figure and a long-time member of IBBY. The evening was presented to show the hero from different angles – as a novelist and poet, as a friend and mentor, as a public figure and an interpreter and translator.

Irina Tokmakova was remembered with warmth and kindness, she was a surprisingly interesting and bright person. Many of those present did not know that she grew up in a bilingual family and spoke Armenian. One of the particularly interesting parts was a video with her last interview that included her memories of childhood and adolescence, as well as Angela Lebedeva talking about the work of Irina Tokmakova as part of IBBY and her many working trips.

We express our sincere gratitude to the Bookbird editorial stuff and to Liz Page, the Executive Director of IBBY, for publishing a memorial article about Irina Petrovna in vol. 56, No.3 (2018).

(Natalya Budur, philologist, translator, member of IBBY since 2003, close family friend).

Sergei Mikhalkov Library in Severomorsk

On International Children's Book Day – 2 April 2019 – the solemn ceremony of assigning the name of the classic of Russian children's literature and a founder/president of 40 years of the Russian National Section of the IBBY, Sergei Mikhalkov to the Central Children's Library of Severomorsk, in the Murmansk region of the Russian Federation, took place. Thus, the library in Severomorsk entered the Commonwealth of Libraries bearing the name of our famous children's writer. These libraries exist both in different regions of Russia and abroad – in Poland, Slovakia, Ireland...
A book collection of 700 books, an illustrative photo gallery of S.V. Mikhalkov, a photo-panel of his book “Uncle Stepa the Policeman”, and exclusive themed souvenirs as exhibits, were donated to the library by the Russian Cultural Foundation.
An exhibition of illustrations from Sergei Mikhalkov’s works by People’s Artist of Russia Viktor Chizhikov, the current President of the Council on the Children's Book of Russia, was also donated to the library.
At the end of May, on the eve of the International Children's Day (June 1), another children's library named after Sergei Mikhalkov will be opened. This will take place in the ancient village of Ilinskoe in Udmurtia, which is the birthplace of the Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky.

 Recent publications

L'Europe, quelle histoire ! [Europe, what a story]

How can we apprehend a geographical space so vast marked by the singularity of each literature, by the diversity of each country's relation to culture, to reading? We have chosen to meet the players who cross borders and help build a common identity, without always achieving it. Nine encounters to discover the Europe of children, Europe of languages ​​and translators, of illustrators, authors, publishers, printers, librarians, booksellers, storytellers... Contrasting images, positive exchanges, sometimes conflicting interests, more or less happy perspectives, always exciting encounters that give a space to the multiple voices of those who make books in Europe.

Flip through the first pages of the publication.

L'Europe, quelle histoire ! [Europe, what a story]– "La Revue des livres pour enfants" n°306, April 2019, BnF/IBBY France. In French. 12,50 €.

Bookbird. Issue 57.1, 2019

This is the first issue under the editorship of Janelle Mathis and Petros Panaou, both based in the USA. Articles in this issue address the theme of agency, voice an identity – all important and timely themes.  The powerful keynote speech Before They Give the Order given by Deborah Ellis at the 2018 IBBY Congress in Athens opens the issue. Ellis argues that the ‘after’ is well documented and we see the results, so we really need to understand the ‘before’ – fascinating reading. Kelly K. Wissman embraces the power of picture books as a way to cultivate social imagination. Melanie Duckworth reflects the issue’s themes when discussing the series Our Australian Girl, in her piece A Girl Like me in Times Gone By. The final featured article is by Sarani Ray where she discusses the fairy tale collection of Colonial Bengal. The section Authors and Their Books includes an interview with Egyptian author Hadil Ghoneim by Yasmine Motawy, and an exploration of highly-acclaimed Indian children’s author Ruskin Bond by Monali Chatterjee. In the Letters column Manuela Salvi writes about Globalization and Italian Children’s Publishing. The regular columns Focus IBBY, Books on Books and the ever-popular Postcards, complete this thought-provoking inaugural issue by Janelle and Petros.

Bookbird. Issue 57.2, 2019

This issue of Bookbird asks us to think about slowing down, reading and asking provocative questions. The writers in this issue ask these questions. Kathy Short asks about the dangers of reading globally – provocative for sure – she asks us to think about the social responsibility of bookmakers, readers and educators when this responsibility is taken lightly. Perry Nodelman’s keynote speech from the 36th IBBY Congress in Athens last year, asks whether picture books that feature anthropomorphic animals encourage to ignore the “otherness”, might they shape how children think about different kinds of people? Ann Alston asks about the portrayal of female genital mutilation in children’s literature. Vassiliki Vassiloudi asks about the promotion by international and local relief organizations of children’s and young adults’ narratives as refugees. Other articles explore what it currently means to write about sexual assault, the rape culture, and violence against women and girls. The 2018 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award Winner has provocative questions about how blind children read the world, and how this is changing. And finally how Kamishibi can shock and alienate certain audiences. 

Regular features include Focus IBBY, Letters, Books on Books, and the Postcard reviews.

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Nara Adjemyan (IBBY Armenia)
Ana Cendán Doce (IBBY Spain)
Cristina Correro Iglesias (IBBY Spain/Catalan branch)
Carolin Farbmacher (IBBY Germany)
Charlotte Goobar (IBBY Sweden)
Evangelia Kaliskami (IBBY Greece)
Roma Kišūnaitė (IBBY Lithuania)
Ann Lazim (IBBY UK)
Angela Lebedeva (IBBY Russia)
Liz Page (IBBY)
Robert Schmidt (IBBY Belgium/French branch)
Michèle Simonsen (IBBY Denmark)
Ilze Stikāne (IBBY Latvia)

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