What is iBbY Ireland?

The Ireland Section of the International Board on Books for Young People (iBbY Ireland) is a non-profit organisation, which promotes children’s books at an international level. It endorses all the aims and objectives of the International Parent body, founded in 1953, of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together.

What is iBbY Ireland ‘s Mission?

iBbY Ireland ‘s mission is:

  • To promote the exchange of relevant expertise and knowledge relating to children’s books at a national and international level.
  • To encourage the development of networks linking Ireland and other countries in the area of children’s books
  • To act as an information resource in relation to children’s books for writers, publishers, arts agencies, librarians, parents/guardians, the teaching professions and other educational interests, designers and illustrators, government and statutory bodies.

How to join iBbY Ireland.

iBbY Ireland is a voluntary body and membership is open to any Organisation or Individual who has an interest in and is committed to the aims and mission of iBbY Ireland. The organisation is governed by a Constitution and guided by a Committee. If you are interested in joining iBbY Ireland, please contact us or download and complete the iBbY Ireland Membership Form

How is iBbY Ireland organised?

iBbY Ireland is a voluntary body and membership is open to any Organisation or Individual who has an interest in and is committed to the aims and mission of iBbY Ireland. iBbY Ireland’s Patron is Mary McAleese, President of Ireland. ” The organisation is governed by a Constitution and guided by a Committee. iBbY Ireland receives funding from the Arts Council of IrelandFull details of CommitteeFull details of Member Organisations. If you are interested in joining iBbY Ireland, please contact us.back to top

What is iBbY?

The International Board on Books for Young People (iBbY) is a non-profit organization which represents an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together


iBbY International’s mission is:

  • to promote international understanding through children’s books
  • to give children everywhere the opportunity to have access to books with high literary and artistic standards
  • to encourage the publication and distribution of quality children’s books, especially in developing countries
  • to provide support and training for those involved with children and children’s literature
  • to stimulate research and scholarly works in the field of children’s literature

What are iBbY Ireland ‘s Activities?

iBbY Ireland organises seminars, exhibitions, publications and other events relating to children’s books at a national and international level. iBbY Ireland acts as an advisory body in relation to children’s books at government and other levels. iBbY Ireland promotes the development and diffusion of expertise in new technologies relevant to children’s books.

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Zimbabwe Awareness Event

A cultural evening to highlight awareness of the newly formed iBbY Zimbabwe, was held in Pearse Street Library on Thursday 26th February 2009 from 6.00-8.00pm. Irish authors and illustrators P.J. Lynch, Oisín McGann, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Conor Kostick and Sarah Webb generously agreed to come along and talk about their latest work to help iBbY Ireland raise funds for iBbY Zimbabwe’s important work. A raffle, African music and refreshments helped add to the ambience!

In March 2008, iBbY Ireland (International Board on Books for Young People) twinned with iBbY Zimbabwe in order to help them set up a similar organisation during a particularly challenging time in Zimbabwe’s history. iBbY has sections in over 70 countries worldwide and one of their central aims is to build international understanding through children’s books. Their core aim is to bring children and books together. iBbY Ireland has been working on a number of projects with our Zimbabwe colleagues – supporting workshops and seminars for children’s authors and illustrators, advising on reading promotion programmes and crucially, making cooperative links with other sections facing similar challenges. Thanks to modest funding from iBbY Ireland, one of our Zimbabwe contacts made a recent fact-finding visit in January 2009 to iBbY South Africa where he saw at first hand, projects such as the township Reading Clubs, the container libraries (converted, second hand sea containers) and efforts to promote indigenous publishing.

There is a great deal to be done to rebuild networks of literature and literacy in Zimbabwe and we hope that iBbY Ireland can make a small contribution towards this very worthwhile aim.

iBbY Ireland would like to thank everyone who supported this event and whose generosity is very much appreciated

Click on images below to see larger versions and visit iBbY Ireland on flickr!

Download large poster (PDF, 4.16MB)
Download small poster (PDF, 1.3MB)

iBbY Ireland are very grafeful to Gerard Cimbganda, Even Better Value Enterprises for sponsoring an LCD TV for the raffle on behalf the Zimbabwe community in Ireland. Email: Gerard@evenbettervalue.com Tel: 00353876498247

Honour List 2008

iBbY Ireland is pleased to announce the Irish nominated books for the iBbY Honour List 2008, honouring writers, translators and illustrators of children’s literature from iBbY member countries. This is a biennial selection of outstanding international recently published books, considered to be representative of the best of children’s literature from that country. The nominations are Siobhan Parkinson’s Something Invisible, Eilis Ni Dhuibhne’s Hurlamaboc and Oliver Jeffers The Incredible Book Eating Boy. The Honour List will be celebrated at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in March 2008 and the awards will be presented at the iBbY Congress in Copenhagen in September 2008.

iBbY Ireland celebrates 10th Birthday

 iBbY Ireland 10th Birthday Celebrations
iBbY Ireland 10th birthday celebrationsOn Saturday 8th March 2008 in Dublin’s City Hall, iBbY Ireland celebrated its 10th birthday with guest speaker, Martin Waddell, winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award. A short performance by pupils from Sandford National School, Ranelagh added to the festive occasion and was followed by a party complete with cake, balloons and refreshments. The party was attended by award winning Irish authors and artists who have been nominated for iBbY’s biennial Hans Christian Andersen Awards and Honour Books, both for the current and previous years. Amongst the many authors who attended the party were Conor Kostick, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Joe O’Brien, Siobhán Parkinson, Gabriel Rosenstock and Kate Thompson.

iBbY Ireland’s Annual General Meeting was held in the Council Chamber of Dublin’s City Hall on the day.

Click on images below to see larger versions and visit iBbY Ireland on flickr!

Hans Christian Andersen Awards 2008

The iBbY Ireland Nominations for the Hans Christian Andersen award 2008 have been completed. Marie Louise Fitzpatrick has been nominated for illustration and Kate Thompson for writing. To read the supporting nomination statements please click here: Marie Louise Fitzpatrick Kate Thompson

iBbY Ireland will be represented at the seventh iBbY Regional Conference in Tucson, Arizona, from 2nd-4th November. The theme of the conference is Children Between Worlds: Intercultural Relations in Books for Children and Young Adults. See the USBBY website at www.usbby.org for more information.

Bookbird Launch

On 10 February 2005, Bookbird was relaunched under the editorship of Siobhan Parkinson and Valerie Coghlan in Dublin City Library & Archive. 
Valerie Coghlan, Editor Bookbird Inc., Peter Shneck, President, iBbY International, Joan Glazer, President Bookbird Inc. Michael O’Brien, O’Brien Press, Martin Waddell, recent winner of Hans Christian Andersen Award, and Siobhan Parkinson, Editor Bookbird Inc..

Martin Waddell Wins Hans Christian Andersen Award 2004


Green Gables to Globalization:Crossover, Canada and Children’s Books

A one-day conference held on Saturday October 18th 2008 in The Church of Ireland College of Education, Upper Rathmines Road, Dublin 6.

The main theme of the conference examined ways in which children’s literature transcend boundaries of all kinds, focusing in particular on crossover fiction and a sense of belonging in books from Canada, a post-colonial, multiethnic society.Click on images below to see larger versions and visit iBbY Ireland on flickr!


9.30 a.m. Registration

10.15 a.m. Welcome by President of iBbY Ireland, Valerie Coghlan

10.30 a.m. Irene Gammel
Looking for Anne of Green Gables: A Literary Icon at 100

11.30 a.m. Coffee break

12 p.m. Perspectives on Canada and Children’s Books:

Kieran Fanning,
After the rain, the rainbow: A Christian reading of Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War and Beyond the Chocolate War.

Brian O’Neill,
Young people’s media education in Canada

Martina Siefert,
Imaginary Canada: How some guys in shorts fooled a nation

1.30p.m. Lunch

2.30 p.m. Sandra Beckett:
Crossover Fiction and Border Crossings in a Globalized World.

3.30 p.m. Tim Wynne-Jones
Between Belonging and Otherness: The Book as Passport.

4.30 p.m. Close of conference by the Canadian Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Patrick Binns. followed by a wine reception, sponsored by the Canadian Embassy, Dublin and the presentation of IBBY Honour Book Certificates to Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, and Siobhán Parkinson, and Hans Christian Andersen Award Certificates to Kate Thompson.

Keynote speakers

Sandra L. Beckett is a professor in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Brock University. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and a former president of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature. She has authored numerous books, including Crossover Fiction: Global and Historical Perspectives (Routledge, 2008), Red Riding Hood for All Ages: A Fairy-Tale Icon in Cross-Cultural Contexts (Wayne State UP, 2008), Recycling Red Riding Hood (Routledge, 2002), and De grands romanciers écrivent pour les enfants (Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1997). She is the editor or co-editor of many books, including Beyond Babar: The European Tradition in Children’s Literature (Scarecrow, 2006), Transcending Boundaries (Garland, 1999), Reflections of Change: Children’s Literature Since 1945 (Greenwood, 1997).

Irene Gammel is Professor of English and holds the Canada Research Chair in Modern Literature and Culture at Ryerson University, Toronto. She is also the director of the Modern Culture Multi-Media Centre, which is dedicated to the preservation and study of early twentieth-century modern texts and artifacts. She has served as president of the Canadian Comparative Literature Association, editorial board member of Canadian Literature, co-chair of the L. M. Montgomery Institute, vice-president of the Canadian Comparative Literature Association, and director of Women’s Studies at UPEI. She is the author and editor of eight books, including Making Avonlea (PEI Heritage Award), The Intimate Life of L.M. Montgomery and Looking for Anne: How Lucy Maud Montgomery Dreamed Up a Literary Classic (published by Key Porter books 2008). She is also the curator of ‘Anne of Green Gables: A Literary Icon at 100’ an exhibit that will be touring across Canada between April, 2008, and March, 2009 to celebrate the centenary anniversary of the publication of Anne of Green Gables.Tim Wynne-JonesTim Wynne-Jones has written over two-dozen books including adult novels, picture books, short story anthologies and young adult novels. He has twice won the Canadian Governor General’s Award for children’s literature: for Some of the Kinder Planets, and The Maestro and The Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award three times. He has also won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Some of the Kinder Planets, the first Canadian to do so. His work has been translated into Japanese, Korean, Danish, Dutch, German, French, Italian, Hebrew and Catalan. His novel, The Boy in the Burning House, won the Edgar Award of the Mystery Writers of America, the Arthur Ellis Award of the Crime Writers of Canada, and was short-listed for the Guardian Prize in Great Britain. The Maestro, retitled The Survival Game in the UK, was short-listed for the Guardian Prize, as well. His 2006 novel, Rex Zero and the End of the World, was short-listed for the Toronto-Dominion Children’s Book Centre Book of the Year, was chosen a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, and made the American Library Association’s Best Books for Children List. The sequel, Rex Zero, King of Nothing, was published in 2007.

Shorter presentations on ‘Perspectives on Canada and Children’s Books’ were given by Kieran Fanning, Brian O’Neill (DIT, Rathmines), Martina Siefert (Queen’s University).

Download conference programme and information about keynote speakers PDF, 61Kb

iBbY Ireland is very grateful to the Canada Council for the Arts for sponsoring Tim Wynne-Jones.
Canada Council for the Arts

iBbY Ireland is very grateful to International Education Services for their generous support.
IES logo

IBBY 31st World Congress in Copenhagen

Siobhán Parkinson and Valerie Coghlan

The 31st world congress of IBBY was held on 7-10 September 2008 in Copenhagen, and a respectable Irish contingent attended. (Respectable in numeric terms, that is; no comment on delegates’ behaviour!)

The proceedings began on the previous day, with pre-congress workshops for IBBY national sections, held in a school venue on the outskirts of Copenhagen. These workshops provide a welcome opportunity for national sections from developing countries to meet and exchange information and skills and to learn from each other about projects successfully implemented.

Also before the congress proper got under way, the general assembly of IBBY members worldwide met and voted in a new executive council (EC); Patricia Aldana (Canada) was re-elected as president of the organisation. Full details of the new 2008–2010 EC will be available shortly on www.ibby.org.

Denmark is noted for being one of Europe’s most democratic countries, with very low levels of poverty and a virtually flat social hierarchy. It is surprising, then, that Denmark has a queen, but not surprising that Queen Margarethe is most unassuming, and has a career, apart from being queen, as a theatre designer. Her gracious participation in the grand opening of the congress in a pavilion in the famous leisure gardens known as Tivoli, in the heart of Copenhagen, lent a touch of glamour without the usual stuffiness associated with royal patronage.

Apart from the sparkle of the Tivoli opening, congress delegates were treated to a variety of wonderful venues for congress-associated events, ranging from the Victorian splendour of the town hall to the ultimate fantasy of the tiered city circus theatre for the fabulous closing banquet.

The core congress lectures and seminars were held in fine style in the Radisson hotel. And yes, they do eat Danish pastries in Denmark, but they are nothing like the Danish pastries we get here; in other words, they are light and utterly delicious – and delicious also was the congress food.

Parallel sessions included Freedom of Speech in Children’s Books, Literary Awards, Children’s Literature and Socialization and many others focusing on the conference theme of ‘Stories in History – History in Stories’. As at all large congresses, the interest level and quality of the presentations varied widely, but most delegates reported hearing several excellent papers.

The major congress addresses were unfailingly stimulating. The prize for the most entertaining address goes to the Pakistani–Canadian writer Rukshana Khan with her amusing, yet deeply serious response to the famous ‘Danish cartoons’ controversy, which still rankles on both sides; Denmark’s own world-renowned children’s literature expert, Professor Torben Weinreich gave a most engaging and accessible paper; but for depth, analysis, sparkle and sheer humanity, the Brazilian Hans Christian Andersen laureate, the writer and illustrator Ana Maria Machado’s address came away ahead of the rest as the most inspiring and satisfying lecture on the importance of children’s literature not just for children, but for humanity and for the planet.

The Hans Christian Andersen Awards were presented on the opening night to Roberto Innocenti for illustration and to Jürg Schubiger for writing. IBBY Honour Book certificates were presented during the conference; the IBBY Ireland delegates were delighted that one of their nominees, Siobhán Parkinson, whose Something Invisible was the selected novel, was present to collect her certificate.

IBBY Ireland delegates were assiduous in attending the IBBY General Assembly and IBBY Forum at which members of national sections broke into regional groups to discuss ways in which they could co-operate together. IBBY Ireland has recently twinned with IBBY Zimbabwe, and the presence of Keith Munyengeterwa, Chair of IBBY Zimbabwe, gave the Irish contingent an excellent chance to get to know something of the work that the Zimbabwe section has planned and to discuss how IBBY Ireland could assist with this.

Participation in a congress is important for an IBBY national section. It provides an opportunity to become more closely acquainted with the work of ‘big’ IBBY and to meet and learn from other IBBY members all over the world. It is inspiring too to hear the winners of the IBBY Asahi Awards talk about their projects; this year both winners, from Laos and Rwanda, reflected the need for children of the world to have access to literature in their own languages.

The 2010 congress will take place in Santiago de Compostela. A lively presentation at the closing banquet about the delights ahead, sent delegates home, buoyed up with the prospect of setting off for Galicia (in northern Spain) in two years’ time.

Click on images below to see larger versions and visit iBbY Ireland on flickr!

Children’s Books Ireland Conference 2008

iBbY Ireland sponsored the presentation by Nina Christensen at the Children’s Books Ireland Conference 2008 which was held in Pearse Street Library on Saturday 24th-Sunday 25th May. Nina’s talk was entitled Voices from the North – Contemporary Danish Children’s Literature and took place on Sunday 25th May at 2.30pm. Nina is the Director of the Centre of Children’s Literature in Copenhagen and she examined aspects of contemporary Danish children’s literature, from current trends in writing to the important issues facing indigenous children’s publishing. Her presentation included discussion of the international aspects affecting Danish writing and publishing.

It is particularly appropriate that Nina attended this year in anticipation of iBbY’s major biennial conference which will be held from 7th-10th September 2008 in Copenhagen, see www.ibby.org

The annual CBI Conference is a celebration of the best in books for young people and the theme this year examined the issue of Voices in Children’s Books, addressing questions such as:
Who is talking and what are they saying?
Who is listening and what are they hearing?
As adults immersed in the world of books for children, how can we know if we are getting it right?

Other guest speakers for the conference included Julia Eccleshare, Polly Dunbar, Laoise Ní Chomhraí, Julie O’Callaghan, Mary Finn, Enda Wyley, Prof. Kristin Wardetzky, Anne O’Gorman, Tiina Nunnally, Nina Christensen, Tim Bowler and Robert Dunbar.

Full details available at www.childrensbooksireland.ie

Children’s Books Ireland Conference 2007

Notions of Nation: Identity, Community and Perspective in Children’s Books was the title of the 2007 Children’s Books Ireland Conference held in Pearse Street Library on 26th and 27th May. Two of the Saturday sessions were presented by iBbY Ireland and featured Binette Schroeder, one of Germany’s foremost illustrators and Jeff Garrett, a renowned critic in the field of children’s literature, three-time President of iBbY’s prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Binnette Schroeder
Binnette Schroeder

Binette gave insights into the evolution of her own work which has won numerous major awards in Europe but is virtually unknown and has not received the same critical reception from the Anglo-American establishment. Jeff Garrett explored cultural differences in visual imagery the convention of the mask versus vivid displays of emotion. What the artist proposes and what the viewer accepts, depends very much on their own cultural conventions. This was essentially the key to both talks, highlighting a fundamental concern for iBbY worldwide and a challenge for artists, readers, publishers etc. when attempting to reach an international audience. Binette’s talk was translated into English by Siobhan Parkinson and she was introduced by Valerie Coghlan, President of iBbY Ireland and by Monika Schlenger of the Goethe-Institut who co-sponsored Binette’s visit to Ireland. Jeff was introduced by Michael O’Brien of O’Brien Press and former President of iBbY Ireland.

Fighting for Writing

In 2003, iBbY Ireland presented the Fighting for Writing Conference dealing with the important topic of children’s books in areas of conflict all over the world.

The conference was opened by Mary Robinson and international speakers gave their personal experiences of bringing books and stories to children in conflict situations. Including

  • Jehan Helou, Director of the Tamer Institute for Community Education, Ramallah, Palestine
  • Donal O’ Murchu and Betty Orr, School Principals respectively from Dublin and Belfast, who organised the North-South Co-operation ‘Salmon of Knowledge’ project
  • Shpresa Vreto, Founder of iBbY Albania
  • Kimete Basha, Executive Director iBbY
  • Helene Schar, Translator and Publisher of books from various African countries.
  • Janetta Otter-Barry, Editorial Director of Children’s Books at Frances Lincoln publishers, UK
  • Terence O’Malley, who has been involved in fundraising to set up schools in Afghanistan for many years
  • Tom Hyland, Coordinator, East Timor Ireland Solidarity Campaign, nominated for Nobel Peace Prize.

The conference showed that the need for books for children in areas of conflict is more than just a material one – that books educate in both a cultural and creative way, and open a door to a world and a future with greater horizons.

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