IBBY Honors Inclusion of all Voices in Books From Around the World

The International Board of Books for Young People – IBBY – held their international congress this month in Mexico City. IBBY introduced their 2014 Honour List, a biennial selection of outstanding, recently published books honouring writers, illustrators and translators from around the world. The books were honored with this passionate Mexican celebration of trumpets and gorgeous illustration in this slide show:

In this post I want to offer some quotes and small introductions to a few authors and their books to give you a taste of this extraordinary gathering. Among the U.S. Honour winners is Kathleen Merz who translated NASREDDINE (Eerdmans Books) by Odile Weulersse from

nasreddinethe French.  It is a middle-eastern tale of growing wisdom, exquisitely illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer.

The IBBY Congress is a a celebration of the power of children’s books to build bridges among cultures and nations.  Writer David Almond said to us gathered in Mexico City, “Every time a child is born, the world is re-created.”
“Give children the opportunity to discover reality on their own terms,” said Jochen Weber. “You are always creating when you read.”

Gusti, a writer and illustrator from Argentina and Spain spoke about his creation of MALKA Y PAPA. “What happens to an illustrator who has a child with one extra chromosome?” he began.  He says he learned from his own son who told him, “Who cares what he has?  Who cares what he looks like? He is my best brother.”   IBBY’s theme was a call for inclusion in children’s literature.  Let all voices be heard in the pages of children’s books. A wide variety of voices were heard here.  Italian illustrator Roberto Innocenti,  said about  choices on books he makes,  “I have to be happy.”

That this drive is behind his books, no matter how difficult the themes or the times, is a gift.


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