‘More and more clearly, I came to realise that I must not look backward, but to the future, and … begin with children.’
Jella Lepman’s faith in children to shape a more peaceful, tolerant world was borne out this week, more than fifty years after she wrote those words in A Bridge of Children’s Books. Two IBBY-inspired workshops in counties Mayo and Kerry saw children aged between seven and eleven founding new countries and exploring true heroism.
In Nation Creation, they mapped and named their ideal countries; laid down laws; wrote national anthems, and invented national sports and holidays. Laws included the banning of fossil fuels, compulsory kindness and the obligatory welcome of immigrants.
In the second workshop, My Handbook of Heroes, young participants imagined themselves as superheroes. As well as the usual powers – strength, speed and flying – one child boasted super-kindness and another super-listening. They founded a superschool where the subjects included Modesty and How to Handle Your Superpower for Good. And a list of their most heroic qualities featured honesty, forgiveness, humour and standing up for friends.
‘Something strange happens when you close your eyes. Suddenly you are in a totally different world, a place of endless breadth and depth … and there an ultimate and genuine freedom begins, transforming prisons into houses with open doors.’
We invite you to enjoy the presentation made at the 36th IBBY International Congress held in Athens, Greece.
The Hans Christian Andersen Award is the highest international distinction given to authors and illustrators of books for young people. Given every other year by IBBY, the Hans Christian Andersen Awards recognize lifelong achievement and are given to an author and an illustrator whose complete works have made an important and lasting contribution to literature for young people.
The following were selected to serve as members of the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury under the guidance of Jury President Junko Yokota (Evanston, IL, USA):
Former IBBY Vice President Elda Nogueira (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and IBBY Executive Director Liz Page (Basel, Switzerland) are ex officio Jury members.
For more information about the IBBY Hans Christian Andersen Award, the IBBY programme and current projects please visit the IBBY website at: http://www.ibby.org
Lots of noise around the Silent Books this week. In two workshops in County Clare, Syrian children brought their parents to explore the library’s set of wordless picture books from around the world. We started with a group story, using props to create characters and plots, including magic conkers that granted wishes and cats that jumped inside a book.
Each child then chose a silent book, explaining why the cover had caught their eye and guessing at the story inside. With their parents, whose English was more limited, they ‘read’ the book in a mixture of Arabic and English. Through questions and wonderings, everyone entered into the stories and beyond, imagining prequels and sequels, or using the illustrations to weave more strands into the story.
The children then took it in turns to sit on a ‘flying carpet’ in the middle of the group and tell their story to everyone. They drew pictures inspired by the books and the conversations around them.
A brilliant reminder of the unique delight and intimacy that a book unhindered by words can bring.
We had an unforgettable midnight tour of the new Greek National Library during the Athens Congress with our wonderful spontaneous tour guide Sofi Gilda of IBBY Greece. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre library was alive in the darkness with readers, browsers, students drinking coffee and chatting amid the halls and shelves and walkways of this state-of-the-art work of art.
There must be so many beautiful, creative libraries and library services in IBBY countries around the world. Two of Ireland’s treasures are the 18th Century Long Room at Trinity College Dublin and the Marsh Library a few blocks away. The Long Room is a Hogwarts-worthy wonder lined with marble busts of great philosophers and writers.
Marsh’s Library, beside St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin is Ireland’s first public library dating from the 17th Century. The interior is beautifully preserved with oak shelves and three ‘cages’ in which scholars were locked to protect the books, complete with a skull on their desk to remind them of their mortality. A serious business, reading …
A warm welcome from IBBY Ireland to Europe’s new section, IBBY Albania.
Looking for books in a different language? The IBBY Europe website https://www.ibby-europe.org/ promotes books in European languages. To find out how to use the website to add new books and replace those out of print, contact Hasmig Chahinian at firstname.lastname@example.org).
The European Newsletter: October 15 is the deadline for sending your news and pictures for the next edition. For more details, contact Hasmig at the above email.
The IBBY European Conference: thanks to the support of the Bologna Children's Book Fair and IBBY Italy, the second regional Conference will be held in Bologna on 4 April 2019. The conference theme is Languages in Europe, supporting the right of every child to access books in his/her own language. As well as exploring theories of language learning, speakers and participants will share experiences and ways for national sections to increase the availability of books in different languages. All ideas and suggestions for speakers are welcome. Please contact email@example.com
The organising committee are: Doris Breitmoser, Hasmig Chahinian, Eva Devos, Pam Dix, Sabine Fuchs, Deborah Soria, David Tolin.