IBBY

On Wednesday 20th June I went to the AGM of the UK branch of IBBY (the International Board of Books for Young people). IBBY was set up in 1953, after the devastation of WWII, to promote international understanding through children’s books. The work they do is fascinating, focussing on ensuring good quality and relevant work is published for children throughout the world. There is lots of information on the UK website about local and international projects and it is well worth perusing. It only costs £30 a year to join and support their work, as well as receiving a few personal perks, so I highly recommend you do!

The AGM was held at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton, a beautiful building with an excellent mission – maintaining and growing the only UK archives of the diverse black history – and finished with a presentation from S.I. Martin about engaging young people using archive material, and demonstrating that writing can be an act of revolution. He showed us a spectrum of black backgrounds in the UK as far back as the 15C. Not only as slaves but also as princes and property owners, educated and not, having a voice and using it. His words reminded me of Geraldine McCaughrean’s impassioned plea at the CKG ceremony that vocabulary and language in writing for children in young people must be rich and wide. Steve said “we’re losing the ability to describe ourselves”, less able to incorporate histories and so embrace differences. It was definitely food for thought.

About Caroline Fielding

Chartered School Librarian, CILIP YLG London Chair, Bea-keeper

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