The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organisation which represents an international network of people from all over the world. IBBY UK is just one of IBBY’s 70+ national sections in countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
IBBY was established in 1953 by the visionary Jella Lepman with the aim of fostering international understanding through children’s books, following the devastation of the Second World War. Today, it is composed of 75 National Sections all over the world. It represents countries with well-developed book publishing and literacy programmes, and other countries with only a few dedicated professionals who are doing pioneering work in children’s book publishing and promotion.
IBBY is administered by a small secretariat based in Basel, Switzerland, headed by Liz Page. IBBY’s activities are financed by annual subscriptions from the National Sections and fees for entry into the international awards and lists, together with charitable funding for various projects and initiatives. Our President 2018 -2020 is Mingzhou Zhang from China.
UK delegate Sophie Hallam was elected in 2018 to serve as one of the twelve members of the IBBY Executive Committee 2016-2018. Other Executive members are from Russia, South Africa, France, Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, Lebanon, Argentina and the USA.
IBBY UK is also part of IBBY Europe with its own website and regional newsletter: www.ibby-europe.org. The website regularly updates its selection of the best books for children in European languages. IBBY Europe held its first conference on April 6 at the Bologna Book Fair: Bridging Worlds. Reaching out to Young Refugees with Books and Stories.
Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature is a journal published quarterly by IBBY. Bookbird aims to communicate new ideas to the community of readers interested in children’s books and is open to any topic in the field of international children’s literature. Other regular features include coverage of children’s literature studies and children’s literature awards around the world as well as reading promotion projects worldwide. Find out more on the IBBY International website.
International Children’s Book Day
IBBY inaugurated International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) in 1967. It is celebrated on or around Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, 2 April.
Each year a different National Section of IBBY has the opportunity to be the international sponsor of 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 a poster. These materials are used in different ways to promote books and reading. Current and past posters are available from the IBBY Secretariat. A catalogue of posters and messages that have appeared between 1967 and 2002, created on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of IBBY is also available here.
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.