IBBY-Yamada 2009: France

Training workshop for illustrators of children's books

The three partners involved in this workshop in Conakry work under the coordination of the Club des Amis du Livre.  This association, which was established in 1999, works to promote reading and support publishing in Guinea, primarily in the field of children’s books.  The two other partners are Ganndal – the first publisher of children’s books in the country, and SCAC the Cultural Service of the French Embassy.  In Guinea children's literature is very young and Ganndal only began to publish children's books less than 20 years ago.  The books are in French, as in most countries in Western Africa where this is the language taught in schools.  Because there are too many different local languages in Guinea, it is not economically viable publish in any of these languages.

Although the French/Guinean network Lecture Publique supports 35 libraries throughout the country, the children only had access to some books imported from France, there was nothing about their own country or culture.  As a result, the SCAC set up the first training sessions to support local publishing for Guinean children. 

After a first series of workshops, a local publisher published 11 books written and illustrated by our artists. The aim of the workshop was to train local artists in the fundamental aspects of children’s book illustration and design, and thus supporting the creation of the best possible books for Guinean children.  After a series of workshops for writers and illustrators, held from 2003 to 2007, there are now 11 locally published books for children.  However, while the texts are good, the level of artwork was still poor.  Following a writing workshop held in June 2008, eight new texts were ready to be illustrated and published.  This IBBY-Yamada workshop gathered together the best artists and trained them to prepare the illustrations for these texts.