Dear IBBY Colleagues in Europe,

Dear IBBY Colleagues in Europe - we are delighted to send out this the autumn Regional Newsletter. Thank you all those sections who have contributed; it is great to learn what has been happening around Europe - and there has been plenty of activity. We have news from Iceland to Turkey, via Germany, Belgium (both the Flemish and the French sections), UK to Spain. Please do remember that activities do not have to be large, but to hear how you have connected with others within the country - a visit to a school, welcoming an author, joining with another organisation for an event  - is interesting and inspiring to us all.

The item of news that is of interest to us all is, of course, the proposal to organise a Europe Region One Day Conference. We presented this proposal to the EC in Bratislava and it was received with approval: so it will happen. However, it will need organisation. Soon we will be looking to create an Organising Committee, and we will keep you posted about this.

Another exciting development is the new version of the IBBY Europe Website which is now online ready to be used by us all. This is not meant to be a static resource; please could all National Sections have a look, add 5 new books (and remove any previous suggestions that are out of print - if they are). In this way practitioners working with young people across Europe can be confident that recommendations really are accessible and appropriate.

It is also, in a sense, a link between us all. However, next year there is an opportunity to meet at the 35th Congress in New Zealand. The booking is now open and everyone is urged to take advantage of the Early Bird opportunity. www.ibbycongress2016.org/new-zealand.

Once again we must thank Hasmig for the enormous amount of work she puts in to the Newsletter; to David Pinter for his design which makes the Newsletter so attractive and, of course, to Liz Page who has proofread the material.

Vagn Plenge and Ferelith Hordon

Greetings from... Bratislava!

Imagine two large gallery spaces - and they are filled with works of art, elegantly and effectively displayed, not on the walls so that the viewer has to stand in ranks to look at them, but on interesting frameworks that stood down the centre of these spaces.  We were not being invited to look at Old Masters or Contemporary installations. Contemporary, yes, but all the art on display was the work of illustrators - artists whose work was to create the visual excitement in books; this was the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava - BIB.

From the very beginning BIB has been held under the auspices of UNESCO and the International Board on Books for Young People IBBY, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Slovakia, so it was wonderful to be invited as the Executive Committee to combine meeting with the celebration of its 50th anniversary. To be part of the award-giving ceremony was impressive since it took place in the Old Theatre in Bratislava and it was exciting to hear the winners being read out, including special awards presented to Yumiko Bando (Japan), Steffen Larsen (Denmark), Liz Page (IBBY), Anastasia Arkhipova (Russia) and UNESCO for their long years of cooperation with BIB - congratulations to all those commended and those who won.

We had been invited by IBBY Slovakia who made sure we were welcome. Of course the days were spent on IBBY business, but we were given the opportunity to visit the Red Stone Castle with its spacious cellars designed by Albrecht Durer as well as attend the opening of the exhibition of work by previous winners of the BIB Grand Prix in Bratislava Castle. Then there was the visit  to Bibiana International House of Art for Children. Here we walked through rooms that had been transformed by artists such as Miroslav Cipár and Albin Brunovsky into wonderlands for children to delight in and explore  - as we adults did. The rooms were all based on books illustrated by these artists - Gulliver's Travels, Grimm's Fairytales. Here the book, the illustrator and the "audience" worked together to create that special imaginative journey.

International House of art for Children. © Ferelith Hordon

The IBBY Collection in Frankfurt

The IBBY Panel session took place on October 15, at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Examples of suitable books for and about young people with special needs from the IBBY Collection for Young People with Disabilities were presented. The panel gathered Liz Page (IBBY Executive Director), Philippe Claudet (publisher, Les Doigts qui rêvent) and was moderated by Miriam Gabriela Möllers (Project Manager for Children and Youth Literature).

The IBBY Collection for Young People with Disabilities was displayed at the IBBY stand.

A view of the IBBY stand. © IBBY Miriam Gabriela Möllers, Liz Page and Philippe Claudet. © IBBY

Kia ora IBBY Europe Regional members!

We’re not quite counting the sleeps before the Congress, but time is certainly slipping by at an alarming rate. The over-arching theme of Literature in a Multi-Literate World with its strands, ‘global, local and indigenous literature’, ‘diverse literary forms and formats’,  and ‘engaging readers’ has attracted well over 200 wonderful proposals received from 48  countries. From early assessments we confidently predict a stimulating Congress where delegates share their research and practical expertise and experiences of producing and sharing material for young readers living in an increasingly digital world.

Breaking news: the new Australian Children’s Laureate, to be announced in February 2016, will be attending the Congress.

The registration to the Congress includes the Hans Christian Andersen Awards celebratory dinner. The successful 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award winners will be announced at the IBBY Press Conference at the Bologna Book Fair Monday, 4 April 2016.

The event programme also includes the presentation of the 2016 IBBY Asahi Reading Promotion Award and the presentation to the writers, illustrators and translators from IBBY member countries selected for the IBBY Honour List, the biennial selection of outstanding recently published books.

The Storylines Children’s Literature Trust of New Zealand’s (NZIBBY) Festival Family Day on Sunday August 21 is our unique contribution to the Congress events. You will be able to join families engaging with our writers, illustrators and storytellers and experiencing a range of literature-based activities.

Book displays include the 2016 IBBY Honour List, the IBBY Selection of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities 2015, the Silent Books Collection and the Hans Christian Andersen nominees. And of course, we will introduce you to New Zealand titles.

You have an invitation to attend the hotly contested World Final of the Kids’ Lit Quiz, held on Friday 19 August, where teams of four ten to thirteen year olds will be tested on their knowledge of children’s books.  Quizmaster Wayne Mills, an IBBY Congress committee member, travels the world conducting National finals following regional quizzes. Teams from New Zealand, United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada, USA, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong compete for the revered title. 

Early Bird registration is available until 31 March 2016. Please check your visa requirements for visiting New Zealand. Go to Entry to New Zealand links for information about getting a visa.

Air New Zealand is offering a discount for flights from some cities. We will let you know how to access this when we have dates for using the Air New Zealand promotion code confirmed.

Information about accommodation is on the website www.ibbycongress2016.org but do contact us if you would like further advice on other accommodation that is available.

Come and share the Congress experience and take some extra time to explore our beautiful countryside.



Libby Limbrick and Rosemary Tisdall
Co-directors IBBY Congress 2016

 3 questions to... Zoltán Jeney

Zoltán Jeney. © Csudai Sándor



In this column we address 3 questions to a member of a European Section of IBBY.

In this issue, meet Zoltán Jeney from IBBY Hungary!

Do you have a name to suggest for the next issue? Send us a mail!


HUBBY founding assembly. © HUBBY

1.What motivated you to reestablish IBBY Hungary after some years of absence?

In 2012, Hungary has lost its membership in IBBY. That was a terrible shock for the international reputation of Hungarian children’s book creators. Our first aim was reintegration. The re-calibration of the Hungarian children’s book community for this new challenge took some time, but last February, more than one hundred people, children’s book authors, illustrators, translators and publishers joined our initiative, and we have created an association, which became the new Hungarian national section of IBBY.

2. What are the main challenges facing the children's book market in Hungary today?

Regarding the financial and the creative part of the children’s book market there are no major problems. Authors, translators, illustrators could earn a little bit more, but the children’s book market isn’t in danger, not as other segments of publishing market are. One of the problems is that the Hungarian children’s book community is a small group: everyone knows everyone. This is a very delicate situation for the critics, they are under a hard pressure by the publishers’ and creators’ side to soften their critical voice. But this is maybe not a Hungarian specialty.

3. What do you think IBBY Hungary can offer ?

IBBY Hungary (HUBBY) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation with limited financial potential and a reduced administrative background. Our goal is to link Hungarian children's book creators to international networks, bring international trends closer to the Hungarian public, and participate in international activities.

Echoes from the European sections

From Belgium

An IBBY book sale in Antwerp

For some years now, the Flemish branch of IBBY-Belgium, ledereen Leest (Everybody Reads), organizes an IBBY book sale. We collect hardly-used children’s books from our own offices, reviewers and children’s literature specialists, and sell them for 5 euros each. The revenue always goes to an IBBY Children in Crisis programme.

This year, our book sale took place during the ‘Culture Fair’, a big open air fair in Antwerp at the end of August, where all cultural organizations promote their programmes for the new cultural season.

The Reading Association had a reading aloud programme for children and for adults, and therefore we added an extra to our traditional book sale: people could donate their second hand books (literature and non-fiction for adults) and we sold those for a small price.
Our IBBY book sale was a big success. Not only did we manage to raise 4 000 euros for the bibliotherapy programme for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon, but at the same time, we promoted IBBY and its mission to a broad, culturally interested public.

Officially it started at 11 o'clock, but we sold our first books at 9.45! © Michiel Devijver Families buying books at the book fair © Michiel Devijver A view of the books © Michiel Devijver

Libbylit Awards 2015 in Belgium

For the 11th time, the French-speaking branch of IBBY Belgium has celebrated its Libbylit Awards.
A Libbylit Award? Well, maybe it is not as famous as the ALMA or the HCA... but the Libbylit Awards have existed since 1995. Based on a selection of favourite books presented during the last year in our Libbylit (a periodical dedicated to youth literature), two committees (one committee for the novels/theatre/poetry and another one for illustrated books or Albums) chose the books that were awarded in October, during the Education fair in Charleroi.

From left to right: Geneviève Casterman and Thomas Lavachery (Best Belgian album and novel) Robert Schmidt, head of novel committee Luc Battieuw, head of album committee and Arne Svingen's translator of La chanson du nez cassé.
IBBY Belgium (French speaking Branch)

This year, the results were:

Section: Novel
Best Belgian novel : Ramulf / Thomas Lavachery (l'école des loisirs)
Best novel for young readers : Jonas, le requin mécanique / Bertrand Santini (Grasset Jeunesse)
Best novel for teenagers : there were two winners this year: La chanson du nez cassé / Arne Svingen (Magnard) and Justice pour Louie Sam / Elizabeth Steward (Thierry Magnier).

Section: Album
Best Belgian album : Au revoir Adélaïde / Geneviève Casterman (Pastel)
Best album for early childhood : Prendre & donner / Lucie Félix (Ed. Les Grandes Personnes)
Best album : Les fleurs de la Ville / text by Jon Arno Lawson and illustrations by Sydney Smith (Sarbacane).
A special mention was given to : Mon tout petit, text by Germano Zullo and illustrations by Albertine (La Joie de lire).

This year, both our two Belgian awarded authors were present, as well as one translator (La chanson du nez cassé) and some publishers and we recommand that you read their books as soon as possible (we do hope they will be soon translated in many different languages).

Two things you absolutely need to know about  the Libbylit awards... the award is made of chocolate and represents Manneken Pis (the famous Brussels pissing boy), and Libbylit stands for "The IBBY reads" in French.

Read and enjoy...

From Iceland

"Provisions and new shoes" (Nesti og nýir skór)

The idea was born in Copenhagen in 2008. Well, it was born earlier - but it got its wings in Copenhagen.

Several members of the Icelandic NS were in town for the World Congress and during a visit to a local library they were shown a Danish book where several well-loved stories were collected. The book was lovely, it had been designed with care and the stories chosen with love. Our Danish hosts explained that it had been created as a gift for young children across the country to introduce them to their literary heritage - and it was everything the women from Iceland had dreamed of doing for Icelandic children.

After that library visit the Icelandic board appointed Sólveig Ebba Ólafsdóttir and Þorbjörg Karlsdóttir as editors of a book of our own.

The process was long. It's been seven years of brainstorming, fundraising and networking to make the dream come true. On September 8th, World Literacy Day 2015, our book was finally published. It is 120 pages long, printed in colour, using the original illustrations when possible. It contains folk tales, poems, whole picture books and chapters from novels. We decided not to use anything that had been published or reprinted after the year 2000, hoping to make available stories that should be remembered, but were on the brink of being forgotten.

It was a group effort. Once the book was ready we reached out to the schools and to the public libraries in Iceland, and every six year old in Iceland (some 5000 of them) received a letter, inviting them to visit their public library where they were presented with the book.

One of the lucky six year olds, holding her copy of the gift certificate. © IBBY Iceland

That step was an integral part of the concept – we hope the book will encourage reading in every way, and introducing those future readers to their public libraries is an important part of that.

In the few cases when schools are so remote that a library is nowhere near it, we send the books directly to the children.

The book is called Nesti og nýir skór (Provisions and new shoes), which is a phrase from Icelandic folktales, used about someone about to embark on a long journey. The idea is that the book will provide those young readers with sufficient nourishment for their upcoming, life-long reading journey.

The long preparation time and all our hard work paid off. The book is beautiful and everyone we've encountered is enthusiastic about the project. We don't yet have statistics about how many children have claimed their copies but hope that the majority will.

At the library. © IBBY Iceland

We were able to secure enough funding to print 10.000 copies, enough for every Icelandic child starting school this year and the next. We had several sponsors – some private and some public – and published the book in co-operation with Iceland's largest publishing house, Forlagið. Simultaneously the book was published and marketed with different cover. That enabled interested people to buy the book, but didn't create a marketing product out of the copies being presented to the youngsters. This was also an idea borrowed from our Danish predecessors.

We hope to be able to fund the re-publishing of the book, so that we'll be able repeat the gesture for several years to come because these things matter in a fundamental way. A thick book of your very own – printed in bright colours and filled with all sorts of stories – that's something special when you're six years old. It might be something you never even realised you wanted. It might be something you had never dared to dream of possessing. It might - in the end - be something that changes your life.

From France

The French Honour List 2016

IBBY France's members selected their nominees for the Honour List 2016:

In the writing category: Clémentine Beauvais, Les petites reines (The little queens), Sarbacane.

In the illustration category: Adrien Albert, Papa sur la lune (Dad on the moon), L'Ecole des loisirs.

In the translation category: Jean-François Ménard, Ne tombe jamais (Never fall down) by Patricia McCormick, Gallimard jeunesse (Scripto).

A presentation of the 2015 IBBY Collection at the French National Library

IBBY France presented the IBBY Collection of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities during a training held at the French National Library: "Public jeunesse et handicaps" (Young readers and handicaps). A powerpoint was shown, based on documents provided by Liz Page (IBBY Executive Director) and Leigh Turina (Librarian in charge of the IBBY Collection). The books selected by IBBY France to be part of the Outstanding Books were also displayed for the trainees to leaf through. The presentation was a great success. Some trainees asked if they could be part of the IBBY France Outstanding Books selection committee. A copy of the 2015 IBBY Selection of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities was given to each participant.

From Turkey

BIB jury on duty. © IBBY Turkey

BIB Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava

This year Turkey contributed to the Biennial of Illustrations in Bratislava (BIB) with six illustrators. Along with the exhibition, another contribution from Turkey was Dr. Nazan Erkmen, an award-winning illustrator and academician, who was a member of the 2015 jury.

Getting ready for IBBY Congress 2018

While New Zealand is accepting applications for 2016, CGYD is getting ready for the 36th IBBY Congress which will be held in Istanbul in 2018. Committees are formed and already started holding meetings to make sure that Istanbul will be an unforgettable experience for all the guests.

See you in Istanbul!

Panorama of Istanbul taken from Galata tower. From left to right you can see the asian side of the city, Topkapi palace, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Galata bridge, Yeni Mosque. © Creative Commons, Juraj Patekar

From Spain

New entries in the Dictionary of Children's Books Authors from Catalonia

CLijCAT, Catalan Section, included in the National IBBY Spanish Section (OEPLI), has incorporated several new authors into its biographical "Dictionary of Children's Books Authors from Catalonia". Nowadays, this dictionary is an important database, with more than 400 writers and illustrators who have already published at least 5 children's books in Catalan.

"Young Protagonist" and "Catch-a-book"

The ClijCAT, Catalan Branch of Spanish IBBY (OEPLI), presents the Award for Literature Protagonista Jove (Young Protagonist) and Award for Children's Literature Atrapallibres (Catch-a-book) with the aim of stimulating imaginative reading in children.

With this goal, a team of experts in children's literature selects books in Catalan and presents them to all secondary and primary education centres and libraries in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and the region of Valencia.

The selection is taken from books published between May of the previous year and April of the year in which the awards are held.

The objective of the Award for Literature Protagonista Jove and Atrapallibres is for as many young adults and children’s as possible to read the selected books.  They then form a jury in each school or library where they present and defend the books in front of their peers and the book that seems the best to them is chosen.  The idea is for the young adults and children’s voices to be heard, giving them an opportunity to act as juror with consequences beyond the school and the library.

25th anniversary of Galtzagorri Elkartea, Basque branch of IBBY Spain

In 2015 we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of Galtzagorri Elkartea. The Association of Basque children's and young adult's literature was born on 24th October 1990. Because of that reason we have organized some activities this month, in San Sebastian, Basque Country.

One of those activities, the storyteller's marathon, took place on Saturday, October 17th. Seven sessions of story tellers were offered during all day for children between 2 and 16 years old. More than 200 people participated in these sessions. The sessions were made of different ingredients: African stories, kamishibai stories, poetry, clowns, illustrations and scarry stories…

We also organized two other activities for October 25th. One of them was an illustration solidarity auction. Some Basque illustrators gave their illustrations to Galtzagorri Elkartea to be auctioned off. So, Galtzagorri Elkartea will collect some funds in this auction. Then, Galtzagorri Elkartea will make a donation of the money to the Children's Library Project in Lampedusa that is being organized by IBBY Italy, known as Silent Books: From the World to Lampedusa and Back.

Then, on Sunday afternoon we celebrated with a party where a documentary video of the history of Galtzagorri Elkartea was presented. The party was open to the public, but everyone attending had to take a children's book to join the party.

The project Bularretik Mintzora in IBBY Institute Bratislava Conference

The Psychologist Juan Carlos Alonso took part on 31st of August in the IBBY INSTITUTE BRATISLAVA conference organized by Slovak section of IBBY. The conference took place from 29th August to 4th September 2015 in Bratislava and Juan Carlos presented the paper "The importance of the psycho-emotional in the creation of the reading habits of children", with the support of Etxepare Basque Institute.

The main goal of the paper of Mr. Alonso was to explain the achievements of the project Bularretik Mintzora of Galtzagorri Elkartea.

Juan Carlos Alonso participates in the big project of Galtzagorri Elkartea Bularretik Mintzora. This programme is similar to the project Bookstart (United Kingdom) or Nascuts per llegir (Catalunya).

It started in 2008 in five towns in the Basque Country and has grown to include 21 towns, and is held in libraries, schools and private homes, as well as in some health centres. Today Bularretik Mintzora involves 49 schools, 432 teachers and 7,271 children across the Basque country. The goal of this programme is to encourage parents and reading mediators to enjoy books with children from as early an age as possible.

Mr. Alonso collaborates with Gatzagorri Elkartea in many other projects to promote the reading habits of the children and young people. He gives a lot of courses and talks about the influence that children's literature has in children's emotional and psychological development.

From Germany

Group photo of all award winners and some members of the jurys © José Poblete

German Children's Literature Award 2015

On 16 October 2015, Dr. Ralf Kleindiek, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, announced the prizewinners of the German Children's Literature Award 2015 at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The Award is the only state-sponsored prize for fiction in Germany and has been awarded annually since 1956.

The 2015 "Sonderpreis" (Special Award for Lifetime Achievement) was given to the illustrator Sabine Friedrichson for her artistry and the intellectual quality of her graphic interpretations. The prize is a statuette of "Momo" and 12,000 Euros. The jury of adult critics awarded the following books: in the category picture book Herr Schnuffels (Aladin Verlag; original title: Mr. Wuffles!) by David Wiesner, translated by Paula Hagemeier; in the category children's books Der Träumer (Aladin Verlag; original title: The Dreamer) by Pam Muñoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sís and translated by Anne Braun; in the category young adult books Schneeriese (Carlsen; title in English: Snow giant) by Susan Kreller; in the category non-fiction for children and youth Und dann platzt der Kopf (Kunstanstifter; title in English: And then your head will burst) by Christina Röckl.

Members of the young adult jury presenting all their nominations and finally their winner on stage © José Poblete

The young adult jury, which consists of six reading clubs from all over Germany, honoured Letztendlich sind wir dem Universum egal (Fischer FJB; original title: Every Day) by David Levithan, translated by Martina Tichy. All five categories include a prize money of 10,000 Euros and a statuette of "Momo". For more information visit http://www.djlp.jugendliteratur.org/preistraeger_bilderbuch-14.html

Apart from the award ceremony the Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur (AKJ)/German IBBY section hosted a number of other events at the Frankfurt Book Fair. At its booth the AKJ presented all nominated books for the German Children's Literature Award. All nominees were invited to a reception before the ceremony and the winners joined Birgit Müller-Bardorff, chair of the jury of adult critics, for a talk at the Lesezelt (reading tent) on Saturday morning. Thanks to a cooperation with the German Translators Union (Verband deutschsprachiger Übersetzer) another talk and book presentation took place on Friday morning. Belgian author Michael De Cock and his translator Rolf Erdorf presented their children's book Rosie und Moussa – Der Brief von Papa (Beltz and Gelberg, title in English: Rosie and MoussaThe Letter from dad, original title: Rosie en Moussa – De Brief van Papa), illustrated by Judith Vanistendael and nominated for the German Children's Literature Award 2015.

From the United Kingdom

One focus of IBBY UK activities during 2015 has been to try to raise awareness within the UK of children’s books from other countries; as it is well known, only a tiny fraction of books published here are translated from other languages.

In April IBBY UK was very pleased to host a reception during the London Book Fair for children’s publishers who we met at the Congress in Mexico last year. We also hosted a seminar at the Fair on reading promotion in the UK and Mexico and collaborated with the Guardian newspaper on a gallery of work by a selection of Mexican illustrators. See the Guardian children's book website.

The enthusiasm generated by our visit to Mexico has carried over further into our most recent issue of our members’ journal IBBYLink, the theme of which is Mexico and Latin America.

We have been fortunate this year in borrowing the collection of books nominated by each country for the Illustration section of the 2014 IBBY Honour List. They have been on a tour of the country, going on display to the public at the Story Museum in Oxford as part of their Spring exhibition, Draw Me a Story, and later at The Hive, Worcester in an exhibition mounted by the International Centre for the Picture Book in Society (ICPBS) at the University of Worcester. In November they will be at the University of Roehampton and displayed at the annual IBBY UK/NCRCL Conference. We hope to follow up the interest the books have generated by bringing other IBBY collections to the UK in future years.

From Sweden

Chih-Yuan Chen in conversation with IBBY Sweden members Mats Wänblad and Helena Bergendahl. © IBBY Sweden

Gothenburg book fair 24 - 27 September

IBBY Sweden, in cooperation with Gothenburg book fair, presented this year's Peter Pan Award for best book in translation. We were thrilled to have Chih-Yuan Chen, who created the award winning picture book Guji Guji, as our guest all the way from Taiwan. At the book fair Chih-Yuan Chen participated in seminars and met Swedish readers. Boulevardteatern, a theatre company, premiered their stage version of Guji Guji, now playing for children in Stockholm.

Another theme of the book fair was promotion of reading. Especially invited was promoter of reading, publisher and head of Vasconcelos library in Mexico, Daniel Goldin as well as Arabella Koopman, representing this year's Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award recipient PRAESA from South Africa. Arabella Koopman spoke of the national project Nal'ibali, a network of reading clubs aiming to encourage children's reading as well as inspiring parents and adults to share experiences of reading with children.

Children's literature exchange in Lithuania 8-10 October        

Vilnius children. © IBBY Sweden

As part of H.M King Carl XVI Gustaf and H.M Queen Silvia's state visit to Lithuania a seminar on children's literature was held at the Seimas, the Lithuanian parliament. The aim of the conference was to highlight issues in connection with encouraging children to read. Children's rights were taken as a starting point, and children's access to literature was an underlying theme of the conference.
The Queen opened the conference, saying:

"A society needs not only economic growth but also democratic growth. For this, a free culture and free cultural practice are needed. You can make a difference. Writers, illustrators, translators, publishers, researchers and libraries all play crucial roles in the work involving access to literature for children and young people."

During the visit represenatives of IBBY Sweden had a chance to meet with IBBY Lithuania as well as IBBY Latvia.

 Recent publications

Bookbird. Issue 53.3, 2015

How dare we?! With this paraphrase from Michael Heyman's interview with JonArno Lawson I signal how provocative it may be to devote almost a whole issue to nonsense. For even if children's literature historically may have gone "from instruct and delight," the delight bit is almost always coated with good intentions and didactic impulses. "Everything has a moral," as the Duchess in Alice in Wonderland would have it, and most children's books would no doubt prove the Duchess right. The hidden adult of children's literature always seems to lurk in the background, leaning over the child's shoulder and whispering about the horrible usefulness of it all… But nonsense is anti-didactic and useless, which is why it is so endlessly fascinating. That is why we dare in this issue to broach a subject which remains both central and peripheral to children's literature: non-sense. It is central, because some of the most important children's books, like Alice in Wonderland, are works of non-sense and because any history of over-view of children's literature is incomplete without it; it is peripheral, because it is not a major genre or style. Therefore it comes as no surprise that a nonsense-themed children's literature journal is a rare bird indeed. In fact we believe this Bookbird may be the first to be sighted in thirty years. That's why we dare!

Bookbird. Issue 53.4, 2015

True to its name Bookbird promotes lofty visions and high ideals. But these aspirations need at the same time to be grounded in reality. "Bookworm" and, perhaps, "Book-tortoise" can teach us something too, I believe. We need the bird's eye view but also the closeup, the snout to the ground. Wings are great, but so is legwork, and slow and steady work. If only Tortoise had remembered that! On the cover of this issue of Bookbird we see Piet Grobler's drastic and colorful illustration of Tortoise – out of his element – falling towards earth.

In this issue Beverley Naidoo writes about why and how she became a writer, but also why and how children's books matter. It is from her book of retellings of Aesop's fables that we have picked the cover. From another angle Steven Withrow discusses the hows and whys of translation. The work of translation is often overlooked, which is a pity; without translations all countries and languages – even the biggest and most widely dispersed – would be poorer. Translation makes it possible to connect with peoples and cultures all over the world. One of the featured articles, Lisa Chu Shen's "Translation, Children's Literature, and Lu Xun's Intellectual Struggles," brings up one such case. Moreover, besides the topic of translation there is also a geographic connection here to two other China-themed texts in this issue. Xu Xu writes about "The Image of China in Red Scarf Girl: Promoting International Understanding or Reinforcing Western Hegemony?" And Qi Tongwei contributes with a Letter: "Traditional Culture in Children's Fictions in China after 1980s." Speaking of geographical connections, a very specific application of geography – or should I say cartography – and children's books is demonstrated in Jochen Weber's contribution – "Around the world in 70 maps" – an article based on an exhibition displayed by the International Youth Library. The map is a way of figuring and making sense of the world. And although maps are common in children's books, and fulfill various purposes, the study of this book feature has long been neglected. Many other things can of course be found in this Beautiful Bookbird, such as reviews and postcards, as well as the fantastically named article "Faithful Frogs and Titillated Toads" by Victoria Tedeschi and, perhaps, a more down to earth presentation called "Ghana Libraries Celebrate 25 Years" by Deborah Cowley.

But, certainly, nothing could be more down to earth than Piet Grobler's plummeting tortoise on the cover of this Bookbird.

Bookbird can be read on-line through Project Muse.
To subscribe, please fill out this form. More information on: IBBY's website.

Secrets d'auteurs [Authors' secrets]

Which path does one follow to become an author of children's books? What are an author's motivations and desires when writing for a reader who is not yet an adult? Does addressing this special reader imply certain responsabilities? How does one deal with the strange frontier that separates children's literature from adult literature? 22 authors answer these questions in 22 exciting interviews, thus revealing the making of children's literature, each in his own way.

At the end of the volume, a practical notebook deals with how to welcome an author, how to meet one's readers, how to organize writing workshops, e-meetings... A guidebook for all the book mediators!

The interviewed authors are: Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod - Jeanne Benameur - Anne-Laure Bondoux - Shaïne Cassim - Fabrice Colin - Vincent Cuvellier - Valérie Dayre - Agnès Desarthe - Marie Desplechin - Anne Fine - Timothée de Fombelle - Bernard Friot - Johan Heliot - Christophe Honoré - Bart Moeyaert - Michael Morpurgo - Jean-Claude Mourlevat - Marie-Aude Murail - Mikaël Ollivier - Xavier-Laurent Petit - François Place - Karin Serres.

Secrets d'auteurs - La Revue des livres pour enfants, hors-série n°2, 160 pages, Paris, 2015. 15 €

Upcoming events

March 2016 - April 2016


17 to 20 March 2016

Livre Paris (Paris Book fair, Porte de Versailles, France)

Guest of Honour: South Korea

For more information : http://www.salondulivreparis.com/

21 March 2016

17e journée des livres en v.o. : la Belgique / 16th seminar on Books in the original version: Belgium
(French National Library, Paris, France)

Its numerous creators and different linguistic communities make Belgium a very interesting neighbour that deserves to be better known by the French. This annual one day seminar promotes children's literature and the editorial production of a country. We will meet authors, illustrators, members of the Belgian book world who will talk about their production and its readers.

This seminar is organized by IBBY France in close collaboration with the two Branches of IBBY Belgium.

More information on : http://lajoieparleslivres.bnf.fr




4 to 7 April 2016

Bologna International Children's Book Fair (Bologna, Italy)

Guest of Honour: Germany

For more information : http://www.bookfair.bolognafiere.it/en/home/878.html


Ana Mª Cendán Doce (IBBY Spain)
Hasmig Chahinian (IBBY France)
Eva Devos (IBBY Belgium - Flemish Branch)
Carolin Farbmacher (IBBY Germany)
Ferelith Hordon (IBBY UK)
Zoltán Jeney (IBBY Hungary)
Tülin Kozikoğlu (IBBY Turkey)
Liz Page (IBBY)
Björn Sundmark (Bookbird)
Arndís Þórarinsdóttir (IBBY Iceland)
Erik Titusson (IBBY Sweden)
Natacha Wallez (IBBY Belgium - French-speaking Branch)

 How to subscribe

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