IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award 2003

The IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award, initiated by IBBY and supported by the Japanese newspaper company Asahi Shimbun, is given annually to a group or an institution that through its activities has made a lasting contribution to reading programmes for children and young people. This year, the prize of US$10'000 and a diploma was presented to the representative of the "Sister Libraries" project, Gaby Vallejo from Cochabamba, Bolivia, during the Bologna Children's Book Fair, on 2 April 2003. This reading and writing programme is sponsored by the Pedagogical Experiences Workshop in cooperation with IBBY Bolivia and the Library Science Programme of Appalachian State University in the USA. This programme services 800 children per year, providing a library and special book events, run by volunteer teachers, that engage children in reading and writing. The children come from some of the city's poorest neighbourhoods; many are children of prisoners or of women who sell in the open markets of Cochabamba. The programme has been operating since 1980 and hopes to train more volunteers and to establish a permanent locale for its library.

Presentation of the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award 2003 to the "Sister Libraries Project" of Cochabamba, Bolivia. From left: Jury President Loty Petrovits; project coordinators Linda Veltze of the Appalachian State University and Gaby Vallejo of Cochabamba; the Asahi Shimbun Rome Bureau Chief Syuhei Hayashi.

A special commendation by the Jury was given to the "Reach Out and Read" programme of Greater Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Created by pediatrician Dr. Robert Needlman, the programme currently involves 12 hospital-based and community clinics serving low-income children in Cleveland. Pediatricians in the programme give each child, beginning at the age of six months and lasting until they are five years old, a new picture book during each scheduled office visit (every six months) and discuss with the parents the importance of reading to their children. Volunteers read to the children while they are in the waiting room, building interest in books and modelling reading behaviour for the parents.

The other nominated projects were

  • "Hope for the Future" project of the MIGJENI Group, proposed by IBBY Albania
  • The Parent-Child Mother Goose Program, proposed by IBBY Canada
  • Reading Books for Ten Minutes out of Class Every Day by the News and Magazine Workers Association for Chinese Children, proposed by IBBY China
  • Nordic Centre for Children's Literature, a Chilean-Danish co-project, proposed by IBBY Denmark
  • Ein Bücherbus in Nicaragua/A Book Bus in Nicaragua, a Nicaraguan- German co-project, proposed by IBBY Netherlands
  • Club du livre et de lecture pour jeunes ruraux/Caravane Civique/Reading Club and Book Club for Young People in Rural Areas in Morocco, proposed by IBBY Switzerland

The 2003 Jury members were

Loty Petrovits (Greece), chairperson • Joan Glazer (United States) • Xosé Antonio Neira Cruz (Spain) • Gudlaug Richter (Iceland) • Elizabeth Serra (Brazil) • Nilima Sinha (India)