IBBY UK celebrates the coming together of all those involved in children’s books: authors and illustrators, academics, librarians, teachers and publishers. Our main event is the IBBY UK/NCRCL Conference held in the autumn each year.

IBBY UK/NCRCL Annual Conference

2020 Conference

The Committee has made the decision to postpone this conference because of the uncertainty of these COVID times and because the Conference is a great deal of work for the volunteer organisers. We will work on the theme of a conference on language in children’s books, including books to support a multilingual society, wordless books and related ideas for 2021 and in the meantime hope to hold a number of online events.

Past Conferences

26th Annual IBBY UK NCRCL Conference
Saturday 9th November 2019
A World of Information: Children’s Non-Fiction Books in the Digital Age
Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, London

The date for this year’s IBBY UK/NCRCL Conference is 9 November 2019 at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education. The theme is A World of Information: Children’s Non-Fiction Books in the Digital Age.

Booking is now open: please click here to secure your place!
Regular: £85  |  Concession: £70
All tickets include lunch and refreshments.

The 2019 conference programme has been announced:

9.00 – 9.30                  Registration and coffee

9.30 – 9.45                  Welcome and IBBY News

9.45 – 10.30              Sue Walker, Reading University
Creativity, colour and collaboration: designing information books for children in the mid-twentieth century

10.30 – 11.15              Joe Sutliff Sanders, University of Cambridge, and Karen Bentall, Librarian, Oakridge Elementary School, Arlington, Virginia (USA)
Beauty in theory and truth: connecting academic approaches to non-fiction and school storytime

11.15 – 11.45              Coffee

11.45 – 12.45            Parallel Sessions

1.00 – 2.00                  Lunch

2 – 2.30                       Nicola Davies
The world into words: writing about big things for small people

2.30 – 3.30                  A panel of publishers in conversation with writers and illustrators – Thames & Hudson with Yuval Zommer, Flying Eye, Hachette Children’s Group with Neal Layton. Chaired by Liza Miller, Hachette Children’s Group
Publishing non-fiction: challenges and successes

3.30 – 4.00                  Tea

4.00 – 4.30                  Karenanne Knight, Portsmouth University
How far is far away? Where fact and fiction meet. Cartography and the information book, a Research Project.

4.30 – 5.00                  Chris Routh, Chair, Federation of Children’s Book Groups
Celebrating the best non-fiction for children: SLA Information Book Awards and National Non-fiction November


The 2018 conference explored the significance of crafts and hobbies as theme, practice, motif, educational tool and generational bridge.

Subjects explored were:

  • The historical shifts in the role and significance of these activities in childhood experience as depicted in a wide range of texts.
  • The role of crafting and hobbies in children’s fiction and in picture books.
  • The role of books in craft and hobby activities; and consider the craft dimensions of books as material objects.
  • The use of collage and textile as illustrative components, at paper-cutting and pop-up books, and at books that are themselves craft or hobby objects.

The conference included keynote presentations by well-known illustrators and craft practitioners, academics, and key figures in the children’s literature world.


The theme of the 2017 conference was Happily Ever After: The Evolution of Fairy Tales Across Time and Cultures.

  • The same fairy tales often appear across different cultures. How and why does this happen?
  • Should fairy tales be updated – or even subverted – to appeal to modern audiences?
  • How have fairy tales evolved as they’ve been retold across the centuries?

The conference included keynote presentations by writers, publishers and academics. Themes explored were:

  • variations in fairy tales across cultures
  • campfires to apps – how fairy tales have been shared across time
  • how fairy tales are viewed through a feminist lens
  • whether fairy tales are inclusive for readers of all backgrounds
  • the challenges that modern tellers of fairy tales face
  • how fairy tales can challenge established storytelling tropes
  • how to make an old story feel new

Our keynote speaker was Professor Vanessa Joosen, University of Antwerp.

Information on other past conferences will be uploaded to the website soon; please bear with us!