IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award

IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award

The IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award has been established by the Shenzhen iRead Foundation and IBBY to encourage a real commitment to the cause of reading promotion in the hope of spreading this dedication to others around the globe.

The Award will encourage further investment by individuals, organizations and governments in the promotion of children’s reading and will stimulate educational innovation, much greater access to children’s books and an enhanced profile for children’s reading promotion—key tools in global, social, economic and cultural development—all in the context of Article 17(C)) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Every two years IBBY will invite nominations from IBBY National Sections of outstanding individuals who are living at the time of their nomination. The nominees should have an exemplary record of working to promote the expansion and development of children’s reading. From the nominations the IBBY-iRead Award Jury will select two winners. The first Awards will be presented in 2020 at the 37th IBBY Congress in Moscow, Russia.

Only IBBY National Sections are eligible to nominate for the IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award. However, nominations are not restricted to the country of the nominating IBBY National Section.

Two outstanding nominees will be selected for the Award by a jury appointed by IBBY’s Executive Committee that will also include one voting member as well as one non-voting member appointed by the iRead Foundation.

The iRead Foundation has pledged 1,200,000 RMB Yuan biennially for twenty years for this important award. The two winners will each receive 200,000 RMB Yuan and, in addition, 150,000 RMB Yuan will be given to a non-profit children’s reading promotion project of their choice. The remaining funds will go towards the administration of the Award and to support the IBBY Secretariat.

The jury will identify the winning individuals by a demonstration of their commitment to exploration, innovation, and a sense of responsibility and dedication to cultivating a love of reading and competency in children, including, but not restricted to, those in resource-poor areas or areas of instability. Their work may involve: the creation and operation of outstanding reading promotion projects; effective promotion of strategies in favour of reading policies; and, advocacy of children’s right to read. All nominations will be judged on sustainability, influence, dedication to the common good, innovation and inspiration.

2022 IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award

The 2022 winners are: Zohreh Ghaeni from Iran, nominated by the IBBY sections in Canada and Iran, and Jane Kurtz from the United States nominated by USBBY. Both of these amazing women are inspiring examples of reading promoters who show us how one person can truly make a difference, especially when we work together!

Zohreh Ghaeni is a children’s literature expert, lecturer, researcher, and major reading promoter. She has worked as a teacher in rural areas of Iran, studied librarianship and information science at the Open University in Tehran and is now the co-founder and director of the Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature in Iran founded 20 years ago, which is a non-governmental and non-profit organization. In that capacity, she has directed and co-authored the publication of a ten-volume history of children’s literature in Iran, a monumental achievement. As part of the Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature in Iran, Zohreh designed and developed a reading programme that has had huge success all over Iran and Afghanistan: Read With Me. This project makes high quality books accessible to children who normally do not have access to books, such as street and working children, those living in remote and deprived areas, and those living in crisis due to unrest, natural disaster and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jane Kurtz grew up in Ethiopia and has spent the last 25 years helping to develop indigenous authors and illustrators in Ethiopia—and in multiple languages—while also establishing an infrastructure for publishing books and promoting literacy with training for teachers and librarians. Her work began in 1998 when she co-founded Ethiopia Reads and developed a strategy for starting libraries to support literacy development. In early 2016, Jane initiated a workshop in Ethiopia with artists, children and adult volunteers, which resulted in a prototype for Ready Set Go books. Created in partnership with Open Hearts Big Dreams, these books are colourful, easy-to-read, culturally appropriate, and published in English and one local language. Jane’s work with literacy addresses the challenges of multiple official languages; lack of books reflecting Ethiopian culture, history, and landscape; obstacles in the translation, publication, and distribution process; and insufficient professional opportunities for educators and librarians. With her vision and collaboration with others, she has planted the seeds of literacy all over Ethiopia.

2020 IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award

On 4th May, IBBY International announced the winners of the 2020 IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award: Marit Törnqvist from the Netherlands and Zhu Yongxin from China. Marit Törnqvist is a writer and illustrator who has developed reading programmes for children that focus not only the story, but also on the experience of reading itself and on encouraging children to narrate and illustrate their own stories. Zhu Yongxin is a well-known scholar who has devoted his life to continuous research and activities related to reading promotion, including training and programmes for children in rural areas and children with special needs, the vulnerable and those living in remote areas of China.

  • Films from the virtual IBBY Press Conference can be found here.
  • The full media release can be downloaded here.
  • More information on the IBBY-iRead Award can be found here.