Mingzhou Zhang

IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award 2012 Presentation

IBBY Asahi Laudatio 2012

Dear guests, dear IBBY friends, dear Asahi Shimbun representatives

Good evening!

The IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award was initiated by the International Board on Books for Young People and is sponsored by the Japanese newspaper company, the Asahi Shimbun.  It is presented every two years to two projects, run by groups or institutions that are judged to be making a lasting contribution to reading promotion for children and young people.

Seventeen projects were nominated for the 2012 Award, making it a difficult task for the jury to select just two winners, as all the projects were of great merit and fulfilled IBBY’s Mission Statement.  Every project targeted children who live in disadvantageous circumstances with little or no access to books. They are all really Reading Promotion Projects!

The projects nominated for the 2012 IBBY-Asahi Award were:

1. Abuelas Cuentacuentos – Grandmother Storytelling Programme, Argentina, proposed by IBBY Argentina

2. "New Education” Kids’ Reading Promotion Plan, China, proposed by IBBY China

3. SIPAR, Cambodia, proposed by IBBY France and IBBY Switzerland Room to Read, proposed by IBBY Germany

4. Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation and Library, Pireaus, proposed by IBBY Greece

5. PaanPoee Vachanalay, Pune, proposed by IBBY India

6. Give us Books, Give us Wings, Iran, proposed by IBBY Iran

7. Nati per Leggere / Born to Read, Italy, proposed by IBBY Italy

8. Sod Nomun / Nomadic library, Mongolia, proposed by IBBY Mongolia

9. Kelompok Pencinta Bacaan Anak / Society for the Advancement of Children's Literature, Indonesia, proposed by IBBY Netherlands

10. Institución Educativa Parroquial Cristina Beatriz, Lima, proposed by IBBY Peru

11. Slovene Reading Badge: Crossing   Boundaries to All Kinds of Minorities, proposed by IBBY Slovenia

12. Llibre Obert, Spain, proposed by IBBY Spain

13. White Elephant / Domrei Sor, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, proposed by IBBY Sweden

14. Book Aid International: Book Corners, Kenya and Tanzania, proposed by IBBY UK

15. Dagdag Dunong Project, Manila, Philippines. proposed by IBBY USA

16. LubutoLibrary, Zambia, proposed by IBBY USA and IBBY Zambia.

After intensive discussions, the jury made its choice from these seventeen projects and I announced the two winning projects in March this year at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.  The winners of IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Awards for 2012 were Abuelas Cuentacuentos – The Grandmother Storytelling Programme from Argentina and SIPAR from Cambodia.

The Grandmother's Storytelling Programme in Argentina is organized by the Mempo Giardinelli Foundation and engages older persons who like to read stories to children. The Foundation trains volunteers and organizes programmes in many schools in the metropolitan area of the city of Resistencia in north-eastern Argentina.  

This programme promotes reading by introducing literature to thousands of the poorest children and has created opportunities for exchanges across generations.  The volunteers, mainly unemployed women between the ages of 50 and 70, have found that this programme is a new and productive way of using their time and their capacity to give affection through their new role of storyteller.

The project impressed the jury by its simple and original approach to reading promotion, it is easy to replicate and is sustainable over a long period.  The promotion of intergeneration interaction is another aspect that gives it effective and emotional dimensions that are beneficial to both the children and the grandmothers.

SIPAR began as a Franco/Cambodian association in 1982 to help Cambodian refugees living on the Cambodian/Thai border during the Khmer Rouge regime.  When the government fell, SIPAR helped to rebuild the educational network.  From 1993 to 2011 more than 1,000 librarians were trained in the SIPAR workshops.  Recently the Cambodian Ministry of Education has taken over the network.

By 2000, had SIPAR started running training workshops for publishing, writing and illustration, mostly for children’s books.  Today, SIPAR has a small publishing department that is run by Cambodians, which has published over 70 titles, and printed thousands of free copies for the 200 SIPAR libraries and the students at the teacher training colleges for primary schools.

The Jury was impressed by the work done over the last twenty years, as well as by the long-term training aspect of SIPAR that will build a book culture and thus answer a very big need for literacy in Cambodia

On behalf of IBBY, I warmly congratulate these two outstanding projects for their creative and effective approaches to helping children enter the world of books and reading.

I am honoured to introduce Mr Sawamura, the head of the European bureau of the Asahi Shimbun, who will say a few words before presenting the award and prize money of US$ 10,000 to the representatives of each winning project.

(Mr Sawamura says a few words)

I would like to invite Mrs Natalia Porta Lopez and Mr Mempo Giardinelli to come forward to receive the 2012 IBBY Asahi Reading Promotion Award on behalf of the Abuelas Cuentacuentos.

Now, please welcome Ms Socheata Huot and Mr Sothik Hok as they receive the 2012 IBBY Asahi Reading Promotion Award on behalf of SIPAR.

(Presentation process, picture etc.  all go to sit down)

Since 1988 the IBBY Asahi Reading Promotion Award has been presented to 25 projects from 22 countries.  IBBY deeply appreciates the support and vision of the Asahi Shimbun, which has collaborated with IBBY in this programme for so long and by doing so has helped to give children everywhere hope for the future.  Every child has the right to read and enjoy a wide selection of books that will bring them joy.   Please join with me in showing our great appreciation to the Asahi Shimbun for their continued generosity towards to children's reading!  Thank you so much!

May I introduce and warmly thank the members of the 2012 IBBY Asahi Reading Promotion Award Jury, who worked so hard to identify these two deserving projects as recipients of the 2012 Award.  Please stand as I say your names: Marilar Aleixandre from Spain, Hasmig Chahinian from France, Wally de Doncker from Belgium, Jehan Helou from Palestine and Kiyoko Matsuoka from Japan. I am proud of you and thank you all so much!

There are still many problems in this world between countries and different ideologies, but IBBY is an amazing organization that brings children and books together by promoting international understanding through children's books.  This is a beautiful goal that is shared by many friends, including you and me and I truly believe that through our joint efforts, more and more children in every corner on the earth will have more and more access to books and through these books there will be better international understanding and finally there will be a more peaceful and better world to live in.

I have a vision that beside every child, whether they are black, white, yellow or brown, whether they live in a city or in the countryside, in the mountains or on the plains, whether they are rich or poor, healthy or sick, disabled or able-bodied, I see one of you: a parent, teacher, librarian, author, illustrator, journalist, and so on, building bridges between children and books, so insistently and so beautifully! At this moment, we must also give our deepest respect to everyone who has been promoting reading for generations after generations across the globe.

Thank you.

Now I invite our winners to return to the stage and share their work with you.


Chair of 2012 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award Jury

Mingzhou Zhang

London, UK

23 August 2012