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 80+ 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 80 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.
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.
United Nations Sustainability Goals Book Club
The United Nations with the support of IBBY, IFLA and the International Publishers Association has launched an initiative to create an online book club to support each of the 17 goals in the six main UN languages.
The website contains a speech of welcome from the UN Deputy General and outlines the programme which will be completed in the next 17 months. One goal a month is a big target so IBBY members are encouraged to submit ideas on a regular basis.
The 17 Goals are:
- No Poverty
- Zero Hunger
- Good Health and Well-Being
- Quality Education
- Gender Equality
- Clean Water and Sanitation
- Affordable and Clean Energy
- Decent Work and Economic Growth
- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
- Reduce Inequality
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- Climate Action
- Life Below Water
- Life on Land
- Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
- Partnerships for the Goals
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. Every two years, IBBY Europe’s holds a conference at Bologna Children’s Book Fair. You can read about our second conference ‘Languages in Europe: Children reading in a multilingual world’ here.