IBBY Australia Honour Books Annotated List (1962-2018)

This publication presents 48 outstanding books, from Tangara (1962) to The Bone Sparrow and Teacup (2018). Annotations that succinctly place each book in its context, and biographical information about the writers and illustrators, add to the value of this unique resource. It is unique, in that while there are many booklists serving many purposes, this list has a specific tale to tell, the tale of IBBY Australia’s choice of these books, every two years forwarded to IBBY headquarters in Switzerland, to become part of a selection of books ‘characteristic of their country and suitable to recommend for publication in different languages’.

In October 2018 IBBY Australia Inc and the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature (NCACL) proudly announced an exhibition which opened in the Woden branch of Libraries ACT. The exhibition included copies of each of the IBBY Australia Honour Books, even those most elusive titles that had taken some sleuthing to track down, sitting on the shelves and inviting browsers to pick them up, to smile in recognition of old favourites and to explore those not encountered before. And alongside these Australian books was a collection, for the first time ever hosted in our country, of all the international IBBY Honour Books for 2018, its 191 books from 61 countries providing a snapshot of the best publications worldwide at this moment in time.

The collection of 48 Australian Honour Books provides not a snapshot, but something akin to a moving picture, as the viewer moves through time, meeting highlights in the development of Australian books for the young. It begins with Nan Chauncy’s Tangara, one of just 15 titles honoured by IBBY in 1956 (albeit entered by the publishing country, the UK). From one general category, the list changed to include in 1974 the Illustration category, and the Translation category in 1978. Ursula Dubosarsky, herself an Honour Book writer (The Golden Day), speaking at a preview of the exhibition in Canberra, pointed out that the Australian list is ‘not only of literature but also of changing social circumstances, values and preoccupations over the fifty-five years.’

IBBY was founded in postwar Europe by the visionary Jella Lepman, who worked to build bridges to international understanding—and thus, peace—through children’s books. And IBBY claims that the publication of the biennial Honour Lists is one of the most effective ways of furthering these objectives. Ena Noël, first president of IBBY Australia, and many others here have contributed over decades to the work of IBBY, including faithful selection of these books. As I set about the task of writing these annotations, I was aware of the palpable presence of earlier selection panels, and was especially alert to traces of the judgment of Ena and of Maurice Saxby.

At a celebration of IBBY Australia’s Golden Anniversary in 2016, Mark MacLeod said of the Australian Honour List that the strongest impression created by it is its support of excellence in writing and illustration: ‘the list of recipients is like a gold-lettered rollcall, gracing the foyer of Australian children’s literature.’ While asking challenging questions about the diversity of the list, MacLeod noted the emphasis on the child as outsider and agent, in books such as I Own the Racecourse!; and on the power of changing the way we see, in Banjo and Ruby Red, and My Place and Playing Beatie Bow and Where the Forest Meets the Sea and The Incredible Here and Now.

Dubosarsky, in her preview speech, called the Australian Honour list ‘remarkable in that just about every name on the list since 1962 continues to be held in high esteem. IBBY Australia should be extremely proud of having such a record of what appears to be most excellent and perspicacious judgment’.

The IBBY Australia Honour Books list tells a unique tale, but it is not a finished one. The two-yearly process of selection and annotation will continue, and Australian children’s books will develop in directions we cannot predict. I hope IBBY’s selection panels will continue, with ‘excellent and perspicacious judgment,’ to add to this ‘gold-lettered rollcall.’

It is a pleasure to see this publication reach fruition, so that it can be an accessible tool for professionals such as teacher-librarians, for parents and children, and for anyone who wants to learn more about Australian children’s literature for academic or recreational purposes.

Special thanks to Dr Belle Alderman, Justine Power and the NCACL for enabling this publication as part of the Sharing Stories project; to IBBY Australia committee members for their contributions; and of course to the writers, illustrators and (one) translator whose works appear on this important list.

Robin Morrow

The IBBY Australia Honour Books List 1962-2018 (PDF).

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IBBY Honour Books Exhibitions

IBBY Australia Inc and the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature have developed a unique travelling exhibition of books for young readers.

For the first time ever in Australia, a travelling exhibition of international IBBY Honour Books including 191 outstanding books, selected by 70 of the member countries of IBBY (the International Board on Books for Young People), as Honour Books for 2018. Each country chooses one for writing, one for illustration, and with an option for an honour book for translation. These books are chosen as ‘representative of the best in children’s literature from each country . . . furthering the IBBY objective of encouraging world understanding through children’s books’. The books provide a comprehensive snapshot of current publishing for children, and reflect the variety and creativity of contemporary children’s literary and illustrative culture.

Alongside these international books is a display of all the Australian IBBY Honour books selected since 1962, when Australia first began to make nominations. In the words of author Ursula Dubosarsky, this collection is ‘not only of literature but also of changing social circumstances, values and preoccupations over the fifty-five years.’ Adults and children will recognise favourites, as well as meeting some lesser-known books for them to explore.

An annotation for each book helps visitors to view it in a context of time and place. This exhibition will expand the minds and hearts of those of any age-group. The exhibition closed in Canberra on 20 October with plans for the exhibition to travel through August 2019.

 

Ursula Dubosarsky on the “Sharing Stories” exhibition in Canberra

Australian children’s author Ursula Dubosarsky spoke at a preview of the first-ever exhibition in Australia of the IBBY Honour Books, hosted by Woden Library as part of the National Centre of Australian Children’s Literature “Sharing Stories” program, celebrating the International Year of Translation. The exhibition is open from 2-20 October 2018 at the Woden Library and features a never-seen-in-Australia exhibit of 191 outstanding children’s books in translation from 70 countries around the world.

Ursula has kindly shared a copy of her speech:

So, what is this exhibition? IBBY, for those who may not know, stands for the International Board on Books for Young People. It’s an organization based in Switzerland with member countries, including Australia, all around the world, whose aims, broadly speaking, are to promote international and cross-cultural understanding through the encouragement and sharing of high quality children’s literature and most importantly access to that literature for children everywhere, whatever the circumstances.

IBBY was officially founded in Zurich in 1953, born in the disillusioned atmosphere that followed six years of catastrophic war in Europe and the Pacific. It was led by the inspirational and indefatigable German-Jewish writer Jella Lepman who had a devout conviction that through exposing children around the world to great children’s literature we might find ourselves living in a more peaceful and more tolerant world
One of IBBY’s earliest initiatives was the creation of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen medal, awarded every two years for a lifetime’s work to a writer, and since 1966 also to an illustrator. Famously two Australians have each won this medal, writer Patricia Wrightson and illustrator Robert Ingpen. The medalists are chosen by an exclusive international jury and everyone in IBBY Australia is tremendously excited that Robin Morrow, our erstwhile IBBY President, is to be a member of this jury from next year, a stunning tribute to her international standing in the field.

In association with the Hans Christian Andersen Medal IBBY member countries also select every two years their country’s honour books, one for writing, one for illustration, and with an option for an honour book for translation. These honour books, are, according to IBBY, intended to be “representative of the best in children’s literature from each country … furthering the IBBY objective of encouraging world understanding through children’s” books. Full collections of Honour Books from all over the world since the practice began in 1956 are held at the IBBY headquarters, at the International Youth Library in Munich, and in specialist children’s literature libraries from St Petersburg to Kuala Lumpur.

But we don’t have to go to any of these far flung places today – the books have come to us here in Woden library all the way from Switzerland. The exhibition is in two parts. Firstly you will see all the IBBY honour books for writing, for illustration and for translation for 2018, 191 books from 70 countries around the world, a fascinating and comprehensive snapshot of current international publishing for children and a reflection of the variety and creativity of contemporary children’s literary and illustrative culture.

Obviously in these few words I can’t tell you about every book, so I will just give you a brief sort of birds eye view of what you will see in the exhibition. The greatest number of the honour books for writing are prose fiction. Some of the subject matter is quite serious – there are realist novels about children confronted with stress or displacement, from Argentina, Demark, Germany, Greece, Lebanon, Holland, South Africa and Swizterland; stories about disability from Bolivia and Canada; stories about refugees from Belgium, Poland and the United Arab Emirates. There are several historical novels – from Italy is a story set in the 1930s and from Sweden another set in the 1940s. From Cambodia a book that takes place during the Khmer Rouge; another from China during the Cultural Revolution in Shanghai in the 1960s; and another from Korea about the colonization of Korea by Japan in the early 20th century; the honour book from Colombia is set during contemporary military conflict and a story from Chile is takes place during recent student uprisings.

For younger children the stories tend to be lighter – there are animal stories from Egypt, Ghana, Mongolia, Peru, Rwanda and Uganda; there are philosophical fables Cyprus, France, Hungary Slovakia Tunisia and the Ukraine. There are funny stories from Finland, Russia, Slovenia and New Zealand –“From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle” from the wonderful Kate de Goldi ; gentle coming of age stories from Costa Rica and Palestine, a novel about sport from Japan, fantasy novels from the Czech republic, Finland Iceland Indonesia Lithuania Mexico Norway and Croatia. I was particularly charmed by a novel from Ecuador about a boy who has a tiny Martian living in his ear. As I said the selected books are dominated by prose fiction, but there are several poetry collections – from Haiti, Latvia, Armenia, Moldova and Spain, and one book of short stories from Austria in Arabic and German about the author’s Syrian childhood and strangely enough only one non-fiction title – a biography of Nelson Mandela from Israel.

Turning to the illustrated books, what a pleasure to see such ingenuity and brio from all around the world. Most of the books are in colour, although there are black and white illustrated books from Estonia and Chile; imaginative collage from China and Cyprus; and a book from Mongolia which combines ancient rock art and modern illustration. There are wordless picture books from Slovenia and Canada; a graphic novel from Denmark; a newly illustrated version of the Little Prince from the Ukraine, and a French book called the Ribbon where an actual ribbon is part of the book and is transformed in function as you turn each page. The subject matters are equally varied, from folk tales to history, from the whimsical – life in Italy as a Professional Crocodile – to an obviously very serious book from Japan about the atomic bomb. Everyone will have their favourites – my own is a poetic picture book from Lebanon, about a little girl in an apartment block watching the people below crossing the street at the traffic lights, over and over again, in all weather. She calls out to them, through the glass waving, shouting but nobody sees her or notices she’s there.

As I mentioned earlier, it is the International Year of Translation. The selection of Honour Books in translation is absolutely central to IBBY’s aim of fostering cross-cultural connections. How delightful to think of Eleanor Farjeon’s “The Little Bookroom” in Chinese; Neil Gaiman in Persian; Astrid Lindgren in Armenian and Mongolian; Hebrew folk tales translated into Japanese; Sanskrit fables into Khmer; an English African story into Kinyarwanda. And I was very charmed to see Ruth Krauss 1952 “A Hole is to Dig” illustrated by Maurice Sendak translated into Catalan.

In contrast to this display of contemporary publishing the second part of the exhibition is historic, and consists of all the Australian IBBY Honour books selected since 1962, when Australia first began to nominate. And what an impressive and seminal collection it is. Of course such a collection is not only of literature but also of changing social circumstances, values and preoccupations over the fifty five years which you will observe for yourselves. In terms of literary and artistic values, however, looking at the list I was quite astonished. There are all sorts of lists out there of outstanding Australian children’s books chosen each year, and it is natural and indeed inevitable that when you look at such lists from past years you will see names and books that have disappeared into time and not been heard of since. This IBBY Honour list however is remarkable in that just about every name on the list since 1962 continues to be held in high esteem. IBBY Australia should be extremely proud of having such a record of what appears to be most excellent and perspicacious judgment.

Just to finish, can we say confidently that the ideals of IBBY born after World War Two, of the power of great children’s literature to change the world for the better, have had any effect? When we read the news we may feel some intense despair. But that is not a reason to abandon the project. One of Jella Lepman’s other great lasting legacies was the establishment in 1949 of the International Youth Library in Munich, an exceptional archive of world literature for children. I visited the library on invitation some years ago, and wandered around the old Bavarian moated castle it’s housed in until I came across a small museum in honour of the German writer Michael Ende, himself a winner of the Hans Andersen medal. In the English- speaking world Michael Ende is of course most famous for “The Never Ending Story”, but in Europe it is his novel “Momo” that is most loved – and I must thank IBBY’s Margot Lindgren for telling me about Momo. (And I strongly recommend to everyone Margot’s marvelous blog on children’s books, MOMO time to read.)

Momo is a parentless illiterate innumerate child who lives on the edge of a city in a ruined amphitheatre. One day she has a conversation with a street sweeper about how he keeps on working, in the face of despair of ever getting the job done, and this is what he tells her:

“Sometimes, when you’ve a very long street ahead of you, you think how terribly long it is and feel sure you’ll never get it swept… But you must never think of the whole street at once, you understand? You must only concentrate on the next step, the next breath, the next stroke of the broom, and the next, and the next and the next. Nothing else.”

What is on display here at Woden Library is a selection of patient steps, gentle breaths and brush strokes, and the next and the next and the next. I wish you all the deepest pleasure and inspiration in exploring the exhibition.

CBCA NSW Branch announces winner 2018 Lady Cutler Award

The Children’s Book Council of Australia NSW Branch is pleased to announce that Karen Jameyson has been chosen as the 2018 recipient of the LADY CUTLER AWARD.

Karen has devoted her life to the promotion and dissemination of great children’s literature. Through her editing, reviewing, advocacy, volunteer work and writing, Karen has enriched and supported the work of Australian children’s authors and illustrators and promoted their work internationally.

Karen’s passion for children and their reading has been a feature of her role at The School Magazine where she has liaised with publishers and publicists to select forty books each year for the School Magazine’s Bookshelf section. Each month student readers have eagerly turned to the Bookshelf section first to see what book is being featured and to race to the library to borrow. According to Tohby Riddle, Karen has brought “a keen and knowledgeable eye for quality” to this task. Her enthusiasm for authors and illustrators, both emerging and well known and her relationship with publishers knows no bounds.

She has supported the CBCA since her arrival in Australia, joining the NSW Branch committee and volunteering on national conference committees. Most recently Karen has been a key contributor to the revitalisation of IBBY Australia. IBBY Australia President Robin Morrow comments: “Karen is a quiet but strong member of the committee offering wise advice and practical hard work, as well as her deep knowledge of literature. We all value her collegiate spirit and friendship.”

The Lady Cutler Award commemorates the contribution to the Children’s
Book Council NSW Branch by former patron, Lady Helen Cutler, and is presented for Distinguished Service in the field of Australian Children’s Literature.

Karen Jameyson will receive this award in Sydney at the Lady Cutler Event to be held on the evening of September 14, at the Royal Automobile Club, Sydney. All are welcome to attend this event. Guest speaker delivering the Maurice Saxby Oration is Bruce Pascoe. Bookings may be made online at https://trybooking.com/WETA

 

Ena Noël Award 2018

Press Release

Ena Noël Award 2018: THE IBBY AUSTRALIA ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD for a young emerging writer or illustrator

The panel of three judges is pleased to announce the winner is :

Will Kostakis for The Sidekicks  published by Penguin Random House

sidekickcoverWEBMeet the Sidekicks: a swimmer, a rebel and a nerd. Through the different relationship each shared with Isaac, they become more than these public personae.  Each young man deals with grief and the situation that forces them together to deal with Isaac’s untimely and suspect demise.  The relationships with each other and the people around them bring them to face difficult choices they need to make, the choices that free them to be the multi-dimensional people they truly are. These peripheral characters enhance but do not overwhelm the narrative. This intricately designed narration weaves the stories of  Ryan, Harley and Miles together. These characters scream silently out for help, and each finds strength or solace if in different places. Sidekicks concludes with Miles narrating an external film sequence.  The boys come together around the picnic table providing a new catalyst for the future, a future where they can remember and finally forget Isaac.

Will-Kostakis-pic-by-Walker-Rowseywebsize-1The Sidekicks is Will’s third novel for young adults, and American debut. His first novel, Loathing Lola, was released when he was just nineteen, and his second, The First Third, won the 2014 Gold Inky Award. It was also shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year and Australian Prime Minister’s Literary awards. As a high school student, Will won Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer of the Year for a collection of short stories.

The judges note it was  a pleasure to read such a broad and diverse selection of Australia’s emerging children’s and YA authors and illustrators and what an honour to select such a truly deserving book. Congratulations to Will Kostakis and the publishers.

The Ena Noël Award – to encourage young emerging writers and illustrators has been a significant identifier of talented authors and illustrators since inception in 1994. Thank you to all the publishers who entered creators of such a wide range of formats for this award.

Please see the link  for more details on previous recipients.

 

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD FOR LITERATURE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

MEDIA RELEASE

Entries for the Australian IBBY Encouragement Award for Children’s Literature, the Ena Noël Award are now open. Publishers are invited to submit entries for this prestigious Australian Children’s & Young Adult literature Award.

Books by Australian creators published in the two years prior to the particular closing date 30th November 2017 can be nominated by the publishers for the Ena Noël award. The nominated creator must be under the age of 35 at the time the title (or titles) for which they are nominated was published.

The Ena Noël Award – to encourage young emerging writers and illustrators has been a significant identifier of talented authors and illustrators since inception in 1994.
Please see the link  for more details on previous recipients. Information and entry forms for the award are available from the coordinator.

Contact:
Claire Stuckey coordinator
2017-2018 Ena Noël Award

Email: troislouise3@gmail.com
Phone : 0416061474

IBBY Australia Honour Books showcase refugee stories

PRESS RELEASE

IBBY Australia proudly announces its biennial Honour Books for 2018. Many Australian authors and illustrators for young people have a deep concern for the plight of refugees. It happens that the two books selected, one for excellence in Writing, one for excellence in Illustration, treat themes of migration and the search for a safe place.

For Writing: The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon, Lothian Children’s Books, an imprint of Hachette Australia.

Subhi is a refugee of Rohingya origin, born in an Australian permanent detention centre, and life behind the fences is all he has ever known. But as he grows, his imagination gets bigger too, fed by The Night Sea, the faraway whales and the birds.

 One night Jimmie, a scruffy, impatient girl, appears from the other side of the wires, bringing a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it, she relies on Subhi to unravel her own family’s love songs and tragedies. 

Subhi and Jimmie might both find a way to freedom, but not until each of them has been braver than ever before. The writer succeeds—mostly through Subhi’s first-person narrative —in presenting the claustrophobic world of the detention camp, with its tedium and heartbreak, major and petty cruelties and unexpected humour. The reader is left pondering themes of hope, freedom, friendship, memory and the power of stories.

Zana Fraillon was born in Melbourne, studied history and became a primary teacher.  She has written picture books for young children, a series for middle readers, and No Stars to Wish On, about a boy taken from home and put in an orphanage. Her most recent book, The Ones That Disappeared, tells of trafficked children searching for freedom. The Bone Sparrow has featured on a number of awards lists in Australia and overseas, including the Amnesty CILIP Honour 2017, for which a judge wrote: ‘The characters are sharply observed throughout and, in Subhi, Zana Fraillon has created an unforgettable voice’.

For Illustration: Teacup by Matt Ottley (text by Rebecca Young), Scholastic Press

Teacup is the story of a boy ‘who had to leave home’ and his long and arduous journey by sea, bringing with him only a book, a bottle, a blanket and a teacup full of earth from the place where he grew up. The journey includes peaceful days, and days when storms threaten to overturn his boat. When at last he reaches land, it does not feel complete . . . until another traveller joins him. Matt Ottley has crafted images of this transformative journey, using a combination of oil paintings and digital art. He has brought dramatic and luminous skyscapes and seascapes, skilful changes in perspective and studies of reflection to the spare, poetic text to create an eloquent tale of migration. The symbols of the teacup, the soil and the tree that grows from it will evoke recognition in many readers.

Matt Ottley was born in Papua New Guinea, moved to Sydney as a child, and worked as a stockman in Queensland before finally studying fine arts and music. In addition to being one of Australia’s most highly regarded children’s book creators, he is also a musician and composer. He has illustrated over 20 children’s books, including Luke’s Way of Looking (text Nadia Wheatley); Requiem for a Beast: a Work for Image, Word and Music (text Matt Ottley); Home and Away (text John Marsden); and Tree: A Little Story about Big Things (text Danny Parker). Teacup was winner of the Patricia Wrightson Award 2016 (NSW Premier’s Awards).

Every two years an Advisory Panel of three children’s literature experts makes the selection from all books published in the period. These outstanding books become Australia’s representative books in a travelling exhibition of about 150 international titles. The exhibition will be shown at the IBBY Congress in Athens in 2018, at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and in many other countries.

Contact:

Dr Robin Morrow AM

National President

IBBY Australia Inc

Email: robin.morrow@wordsandphrases.com.au

Tel: +61 (0)2 9484 1904                                                                     10 October 2017