Press Release: IBBY Announces Award Winners

Press Release: IBBY Announces Award Winners

IBBY Announces Winners of the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award #IBBYHCA16

4 April 2016
Patricia Aldana, Chair of the jury for the Hans Christian Andersen Award of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) today announced the winners of the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award considered to be the children’s Nobel. IBBY is very grateful to Nami Island Inc. in the Republic of Korea for their sponsorship of this prestigious award.
They are:
Rotraut Susanne Berner of Germany for Illustration. And Cao Wenxuan of China for Writing.
Berner’s work is at all times recognizably hers, while simultaneously being intensely responsive to the demands of the text, or in the case of the Wimmel Books, to the specific world of a very specific town. She is willing to take risks—The Princess Will Arrive at Four is a brilliant example of this as is the fairytale comic book, Definitely Not for the Little Ones, and When Death Came for a Visit, written by Jürg Schubiger. Her books can be hilariously funny, and equally deeply moving.  And she doesn’t fear showing life’s dark moments. 
The Wimmel Books are an exemplar of how to construct an elaborate and complex world filled with small important narratives that can engage the viewer for hours through purely visual story telling power.  Berner never talks down to her audience and yet her books are unmistakably for children. Children all over the world deserve to be exposed to her brilliant, humane, rich, emotionally true and deeply engaging books.
Cao Wenxuan from China
The unanimous choice of the jury, Cao writes beautifully about the complex lives of children facing great challenges. He is a deeply committed writer, whose own difficult childhood has been deeply influential on his writing in which there are no easy answers. In Bronze and Sunflower, a novel set during the time of the Cultural Revolution in a rural Chinese village close to a re-education center for people sent from the city, a village boy who does not speak and a little city girl who ends up coming to live with his family can be said to “save” each other. These children are entirely convincing and we care deeply about their fate. In Cao’s Dingding Dangdang series we are captivated and moved by two brothers with Down syndrome who separately flee their village and then search for each other through a world that is alternately loving and rejecting. These books take risks and have a great deal at stake. 
Cao Wenxuan’s books don’t lie about the human condition; they acknowledge that life can often be tragic and that children can suffer.  At the same time, they can love and be redeemed by their human qualities and the kindness they sometimes find when they are most in need. Cao’s writing about the natural world is lyrical and beautiful.  And Cao is a great example of how writing wonderful prose and telling stories about brave children facing tremendous difficulties and challenges can attract a very wide and committed child readership as well as helping to shape a literary tradition in China that honors the realities of children’s worlds. Recently Cao Wenxuan’s books have been making their way into the world and have found enthusiastic readers in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Korea.   The rest of the world’s children are waiting to discover him, too.
The jury would like to emphasize the high quality of many of the submissions, especially those on the shortlist.  Many of these authors and illustrators have not been published widely internationally, primarily because they live in countries whose languages are not widely read and hence in the current climate in publishing have unjustly found it more difficult to be translated.
This does not mean that they are not in the very front ranks of creators working for children.
The first criteria for the selection of the shortlist and the winners were the artistic excellence of the writing and of the art.  The jurors were also interested in seeing how the creators had evolved in the course of their careers and whether they had been willing to take creative risks.  It was also deemed very important that the books produced by the authors and illustrators be of significance—that important things were at stake in their work.  And finally, did their books speak to children?  Were these creators people whose books could be read by children all over the world, be accessible and meaningful to them, and enrich their lives and understanding?
The jurors in alphabetical order by country:
• Lola Rubio Argentina an editor and librarian
• Dolores Prades Brazil a publisher and reading expert
• Wu Qing China professor of English literature
• Kirsten Bystrup Denmark a children’s librarian
• Yasmine Motawy Egypt a professor of children’s literature
• Shoreh Yousefi Iran a pre-school educator and editor
• Andrej Ilc Slovenia a publisher of adult and children’s books
• Reina Duarte Spain a children’s publisher
• Susan Stan USA a professor of children’s literature
• Maria Beatriz Medina Venezuela the director of the Banco del Libro and a professor
Short List:
Korea: Suzy Lee
Netherlands: Marit Törnqvist
China: Cao Wenxuan
Denmark: Louis Jensen
Germany: Mirjam Pressler
Netherlands: Ted van Lieshout
For more information, full biographies of the winners and information about IBBY, go to

IBBY Announces the Winners of the 2016 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award

4 April 2016
Angela Lebedeva (Russia), chair of the jury for the 2016 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award today announced the winners of the 2016 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award. IBBY is very grateful to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper company in Japan for their sponsorship of this prestigious award. 
The two winning projects are
Big Brother Mouse, Luang Prabang City, Laos
Read With Me has the objective of making quality books accessible to disadvantaged children in marginal areas of big cities and those living in remote and deprived areas of Iran. The project, nominated by IBBY Iran, provides books and focuses on reading aloud to create a meaningful experience for children; it introduces related art and craft activities, with an emphasis on role-playing and drama as part of reading sessions; it empowers teachers, librarians and volunteers through training workshops and regular mentoring and, as the final phase, it sets up small libraries to ensure sustainability of the work already done. The target groups for this project are children, both boys and girls, from preschool to 16 year olds who are generally at risk because of their living environment. These include street or working children, orphans and those living in remote and deprived areas in Iran. The project is designed to be flexible so that it can be implemented at home, at school, at the library or any place in the community. The content of the project is socially and culturally adaptable to the needs of different target areas. Since 2010, Read With Me has extended to 13 provinces in Iran, including 15 city centers, 6 marginal areas and 75 remote villages. By 2015 it had reached over 13,000 children in the age group 4-16 and more than 500 teachers, preschool tutors and volunteers have been trained through this project. The project is funded by donations and mainly run by volunteers. 
The nomination of Big Brother Mouse was submitted by IBBY Switzerland and endorsed by the IBBY sections of Denmark, France and Germany. Traditionally, books have been rare in Laos. Although the number of children who go to school is slowly but steadily increasing, many children have never read a book outside of school textbooks. Few Lao people think that reading can be fun, can add to their education, or will provide information to improve their quality of life. Very few books are published in Laos, and they never reach the villages where most people live. Many Lao children leave school very early as they are needed to help the family to survive, thus their education is very basic. Big Brother Mouse is based in Luang Prabang and Vientiane and all the planning and decisions are made in Laos, based on and often adapting to the conditions that are faced there. The first books were made in 2006. Some are just in Lao; others are in both Lao and English, making them useful not only for the primary audience – Lao children – but also for people of any age, who speak either English or Lao, and are learning the other language. The project aims to give books, especially children’s books, an important place in Laos as well as make sure that children in rural areas have access to books. They believe that every child should have the possibility to read and enjoy books and that this is important in helping promote reading and fighting against the widespread illiteracy, still found in Laos. 
The award was founded in 1986 and is presented every two years to two projects that are run by groups or institutions.  The winners are selected from among projects nominated by IBBY national sections from all over the world.
The Jury members in alphabetical order by country:
Vagn Plenge (Denmark), Sunjidmaa Jamba (Mongolia), Timotea Vrablova (Slovakia), Serpil Ural (Turkey) and Evelyn Freeman (USA). 
The two winners were selected from eleven nominations made by the IBBY National Sections.
•Puntos de lectura para imaginar (Reading points to imagine), Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, nominated by IBBY Argentina; 
•Clube Cultural Dragão Azul (Cultural Club Blue Dragon), Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro nominated by IBBY Brazil; 
•Mother Goose Program, Toronto, nominated by IBBY Canada;
•Night at the Children’s Library, Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, nominated by IBBY China; 
•Read With Me, nationwide, nominated by IBBY Iran;
•The Reading Honeycombs, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, nominated by IBBY Mexico;
•Mundo: a little world library, Antwerp, Belgium, nominated by IBBY Netherlands; 
•Duffy Books in Homes, nominated by IBBY New Zealand; 
•Library of the Blind and Partially Sighted, Ljubljana, nominated by IBBY Slovenia;
•Kelompok Pecinta Bacaan Anak (KPBA), Jakarta, Indonesia, nominated by IBBY Sweden.
•Big Brother Mouse, Luang Prabang City, Laos, nominated by IBBY Switzerland, IBBY Denmark, IBBY France and IBBY Germany.
For more information, full descriptions of the winners and information about IBBY, go to:
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