IBBY Honour List

IBBY Honour list

The IBBY Honour List is a biennial selection of outstanding, recently published books, honouring writers, illustrators and translators from IBBY member countries. The IBBY Honour List, established in 1956, is one of the effective ways of furthering IBBY’s objective of encouraging international understanding through children’s literature.

Seven parallel sets of the books circulate around the world at exhibitions during conferences and book fairs. Permanent collections of the IBBY Honour List books are kept at the International Youth Library in Munich, the Swiss Institute for Child and Youth Media in Zurich, Bibiana Research Collection in Bratislava, at IBBY in Tokyo and Northwestern University Library at Evanston, Illinois.

Titles are selected by each national section of IBBY, who are invited to select books characteristic of their country and suitable to recommend for publication in different languages. One book can be nominated for each of the three categories: writing, illustration and translation. Books for consideration should have been published within three years of nomination.

An English-language book catalogue is produced and translated into several languages.

IBBY Honour List 2018

In 2018, IBBY UK selected the following books for inclusion in the Honour List:

Writing: Tender Earth, written by Sita Brahmachari (Macmillan Children’s Books, 2017)

Tender Earth is a richly textured story of personal growth and political awareness with a cast of characters reflecting the diversity of UK society and described by Amnesty International UK as illuminating the importance of equality, friendship and solidarity.

Illustration: I Am Henry Finch, illustrated by Viviane Schwarz, written by Alexis Deacon (Walker Books, 2016)

I am Henry Finch is a story of developing self-awareness using a deceptively simple technique described here by Schwarz: ‘I want the images to retain obvious signs of how they were made. If children realise early that humans make pictures, and that drawing is not some kind of super skilled truth-photography they will also learn to question pictures. Questioning is the first step to discussion, and to working things out for yourself.’

Translation: Wildwitch Wildfire, translated by Charlotte Barslund from Danish, written by Lene Kaaberbol (Pushkin Children’s Books, 2016)

Wildwitch Wildfire is a fast-paced and beautifully illustrated narrative about a young girl’s surprising discovery that she has inherited the power to be a ‘wildwitch’, a power that means she can, if trained, communicate with the animals of the forest. It is an elegant translation.

All three nominated books explore issues that are relevant to IBBY’s overall aims.

IBBY Honour List 2016

In 2016, IBBY UK selected the following books for inclusion in the Honour List:
Writing: Phoenix, written by S.F. Said, illustrated by Dave McKean (Hardback David Fickling Books, 2013; paperback Corgi Random House, 2014)

Read S.F. Said’s blog on the Guardian

Illustration: The Promise, illustrated by Laura Carlin, written by Nicola Davies (Walker Books, 2013)

Translation: Anton and Piranha, translated by Chantal Wright, written by Milena Baisch (Andersen Press, 2013)

All three nominated books explore issues that are relevant to IBBY’s overall aims. Phoenix skilfully integrates comments about our contemporary world – on war and peace, prejudice, borders and barriers to migration, political and moral questions – into a fast-paced and exciting science fiction narrative.

The Promise locates its strong environmental message within a worldwide context and offers a message of hope based on individual activism.

Anton and Piranha explores issues of friendship and fitting in with the lightest of humorous touches in a delightful translation.

Further information about the IBBY Honour List programme can be found here.

Previous Honour Lists

All Honour List catalogues can be downloaded from the IBBY website.

And a full back catalogue from the IBBY Archives is available here.

IBBY Honour List on tour

IBBY UK organises a touring exhibition of the Illustration section of the Honour List every two years to showcase the best in children’s publishing across the world.

Read more about the IBBY Honour List on tour

If you are interested in hosting the books, please contact Sue Mansfield.

About IBBY

The International Board on Books for Young People is a unique international alliance of everyone interested in children’s literature: academics, librarians, writers, illustrators, publishers, teachers, literacy workers, booksellers, parents and others.

Registered Office: 71 Addiscombe Court Road, Croydon, CR0 6TT
The IBBY UK Section is a Company Limited by Guarantee: Company number 7892957; Registered Charity number 1145999.
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