Dear IBBY Europe colleagues,

Our first regional conference, "Bridging worlds: reaching out to young refugees with books and stories", took place at the Bologna Children's Book Fair on April 6. The reactions of the participants were very positive, there were a great number of exchanges, ideas shared, contacts taken... The proceedings will be posted on the IBBY Europe website and will be accessible to everyone. Don't miss Ann Lazim's article in this Newsletter. Many thanks to the organising committee members for all their hard work, to Wally De Doncker, IBBY President, and the IBBY Secretariat for their support. Special thanks must go to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair for inviting us to hold the Conference during the 2017 fair and for creating the perfect conditions for it to take place. And let's not forget David Pintor, who designed the poster!

The IBBY Europe website now includes selections of books in Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Pashto and Urdu. This selection will be continually enriched with new titles and eventually we hope to include even more children’s books, so that we can cover all languages that are spoken by children and their families in Europe. If you have proposals for books that should go in this section, send us an email.

Find out what is going on in our national sections in the Echoes from the European sections, with news from Armenia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Our IBBY Europe website will undergo some changes during the summer, so stay tuned for more information! Our Facebook page will continue informing you about what goes on in the field of children's literature and reading in Europe and everywhere in the world; so if you're still not a follower of our page, start following!

Thanks to all the contributors of this newsletter; a special thank you to Liz for proof reading, and to David Pintor, the designer of our header, who is the immensely happy father of a baby girl! Parabéns David!

Best wishes to you all!

Hasmig Chahinian

The EC in Bologna

Junko Yokota, the "official IBBY photographer", captured a moment you don't usually see, when everyone gets ready for the official picture... Thanks Junko!

At the back, from left to right: Luzmaria Stauffenegger (IBBY Secretariat), Serpil Ural (Turkey), Björn Sundmark (Bookbird Editor, Sweden), Patricia Aldana (Andersen Jury President 2018, Canada), Evelyn B. Freeman (USA), Maria Cristina Vargas (Mexico), Wally De Doncker (IBBY President, Belgium), Mingzhou Zhang (China), Ellis Vance (IBBY Treasurer, USA). Sitting, from left to right: Hasmig Chahinian (France), Liz Page (Executive Director, Switzerland), Anastasia Arkhipova (Russia), Ferelith Hordon (UK). Not in the picture: Carole Bloch (South Africa), Zohreh Ghaeni (Iran), and Sunjidmaa Jamba (Mongolia). © Junko Yokota

Bookbird: calling all editors

The current editor of Bookbird will complete his four-year term in late 2018. The new editorial term will extend from 2019 to 2022, but work will begin on the journal in early 2018. Application requirements can be downloaded here.

Bridging worlds
Reaching out to young refugees with books and stories

The first IBBY Europe conference was a positive experience with an important theme at its heart – access to books for the many refugee children escaping conflict in many parts of the world, particularly Syria at the present time. The day was a mixture of plenary presentations and opportunities to discuss ideas in smaller groups.

The day got off to a good start with Joseph O’Reilly’s contextualisation of the global position of refugees. Joseph is Head of Education Policy & Advocacy at Save the Children UK and among the statistics to which he drew our attention were the fact that over half of the world’s refugees are children and 6.7 million are of school age. Also that it is poorer countries that are receiving the largest number of refugees. The average time for displacement of a reugee from their country of origin is 27 years.

The following session on books and reading projects to support young refugees included authors Laila Koubaa (Belgium) and Neli Kodrič Filipič (Slovenia), publishers and originators of projects. Martin Gries from Book Pirates in Germany spoke about www.bilingual-picturebooks.org a website that tackles the lack of available bilingual picture books by uploading stories which can then be accessed in many languages using professional and volunteer translators to translate the text. Marloes Robijn talked about the VoorleesExpress Reading Project in the Netherlands. Sophie Giraud (Hélium) and Laurence Faron (Talents Hauts) described how 40 French publishers had come together to produce the book Eux, c’est nous (They are us) which has a message of welcome and solidarity for refugees.

In a session focusing on the work of libraries, Jochen Weber spoke about the International Youth Library and how they had been adapting IYL projects to meet different circumstances including working with young refugees in Munich where the library is located. The audience was excited and intrigued by the concept of the Ideas Box described by Muy-Cheng Peich of Bibliothèques Sans Frontières (Libraries Without Borders), which mean that multi-media educational and cultural spaces can be provided in remote rural areas.

After a lunch generously provided by the Bologna Book Fair, as was the use of the conference room for the day, we were brought back together by an inclusive short performance by storyteller Mariella Bertelli.

The Silent Books project initiated by IBBY Italia has been very influential, uniting national sections in nominating and sending wordless picture books for the use of children on the island of Lampedusa and for inclusion in the travelling exhibitions that have been put together as a result. Deborah Soria opened the session, speaking about the latest developments concerning the project. Cay Corneliusson told us about how the initiative had travelled to Sweden, resulting in the production of a handbook on how to work with silent books. Helen Limon an academic from the UK talked about her experience of visiting Lampedusa, making particular reference to using Marla Frazee’s wordless picture book The Farmer and the Clown.

Hasmig Chahinian and Eva Devos told us how the IBBY Europe website is being developed to include recommendations of books in the languages spoken by refugees – so far, Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Pashto and Urdu. IBBY sections were asked to bring books (mainly picture books) relating to the refugee situation and these were displayed. It was made clear that these books were ones that aimed to promote understanding among the indigenous children in countries receiving refugees rather than for those children themselves. I was happy to learn that these are going to be listed on the IBBY Europe website. Among those that caught my eye were Bestimmt wird alles gut by Kirsten Boie and Jan Birck, a dual language book in Arabic and German, The Journey by Francesca Sanna in English, El camino de Marwan by Patricia de Arias and Laura Borràs in Spanish, De la terre à la pluie by Christian Lagrange and Akim court by Claude K. Dubois in French.

Access to information about and provision of books in languages read by refugees was an issue raised throughout the day and was something that we talked about in the discussion group in which I participated. We thought it would be good to gather information in one place about how to get hold of existing books via international booksellers and online book selling. Print on demand could be a possible partial solution as an alternative to shipping books long distances.
We talked about providing a marketplace for ideas and having platform to put up information about different initiatives so as to share and not duplicate basic information and that the IBBY Europe website could be a conduit for this information.
The discussion groups met twice during the day, giving us opportunities to build on inspiration from the talks in the plenary sessions and draw on our own experiences. Each group had participants from different countries and a variety of professions. The mix of plenary sessions and smaller groups meant that the whole day was a model of collaboration not only across Europe but also globally as people from other parts of the world attending the book fair also joined us.
I’d like to thank the main organisers of the conference – Hasmig Chahinian (France), Eva Devos (Belgium), Pam Dix (UK) and Deborah Soria (Italy) for bringing us all together for such a stimulating day and look forward to continuing collaboration.

Ann Lazim. IBBY UK

Echoes from the European sections

From Ireland

IBBY Ireland has been busy making noise about the Silent Books Exhibition these past few weeks. The collection of over 100 wordless picture books from around the world has begun a tour of the country in Ballyroan and Tallaght Library and is moving to its next temporary home in the lexIcon Library in Dún Laoghaire for the month of May. It will go to the West of Ireland, to Tralee, County Kerry, in June.

A host of events have accompanied the exhibition. Award-winning author-illustrator Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick helped launch the exhibition in the Ballyroan Library and ran a workshop around her latest book, the wordless Owl Bat Bat Owl. Debbie Thomas got children thinking about what home means to them and about how countries are created and run through her Nation Creation workshop. On 8 May, Children’s Laureate P.J. Lynch launched the exhibition in Dún Laoghaire, where the books will be used with school groups, families and at baby book clubs and story time sessions. Library staff and writer-in-residence Sarah Webb will highlight their favourite titles from the collection through podcasts and on social media. IBBY Ireland President Jane O’Hanlon will also introduce the collection to picture-book makers and enthusiasts during the When Are You Going to Write a Proper Book day on 27 May.

So far, the response to the exhibition has been brilliant with several library authorities asking to be included in a further tour and the media getting in on the action, included The Irish Times.

IBBY Ireland is very proud to have had a hand in breaking down those barriers and opening up those doors!

From Germany

2017 German Children’s Literature Award: New Special Award for Young Talents

Since 1956 the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Children's Literature Award) has been given annually to outstanding works of children's and young adult literature. It is endowed with a total of 72,000 Euros and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. The goal of the award is to strengthen children and young adults in their personal development and to offer guidance to the vast German book market. The award has been international since it was established: 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 own prize, which comprises six reading clubs from Germany. The juries nominate six titles that have been published during the previous year for each category. From those they choose the winning titles. The awards carry a value of 10,000 Euro and can be split up between authors, illustrators and translators.

This year is the first time the Special Award for New Talents will be presented. Nominees include three German authors, who published their first book in the previous year. The winner is chosen by the special award jury, that is also responsible for awarding the Special Award for Lifetime Achievement. The Special Award for New Talents is 10,000 Euro, the Special Award for Lifetime Achievement carries a value of 12,000 Euro. In the future, both Special Awards will be given alternately to German authors, illustrators and translators.

The award winners will be announced on 13 October 2017 at the traditional award ceremony during the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The award is organized by the Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur (Association for Children's and Youth Literature), the German Section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). The list of nominations for the 2017 German Children's Literature Awards may be obtained from www.djlp.jugendliteratur.org.

2017 Kranichstein Youth Literature Grants (Kranichsteiner Jugendliteratur-Stipendien)

2017 prize winners Que du Luu (© Thomas Siekmann) and Michael Sieben (© private).

Que du Luu and Michael Sieben were awarded the Kranichstein Youth Literature Grants (Kranichsteiner Jugendliteratur-Stipendien) at the Leipzig Book Fair in March 2017. The awards are given annually by the Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur/IBBY Germany and the German Literature Fund (Deutscher Literaturfonds) to two authors of young adult books whose first works are very promising, but who have not yet acclaimed recognition for them. The scholarships are endowed with 12,000 Euro each (paid over the duration of six months) and are meant to enable the authors to freely work on a book project. An independent jury chose the winners on the basis of the books in German submitted for the German Children's Literature Award. For more information: www.jugendliteratur.org.

From Spain
Galician Branch

Marilar Aleixandre joins the Royal Galician Academy

Marilar Aleixandre is a children and young adult writer and translator who has just been designated as a member of the Royal Galician Academy (institution dedicated to the Galician language).

For more information (in Galician), click here.


Carlos Casares for Galician Literature Day 2017

Carlos Casares, renowned writer and translator of Galician children and young adult literature and translator, will be the honoured writer in the Galician Literature Day 2017.

For more information (in Galician), click here.

Galician Books for Children and Young Adults

The new catalogue of Galician Books for Children and Young Adults published during the year 2016 is now available. Check all the information, covers and details of the Galician titles by downloading our catalogue here. Discover more about Galician literature at galix.org/p/english.html.

From Greece

Prizes awarded during the annual celebration for the International Children's Book Day 2017
2nd April – International Children's Book Day 2017

On the occasion of ICBD 2017, the Greek Section of IBBY had its annual celebration event at the Lillian Voudouri Great Music Library in Megaron-The Athens Concert Hall on April 1st in collaboration with The Friends of Music Society. Prizes were awarded to institutions and people who promote reading as well as creators of children and young people's literature for their distinctive writing, illustration and translation of books in 2016. The event took place under the auspices of the Municipality of Athens, the Municipality of Thessaloniki, the National Library of Greece, the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Culture as well as the reading campaign – Read and Change – which runs for the second consecutive year. The campaign has been initiated by the Association of Greek Publishers and Booksellers and (ENELVI), The Greek Section of IBBY and the Hellenic Authors' Society.

The ICBD 2017 poster was translated into Greek by the honorary member of IBBY and honorary president of IBBY Greece, Mrs. Loty Petrovits-Andrutsopulou. The poster was sponsored by Patakis Publications and was distributed to schools all around Greece and Cyprus. During our annual celebration event, the message was read both in Russian – the language it has been initially written – and Greek.

"Read & Share" books to be delivered to refugee-hosting schools

The "READ & SHARE" Reading Promotion Programme at refugee-hosting schools

The Greek Section of IBBY is implementing the "READ & SHARE" reading promotion programme for the third consecutive year. It is worth noting that during this year the "READ & SHARE" programme is being implemented at refugee-hosting schools in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs. Launching this cooperation, twenty portable libraries have been installed at refugee-hosting schools all over Greece in an effort to "bridge the worlds" among Greek and refugee children. "READ & SHARE" is based on an open library-exchange programme that functions according to a free lending system in order for children to have immediate access to books and love reading from an early age. The books come from various publishing houses or have been donated by IBBY Greece members. The books are submitted to IBBY Greece and are assessed by the different juries that have been awarding prizes for the last years.

The MP, Ms. C. Katsavria, together with Ms. Vassiliki Nika, IBBY Greece President, and Greek authors and illustrators who worked for the book From Mouth to Paper.


From Mouth to Paper - A Romani Fairytales Collection published by the Hellenic Parliament Publications

The book titled From Mouth to Paper containing fairytales from Romani's oral tradition re-written and adapted by significant children's literature authors and illustrated by important illustrators was presented during a special plenary session of the Hellenic Parliament. The publication project was coordinated by the Greek Section of IBBY while the book was published by the Hellenic Parliament Publications. During her speech at the Hellenic Parliament, Ms. Vassiliki Nika, President of IBBY Greece, pointed out the efforts IBBY makes to bridge different cultural and geographical worlds through books and stories. The plenary session was followed by a business lunch with Ms. T. Fotiou, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Social Solidarity, Ms. C. Katsavria, Member of the Parliament, and Romani representatives.

IBBY Greece at Bologna Children's Book Fair 2018

The Greek Section of IBBY attended the Bologna Children's Book Fair 2017. The 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award nominations, Vagelis Iliopoulos (for Writing) and Christos Dimos (for Illustration), were presented at the national stand of Greece in cooperation with the Hellenic Foundation for Culture. A special party was held to introduce the Greek nominees to the public.

Having completed the 'Treasure Hunt' game under the Acropolis hill.

The "READ" mission

On the occasion of the World Book Day (April 23), the Greek Section of IBBY in cooperation with the School Life and Education Museum organized an action game for children and their families. The actress, Ms. Filia Dendrinou, read Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales while volunteers-members of the Greek Section of IBBY designed and played the 'Treasure Hunt' game based on books and clues hidden at different parts of the historical centre of Athens and under the Acropolis hill. Vagelis Iliopoulos, the 2108 Hans Christian Andersen nominee for Writing and Children's Literature Ambassador participated in this significant event.

From the Czech Republic

Golden Ribbon award for the best books in Czech

On 24th April 2017, for the 25th year the authors of books for children and young adults were awarded the Golden Ribbon for the best books published in Czech language in 2016. The prestigious award was received by twelve books in twelve categories. Additionally, two publishers (Albatros and Pasparta) received a special mention. The Golden Ribbons for lifetime achievements were awarded as well.

Four juries in four categories – text, illustrations, translation and comics – chose out of almost 150 nominees. The overall level of quality was, as usual, very high and it was not easy for them to decide. The list of laureates contains some established authors such as Pavel Čech, Ivona Březinová and Renáta Fučíková, as well as new talents such as Tereza Vostradovská, Barbora Klárová, Tomáš Končinský and Patrik Antczak.

The winners of the Golden Child competition were announced also. The competition encourages children, parents and teachers to read and share their experience in imaginative ways to support reading and the relationship to literature.

The evening also marked the official opening of the exhibition of the illustrations from the shortlisted books. The exhibition will tour the Czech Republic throughout the next year.

From The Netherlands

Miffy's Creator, Dick Bruna, dies, aged 89

Picture of Dick Bruna in his studio. © Dolph Kohnstamm

Dick Bruna, creator of iconic children's character Miffy, died in the night of 16 February 2017, aged 89, in his home town of Utrecht.

Illustrator and author of 124 picture books, Bruna's career spanned 60 years. His 32 books about Miffy – the little white bunny with a round face and long pointed ears – brought global success beyond his native Holland. First published in 1955, the Miffy stories are now published in more than 50 languages, and have sold over 85 million copies worldwide. The Miffy books depict the timeless, universal idylls of childhood – days at the seaside, trips to the zoo – making them accessible to any child no matter where they are in the world.

Bruna's style of illustration – particularly Miffy's striking graphic, considered by many to be a design icon of the twentieth century – made him a household name in many parts of the globe. Inspired by Matisse, Léger and Mondrian, he always worked in 2D, using simple shapes, strong black outlines and a limited palette of primary colours. He believed each illustration should stand alone as a piece of art, yet he never lost the ability to see life through the eyes of a child. As a result, Bruna created a world of perfectly formed pictograms, instantly recognizable and adored by people of all ages. Asked to explain his success, Bruna replied: "I think it is because I spend a long time making my drawings as simple as possible, throwing lots away, before I reach that moment of recognition. What matters is reducing everything to its essence. Every shape captures the imagination, and I leave plenty of space for children's imagination." Dick Bruna was the Hans Christian Andersen Award nominee of the Dutch IBBY-section in 1998 and 2000.

A book for you

© Annelies van der Vegt.

On Saturday, 14 January 2017, an information and inspiration meeting was held concerning the project entitled "Een boek voor jou" (A book for you). The book was presented and a tour of the authors and illustrators for the benefit of refugee children was discussed. "A book for you" is an initiative of Marit Törnqvist, with the help of publishing house Em. Querido's Publishing for Children's Books, the Dutch Council for Refugees and the Dutch Foundation for Literature.

"A book for you"' contains stories and illustrations by authors and artists such as Annie M.G. Schmidt, Fiep Westendorp, Toon Tellegen, Max Velthuijs, Thé Tjong-Khing, Jacques Vriens, Paul van Loon, Bette Westera, Charlotte Dematons, Philip Hopman and Marit Törnqvist. The authors and illustrators contributed their texts/illustrations for free. The book is compiled for the benefit of the refugee children aged 4 to 12. All stories were translated to Arabic.

In January of 2017 a total of 5,000 copies of "A book for you" were distributed in refugee centers across the country. The goal is to welcome children to the Netherlands with beautiful Dutch stories, written in their own language. This way the children can get acquainted with the Dutch country and culture after arriving, hopefully finding relaxation and sharing the book with their parents. For children speaking different languages, books with no or very few words by Dutch authors were made available by the Dutch section of IBBY and Em. Querido. These were distributed simultaneously with "A book for you".

© Annelies van der Vegt.

In the spring of 2017 children's book authors and illustrators will organize activities in several refugee centers across the Netherlands. The general idea is to organize a simple workshop or other activities related to children's books and to acquaint themselves with the refugee children and their parents.

During the meeting on 14 January over ten experts working with refugee children shared their experiences with the audience. Three refugees talked about the reading environment in Syria and the situation in the refugee centers and ten-year old Hanan from Damascus read an extract from renowned Dutch children's book Jip and Janneke in Arabic. A Bosnian-Dutch musician performed several songs. The project's main subject was discussed throughout the meeting.

Marit Törnqvist: "I can hardly express how happy I am about the effort the people involved put into Saturday's meeting As a whole, the project works to improve the situation experienced by refugee children in the Netherlands. The enthusiastic support of the COA (the Dutch central organ for asylum for refugees) is a big help, it greatly increases the capacity of the project."

From Armenia

The presentation of the book 7 colors at the Bologna Book Fair 2017

From left to right: Alla Serobyan, Aleta Serobyan, Ruzan Tonoyan.

In 2015 and 2016 the Armenian National Section of IBBY, within the framework of the IBBY-Yamada programme called "The Child's Right to Become a Reader", organized and conducted a project-competition titled "The Young Adults and the Environment". The main aim of this project was to promote the development of children's literature in Armenia. During the project there were three three-day masterclasses for young Armenian writers, illustrators and translators organized.

The leader of the masterclass for writers was German writer Manfred Theisen. Klaas Verplancke, Belgian illustrator, was the leader of the masterclass for illustrators and the speaker of the masterclass for the translators was the British translator Daniel Hahn.

In the first creative phase of the project 7 writer-participants created 7 interesting stories by using their experience as well as their newly gained skills. Those stories were illustrated during the second phase of the project by 8 illustrator-participants. And in the third phase of the project the 15 translator-participants translated the resulting book into English from Armenian - 7 Colors.

The book was presented to the Armenian readers on December 10 2016, at the National Children's Library of Armenia. Wishing to present the book also to foreign readers IBBY Armenia with the support of IBBY International organized the presentation of the book 7 colors during the Bologna Book Fair on April 4, at IBBY International's stand. During the book presentation the president of IBBY Armenia Mrs. Ruzan Tonoyan presented the prehistory of the book creation. Alla Serobyan, who is the author of one of the stories titled Vasil included in the book, was also present. She told the audience about her story for young adults and answered the questions of the attendees.

We strongly believe that this book will find its readers and will promote reading development not only in Armenia but also worldwide.

Workshop for librarians
"Organizing and promoting reading among children and young adults in the libraries"

Highlighting the great role of the librarians in organizing and promoting reading among children and young adults, in 2017, IBBY Armenia with the support of IBBY Yamada Fund is intending to implement a workshop project for the Armenian librarians given by a specialist from abroad. Within the framework of this project IBBY Armenia plans to translate into Armenian and publish one foreign practical guide for librarians that will serve as a methodological guide for our librarian participants to organize and run similar workshops for other librarians. It will also serve as an important guide for our future librarians.

From France

Providing refugee and migrant children with books in their own languages:
A selection of 100 children's and young adults books in Arabic

Here is a selection of 100 books in Arabic for children and young adults published in different countries of the Arab world. It gives a panorama of a literature that has been experiencing a real boom in the past twenty years, offering quality works often awarded international prizes. Distributed by genre, in alphabetical order of title, this selection of books also includes some translations into Arabic of books originally published in other languages, with the aim of creating bridges between languages ​​and cultures. A short description of each book's content is available in French.

This selection was made in order to provide information on the best books for children and young adults in Arabic. People working with refugee or migrant children from the Arab world now have the means to provide them with books in their own language.

Presentations in English of 25 of these books are featured on the IBBY Europe website. We plan to do this for the remaining 75 books to reach the English-speaking librarians and people working with children from the Arab World.

The selection was made by the Arab World Reading Committee of the magazine Takam Tikou, which brings together professionals from different backgrounds (IBBY France / The French National Library, The Institute of the Arab World, Public libraries of the City of Paris). Download the selection in pdf.

From left to right: Nathalie Sfeir (IMA), Amina Hachimi Alaoui (Yanbow al-Kitab) and Nadia Essalmi (Yomad).

A seminar on "Children's literature in the Arab World"

The guest of honour of Livre Paris 2017 (The Paris Book Fair) was Morocco. On this occasion, the Institute of the Arab World and IBBY France organised a seminar dedicated to children's literature in the Arab World. The seminar was held on the Moroccan stand of Livre Paris 2017 on Monday, 27 March. The programme (in French) is available here.

The online journal Takam Tikou dedicated its annual dossier to Books and Reading in Morocco. Among articles and interviews with book professionals and academics in Morocco and abroad, the dossier includes a selection of the best Moroccan children's books published in the last 10 years.

From Lithuania

Together we are stronger

Established in 1953 in Switzerland, IBBY finally reached the Baltics in the last decade of the 20th century. The situation here somewhat reminiscent of Western Europe after the Second World War. Countries were tired of occupation but full on enthusiasm to cherish and disseminate children's and YA literature and guarantee that every child has access to quality books. In 1991 Lithuania was a young country that had just regained its independence and a decision to set up a local IBBY branch was taken. At that time there was one thing we had in excess and that was enthusiasm. Money for the membership fee or even at least a modest place to run activities was difficult to find.

However, the world would be a sad place if there were no true friends out there. But if one is lucky, some friends remain friends for life. The Swedish Institute paid the annual IBBY memberships fees and the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania provided premises for the new IBBY Lithuania. Ever since then we are inextricably linked with the National Library. We share books, common spaces, whereas some of the most active members of IBBY Lithuania come from the Children and Youth Literature Department. Sweden has also remained our friend. We hold joint exhibitions, seminars, conferences, host Swedish authors and have sent our specialists on study visits numerous times.

It is particularly symbolic that when the National Library was reopened after 8 years of renovation, visitors to the Children and Youth Literature Department were greeted with brightly coloured brand new premises, which sported Lithuanian and Swedish flags. A project carried out together with Swedish partners lead to launching a Room for Children, an innovative place for the young readers. It's a place for joy where one may explore books, spaces and the world or read in big comfy armchairs or find privacy a reading house. It's a place for playing with parents of grandparents, counting letters or growing a dragon egg with stories. Like other strict library rules, an alphabetical display of books is not necessary. Kids chose books by topic or cover and read on the windowsill or on the carpet. Have we guessed what children need? Come, visit us and see for yourself.

From the United Kingdom

Another active year for IBBY UK. At the moment the Collection of IBBY Honour Books for Illustration are touring the country and have been with us since Christmas. The venues that have hosted the exhibition have included Brighton, Roehampton University, The National Centre for Children's Books in Newcastle and Worcester University. We look forward to having the Silent Books Collection later in the year.

Book displays at the NCRCL.
In Lithuania.

Highlights of the past months have been a very successful event with our 2016 IBBY Honour book nominees – S.F. Said, Laura Carlin and, the translator, Chantal Wright. Then there was the Annual conference held at Roehampton University in partnership with The National Centre for Research in Children's Literature. This year the theme, Marvellous Imaginations: extending thinking through picture books, created a packed day of interesting papers exploring such ideas as empathy and how picture books could engage and encourage young readers to explore ideas and issues.

Earlier this year members of the committee were part of a cultural delegation to Lithuania as part of the preparations for the London Book Fair 2018 when the Baltic States will be the guest region.

IBBY UK was also involved in organising a couple of seminars at the London Book Fair 2017. One featured a panel of illustrators from Poland in discussion, the second, chaired by Pam Dix, Chair of IBBY UK was a conversation with illustrators from the Baltic States.

From Belgium
French-speaking Branch

The Libbylit Awards are given once a year by the French-speaking branch of IBBY Belgium. For the first time the winners were presented during Brussels Book Fair, which is the most prestigious book fair for French-speaking Belgium. The award ceremony took place on Monday, 13 March, followed by a meeting with the winners, and/or their editors. Awards for Belgian books are usually given: a French-language picture book, an early childhood picture book, a French-language novel for teenagers, a French-language novel for young readers, and the jury can also award special mentions when they wish!

The Libbylit Awards 2016 poster can be downloaded here.

 Recent publications

Creotz Ediciones presents the Spanish edition of A Bridge of Children's Books in Madrid

The first Spanish edition of A Bridge of Children's Books by Jella Lepman has arrived on the market. On May 4th, the presentation of this new edition took place at the Goethe-Institute Madrid. The event was attended by the Director of the Goethe-Institute Madrid, Reinhardt Maiworm, the Director of the Ortega-Marañón Foundation, Javier Zamora, the President of the General Council for Children and Youth Books, Sara Moreno, and the head of the publishing company Creotz, Teresa Zataraín. The children's and youth literature critic Birgit Dankert gave a lecture on Jella Lepman and her important contribution to the world of children's literature.

In her autobiography, Jella Lepman describes unpretentiously and humorously her unforgotten life's work: the foundation and development of the International Youth Library. The Spanish edition, titled as Un puente de libros infantiles and published by Creotz Ediciones (Vigo, Spain), includes an unpublished speech given by the philosopher José Ortega y Gasset in Munich 1951, after being invited by Lepman to inaugurate a congress of children's literature. The book includes an introduction by Wally De Doncker, President of IBBY, and closes with an epilogue by Christiane Raabe, Director of the International Youth Library.

Un puente de libros infantiles was first written and published in Germany 1964; in 1969 it was published in English, and after that, other editions in different languages came out. However, never before had the autobiography of this extraordinary woman been translated and published in Spanish.

Jella Lepman narrates in first person her most important projects involving children and youth literature: the inauguration of the International Youth Library in Munich 1949, the creation of IBBY in 1953 and the promotion of the Hans Christian Andersen's Award, among others.

The book opens with Jella Lepman's return to Germany from her British exile in autumn 1945 and closes with the retirement from her work for the library in 1957, when her most important projects had been consolidated. "Still in the postwar Germany that was yet mired in rubbles, Jella Lepman implemented her innovative idea of re-education, opening the children's and young people's minds to other languages and cultures through the use of books" explains Teresa Zataraín, Creotz director. "This is an exciting story about a woman with vision, who was able to contribute, by using children and youth literature, to the international understanding in a critical moment in history: her values of respect and understanding are still current nowadays".

Un puente de libros infantiles presents a carefully edited paperback book of 256 pages. After its distribution in Spain, it will be available in different countries of Latin-America.

Bookbird. Issue 55.1, 2017

Bookbird or Bookworm – or both? If the bird represents the visual – both because of its striking appearance and because of its keen eyes, surveying the land – the worm digests the letters, the words, thinking and imagining. In this issue we sometimes take the bird’s eye view, sometimes dig into the words with worm-like appetite. Picturebooks are the main focus in Penni Cotton’s article on a travelling exhibition of “Lampedusa’s Silent Books” that has been used to engage school children in the small French town of Montolieu in various ways.
Picturebooks are also featured in two of the full-length articles in this issue. Christèle Maizonniaux discusses the challenges and possibilities, linguistic as well as cultural, involved in using francophone picturebooks with Australian university students who are studying French at tertiary level. Then we have Jessica Whitelaw who discusses what she calls   “disquieting   picturebooks”:   books that address sensitive issues, or are aesthetically complex, or are politically radical. There is a great deal more of visual content in this issue, ranging from François Place’s beautiful cover image to the many picture postcards from all over the world, including a “Letter”-article by Anzhela Lebedeva on a Russian “Postcard competition.” However, far from being a “silent journal,” Bookbird is also a Bookworm. Thus, there are several texts that focus on writing and words, rather than illustrations. Beatriz Alcubierre Moya and Rodrigo Bazán Bonfil write about José Vasconcelos’ classic Mexican children’s books, while Junko Sakoi and Yoo Kyung Sung bring up a much neglected subject with their article on the stories and situation of the indigenous Ainu people (on the island of Hokkaido in Japan). Finally, in a lead to the next themed issue of Bookbird (“child authors,” issue 55.2, Spring 2017), Jenni Woodroffe writes about “Children Creating Their Own Books.” Picturebooks may be wordless, but they are never world-less. Children’s books are worlds to enter and explore. And children can enter these worlds through words or images, or make them up themselves.

Bookbird. Issue 55.2, 2017

On the cover of Bookbird 55.2 we see an early, previously unpublished illustration by Lisbeth Zwerger depicting a scene from Heinrich Hoffman’s “The Strange Child.” It is a beautiful piece of art, for sure, but it also points to the theme of this issue: child authors and illustrators. For the fairy tale miniatures by Zwerger are the fruit of a young artist, a young adult. They are from that period of life when you take the step from childhood to adulthood. Yet there is nothing immature or incomplete with these illustrations. Does it even make sense to talk about the age of an illustrator and author, as long as they have the talent and ability to write and paint as well as any of their elders? Wishing to hook you, I will let this question dangle, enticingly. Just let me say that my co-editor Peter Cumming untang­les and explores the child author theme further in his critical introduction. Moreover, the child-as-author/illustrator theme is addressed variously and expertly in the feature articles. There is Elizabeth Marshall’s and Theresa Rogers’ article on “Youth, Poetry, and Zines: Rewriting the Streets as Home,” Marija Todorova’s piece on “Children’s Voices from War Zones,” Ryan Twomey on the topic of “Maria Edge­worth’s Juvenilia,” and Jennifer Duggan’s analysis of “Youth-Authored Harry Potter Fanfiction.” In the other sections we also keep close to the theme, for instance in the section “Translators and Their Books,” where Ant O’Neill unearths some “Moominvalley Fossils” and writes about the task of translating the early comics by Tove Jansson. Finally, in the section Children and Their Books, there are, predictably, a number of texts on children’s writing and publishing: the library as a publishing hub for children, children’s book clubs, and children’s own publishing, are some of the topics raised.

Björn Sundmark

If you are not already a subscriber, details are on IBBY's website.



Nara Adjemyan (IBBY Armenia)
Ana Cendán Doce (IBBY Spain)
Valerie Coghlan (Bookbird)
Carmen Díaz (IBBY Spain - Galician Branch)
Toin Duijx (IBBY Netherlands)
Linda Dütsch (IBBY Germany)
Petr Eliáš (IBBY Czech Republic)
Ferelith Hordon (IBBY UK)
Evangelia Kaliskami (IBBY Greece)
Ann Lazim (IBBY UK)
Inga Mitunevičiūtė (IBBY Lithuania)
Liz Page (IBBY)
Juliette Saumande (IBBY Ireland)
Björn Sundmark (Bookbird)
Natacha Wallez (IBBY Belgium, French-speaking Branch)

 How to subscribe

To subscribe to the IBBY European Newsletter, please send an e.mail to: subscribe.