IBBY UK Chair’s Report April 2019 – end March 2020
These are strange times to be writing an annual report on our IBBY UK activities as the year has clearly been divided into a pre- and post- Covid state. But I will try here to reflect on some of our achievements during the year, which has been my sixth year as Chair of IBBY UK. Our key aims remain the same: to represent the UK children’s books world internationally and the international world of children’s books within the UK. It is essential going forward to feel part of a worldwide community as we all have so much to learn from each other.
We are grateful to the organisations and publishers who support our work. These include publishers who send their review copies and multiple copies of books for awards; CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education) and Islington Libraries for the use of their rooms for meetings; and to the universities and book organisations who have developed programmes using our touring exhibitions.
We are also grateful to our UK committee members who are all volunteers and each take a lead on specific areas. This includes nominations for the various awards, working on events and the website, producing IBBYLink and of course managing the finances and the membership, a role which is often overlooked and which Sue Mansfield carries out so efficiently.
More detailed information about all items mentioned in this report is available on our IBBY UK website or on the IBBY website.
IBBY Executive Committee
Sophie Hallam was elected to the IBBY Executive Committee (EC) in September 2018. Since joining the EC, Sophie has supported the development of networks within Sub-Saharan Africa and the UK through meeting with IBBY’s national sections at the 5th regional conference in Accra, Ghana, as well as supporting an illustration workshop with Ken Wilson-Max in collaboration with the British Council. Sophie attended IBBY’s Asia/Oceania Regional conference in China where she was also part of the Reading Promotion Award Jury. Sophie is working collaboratively with fellow IBBY members Carole Bloch and Christian Ngnaoussi Elongue to develop an IBBY Africa website for national sections to promote books and reading in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has also been supporting IBBY International’s social media promoting IBBY’s awards via Twitter. There will be a re-election in September 2020.
1. Promoting the work of IBBY and international links
IBBY produces a number of resources lists based on nominations from its 80 plus member countries. These are, therefore, key guides to children’s publishing around the world and are available on the IBBY website. Most notable of these are the Honour List, the Silent Books List and the Outstanding Books for Children with Disabilities List.
Outstanding Books for Children with Disabilities List
We are working on the nominations for the 2021 list, which have to be submitted in August this year.
IBBY Honour List
Our nominations for the 2020 Honour List are Catherine Johnson for Freedom (Scholastic, 2018), Chris Naylor-Ballesteros for The Suitcase (Nosy Crow, 2019) and Denise Muir for her translation from the Italian of Paola Peretti’s The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree (Hot Key Books, 2018). We hope we will be able to hold an online event with them later in the year.
This year’s programme saw the 2018 Honour List collection of illustrated books visit 6 sites over the Spring and Summer of 2019. The 2017 Silent Book collection arrived in the UK in January 2020 and visited 3 different organisations before it became necessary to curtail the tour because of the coronavirus pandemic. Blogs about users’ experiences in a number of different locations have been added to the website and make for inspirational reading. Plans for a continuation of the touring programme, including the 2019 Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities will be picked up again as soon as it becomes possible.
As we reported last year, we did a considerable amount of work on an Arts Council submission to support and develop this programme. Reluctantly in the end we had to agree that the possible project, though very exciting, was beyond our current capacity.
Nominating UK authors and writers for the various UK and international awards is one of the major aspects of our work and we try to involve members as much as possible in the nomination process. In the last year we have made nominations for:
Book Trust Lifetime Achievement Award
Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
Hans Christian Andersen Awards 2020
Our UK nominations were John Agard and Helen Oxenbury. The submission portfolios are available on our website at https://www.ibby.org.uk/awards/hanschristian-andersen-awards/ and are a powerful statement of their respective work. Unfortunately they were not successful but we thank them for their participation. We had a very successful and well-attended event with John at the Little Angel Theatre in November where we celebrated his birthday, his work with the Little Angel, and this nomination with a performance of Roll Over Atlantic.
The Awards were won by Jacqueline Woodson from the USA as Author and Albertine of Switzerland for Illustrator.
Carnegie and Greenaway Awards
This year again we were invited to submit at the longlist stage and nominated Mum’s Jumper by Jayde Perkins (Book Island) and Can you see me? by Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott (Scholastic).
Bratislava Illustration Biennale 2019
IBBY UK is the joint nominating bodies for BIB in collaboration with the International Centre for the Picture Book in Society at the University of Worcester University. Tobias Hickey and Pam Dix were invited to attend the opening ceremony, where sadly none of the UK entrants were successful, though David Fickling Books received an honourable mention for Pam Smy’s Thornhill.
IBBY Asahi Reading Promotion Award
We nominated Coram Beanstalk again for this year but they were unfortunately not successful.
3. Events and Conference
Bologna Children’s Book Fair was attended by many IBBY UK members. The biennial IBBY Europe conference was held on the last day of the Fair on the subject of Languages in Europe: children reading in a multilingual environment, and IBBY UK were very involved in the organization of this. The proceedings can be found on the IBBY Europe website.
Our AGM was held on 24 June 2019 at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education. It was a very well attended session at which Caroline Lawrence gave an excellent talk on diversity in Roman London and intrigued us with the accounts of the research which informs her novels, in particular her latest The Time Travel Diaries. All of our members had an opportunity to see CLPE’s new library.
The Annual IBBY / NCRCL conference was this year held also held at CLPE on 9 November 2019 on the theme of A world of information: children’s non-fiction books in a digital age. As usual the conference included a mixture of academic speakers and writers and illustrators and the topic attracted a wide audience.
As part of the process of building our networks and profile in the UK we attend meetings and events to promote and represent the work of IBBY.
4. Website, newsletter and IBBYLink
Work on the website and social media has continued during the year as this is one of our main ways of keeping members up to date. Both the website and the journal include book reviews and we are always looking to add to our team of reviewers and indeed to our team of volunteers who work on the website.
Our journal IBBYLink is produced three times per year and this year’s issues have been on Hobbies and Crafts (from the 2018 conference), Music, and A sense of Place: Scotland.
5. IBBY Christmas Card
The 2019 Christmas card was provided by BIB nominee Poonam Mistry from You’re safe with me by Chitra Soundar & Poonam Mistry, reproduced by permission of Lantana Publishing.
We now have a general greeting card – Rosalind Beardshaw from Lulu loves the Library, reproduced by permission of AlannaMax.
Copies of these and our older cards are available for sale through the website.
6. IBBY UK committee and changes
This year’s committee members were Susan Bailes, Rosamund Bird, Rebecca Butler, Pam Dix, Sophie Hallam, Jennifer Harding, Ferelith Hordon, Lina Iordanaki, Karenanne Knight, Ann Lazim, Sue Mansfield, Liza Miller, Carol Thompson and Ken Wilson-Max.
There are always opportunities for members to join the committee or volunteer to help with various projects.
Cancelled events from our schedules
Bologna 2020 and London Book Fair 2020
Both important networking events in our calendar were cancelled.
IBBY Congress, Moscow, 2020
This has been postponed until September 2021
IBBY Annual Conference 2020
We have decided against planning a conference in November because of the general uncertainties around future events.
Pam Dix, Chair, May 2020