IBBY (the International Board on Books for Young People) is a non-profit organization which represents an international network of people who are committed to bring books and children together. Founded in Zurich (Switzerland) in 1953, it is today composed of more than 60 National Sections all over the world. The organization’s mission includes: promoting international understanding through children’s books; giving children everywhere the opportunity to have access to books with high literary and artistic standards; encouraging the publication and distribution of quality children’s books, especially in developing countries; providing support and training for those involved with children and children’s literature; and stimulating research and scholarly works in the field of children’s literature.
Among its activities are its biennial Hans Christian Andersen Awards, often called the “Little Nobel Prize”, which are presented to an author and an illustrator, living at the time of the recognition, whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children’s literature. The Author’s Award has been given since 1956 and the Illustrator’s Award since 1966.
Established in 1986, the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award is given annually to a group or an institution which, by its outstanding activities, is judged to be making a lasting contribution to reading promotion programs for children and young people.
The IBBY Honor List is a biennial selection of outstanding, recently published books, honoring writers, illustrators and translators from IBBY member countries. The list includes the best in children’s literature from each country, recommended as suitable for publication throughout the world.
Since 1967 ICBD (International Children’s Book Day), which usually occurs around Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday of April 2, has been celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books. Each year a different National Section of IBBY is the international sponsor of ICBD, deciding upon a theme, prominent author, and illustrator to write a message to the world’s children and design a poster. Promotions, activities, and special events occur during the whole week.
Other activities include IBBY seminars and workshops (since 1985), a quarterly journal called the Bookbird, and the Centre of Books for Disabled Young People (since 1985). The Centre offers information, consultation, and documentation services, and is now a division of the Institute of Special Education at the University of Oslo (Norway).