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.
“I am immensely proud that Tender Earth has received this IBBY Honour in the Novel category. IBBY is such an important force for good in our world today. It offers children and educators a window into the wide world, helps them to navigate how we are different and how we are connected through our common humanity. Its mission now must feel very close to that spirit of unity from which it was founded – to offer children and young people an expansive view of the world through international stories.”
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.’
Viviane said of her nomination:
“IBBY is doing invaluable work worldwide promoting literacy and an early love of books in an inclusive, thoughtful and passionate way. To be on their Honour list representing the UK as an illustrator means the world to me – to know that I Am Henry Finch will go in the permanent IBBY collection, telling a story of thinking in times of great noise, and resisting in times of great trouble, makes me proud.”
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.
“The IBBY Honours List recognises the importance of translated children’s books to further its objective of encouraging international understanding. Translators make the best of children’s fiction worldwide open to a much larger audience and I’m delighted that Wildwitch has been chosen for the 2018 IBBY Honours List and will be included in the permanent IBBY collection.”
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.
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.