International Children’s Book Day is held on 2 April each year on the anniversary of Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday. The day is celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books.
It is sponsored by The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), which is a non-profit organisation representing an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together. It was founded in Zurich, Switzerland in 1953, and today is composed of 75 National Sections all over the world. It represents countries that have well-developed publishing and literacy programmes, and other countries that only have a few dedicated professionals who are doing pioneer work in children’s book publishing and promotion.
IBBY’s mission is:
- to promote international understanding through children’s books
- to give children everywhere the opportunity to have access to books with high literacy and artistic standards
- to encourage the publication and distribution of quality children’s books, especially in developing countries
- to provide support and training to those involved with children and children’s literature
- to stimulate research and scholarly works in the field of children’s literature
- to protect and uphold the Rights of the Child according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
IBBY also supports a number of awards and projects in the field of children’s literature, the most prestigious of which is the Hans Christian Andersen award. This is given biennially to an author and an illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature.
The shortlisted authors this year are:
Marie-Aude Murail from France, Farhad Hassanzadeh from Iran, Eiko Kadono from Japan, Joy Cowley from New Zealand and Ulf Stark from Sweden.
The shortlisted illustators are:
Pablo Bernasconi from Argentina, Linda Wolfsgruber from Austria, Xiong Liang from China, Iwona Chmielewska from Poland, Igor Oleynikov from Russia and Albertine from Switzerland.
The two winners will be announced on 26 March at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Italy, with the medals presented at the 36th IBBY Congress in Athens, Greece on 31 August.
For more information on IBBY visit their UK website here.