International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) has been celebrated by The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) on 2 April every year since 1967 to inspire a love of reading and draw attention to children’s books globally.
Each year a different National Section of IBBY takes the role of international sponsor of ICBD. For International Children’s Book Day 2022, Canada is the sponsoring host. This role involves picking a theme, inviting a well-known author to write a message to children everywhere, and a well-known illustrator to design a poster to promote books and reading. Promotions take place via the media, in schools, and in public libraries and are often linked to other children’s books events, writing competitions and book awards.
IBBY and International Children’s Book Day promote children’s books worldwide
IBBY is a non-profit organisation that represents an international network of people 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
- to protect and uphold the Rights of the Child according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
IBBY is committed to the principles of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the United Nations (UN) in 1990. One of the UN’s main proclamations is the right of the child to a general education and direct access to information.
Since its foundation in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1953, IBBY has expanded to comprise 80 National Sections around the world. It represents countries with well-developed book publishing and literacy programmes as well as those with a few dedicated professionals pioneering children’s book publishing and promotion. Members include authors and illustrators, publishers and editors, translators, journalists and critics, teachers, university professors and students, librarians and booksellers, social workers and parents.
IBBY cooperates with many international organisations and children’s book institutions. It also works closely with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and the Frankfurt Book Fair, where it distributes information about its activities and awards.
The Hans Christian Andersen Award (HCA) – the most prestigious award in children’s literature – is presented biennially by IBBY to an author and an illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature. This international award, comprising a gold medal and diploma, is given every two years by IBBY and is sponsored by Nami Island Inc, in the Republic of Korea.
This year’s winner of the HCA Author Award is French author, Marie-Aude Murail, who has written nearly a hundred books for children and young adults and been translated into 27 languages. Murail is committed to children’s causes and their reading. Her best-known book, Oh Boy!, tells the story of Simeon, Morgane and Venise, who are orphaned siblings looking to leave their foster home and find a family themselves.
IBBY in the UK
IBBY UK organises several events each year, including a programme of events at The London Book Fair and its main yearly event, the IBBY UK/NCRCL Annual Conference, which has been postponed for a few years due to COVID-19. Instead, IBBY has held online events around several themes, including language in children’s books, books to support a multilingual society and wordless books. IBBY UK runs a blog of interviews with publishers, authors and illustrators.
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Banner image and top inset image courtesy of www.ibby-canada.org