What is IBBY – International Board on Books for Young People
IBBY is a non-profit organization representing an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together.
Its Mission is:
- To promote international understanding through children’s books
- To give children everywhere the opportunity to have access to books with high literary and artistic standards
- To encourage the publication and distribution of quality children’s books, especially in developing countries
- To provide support and training for those involved with children and children’s literature
- To stimulate research and scholarly works in the field of children’s literature
IBBY Structure and Organization
Founded in Zurich, Switzerland in 1953, IBBY is now composed of more than 65 National Sections worldwide. IBBY represents countries with well-developed book production as well as other countries with only a few dedicated professionals who are doing pioneer work in children’s book publishing and promotion.
The National Sections are organized in different ways and operate on national, regional or international levels. Members of the National Sections include writers, illustrators, publishers, editors, journalists, critics, translators, educators, academics, university students, librarian and booksellers, social workers, and parents. In countries with no National Section, individual membership in IBBY is possible.
IBBY’s policies and programs are determined from its Executive Committee: ten people from different countries and a President, elected biennially by the National Sections at a General Assembly during the IBBY congresses. They work on a voluntary basis. The annual dues from the National Sections are IBBY’s only source of income. Independent financing is required to support its activities. IBBY’s management is conducted from its Secretariat, which is based in Basel, Switzerland.
As a non-governmental organization with an official presence in UNESCO and UNICEF, IBBY has a policy-making role as an advocate of children’s books. IBBY is committed to the principles of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the United Nations in 1990. One of its main proclamations is the right of the child to a general education and to direct access to information. Thanks to IBBY’s insistence, the resolution includes an appeal to all nations to promote the production and distribution of children’s books.
IBBY collaborates with many international organizations and children’s book institutions and exhibits at the International Children’s Book Fair in Bologna and other international book fairs.
Congresses are conducted biennially in different countries and are important for bringing together IBBY members from all over the world as well as other personalities involved in children’s books and reading development. The congresses are excellent occasions to make contacts, exchange ideas and open horizons. Every two years a different National Section hosts the Congress and hundreds of people get together to attend lectures, and to participate in seminars, workshops and discussions. Apart from addressing a current theme from the theoretical point of view, IBBY Congresses also serve as a frame for the General Assembly meetings, the presentation of exhibitions and the celebrations of the Hans Christian Andersen Award and the IBBY Honour List.
IBBY – Asahi Reading Promotion Award
This is a biannual award awarded to two groups or institutions whose outstanding activities have contributed enormously to the promotion of reading programs for children and young people. The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun sponsors the award. Nominations are submitted by the National Sections of IBBY and may include worldwide projects. The Award includes a diploma, and a cash amount of 10,000 U.S. dollars.
International Children’s Book Day (ICBD)
To inspire a love for reading and to call attention to children’s books, IBBY celebrates ICBD on April 2, Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, or around that date. Each year a different National Section has the opportunity to sponsor the international ICBD. It decides upon a theme and invites a prominent author from the host country to write a message to the children of the world and a well-known illustrator to design the poster. These materials are used in different ways around the world to promote books and reading.
Projects, Seminars and Workshops
IBBY and the National Sections organize seminars and workshops to help improve the professional skills of writers, illustrators, and editors of children’s books and to strengthen their cooperation with publishers and other groups with a responsibility for the production and distribution of children’s books.
IBBY Documentation Center of Books for Disabled Young People
Based in Baerum, a suburb of Oslo, Norway, the Center has built up a large international collection of books catering to children and young people with disabilities. Selected books are shown at conferences, book fairs and exhibitions.
Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature
This quarterly IBBY journal covers many sides of international children’s literature. Its contents include presentations of writers, illustrators, international children’s literature reviews, and book recommendations. Bookbird also publishes IBBY news and activities always paying special attention to reading promotion projects worldwide.