Unmasking the Wild

An auction and exhibition of masks by Australian Children’s Book Illustrators was launched at the Geelong Regional Library on Friday, 6th May, and will be open until July 3.  This unique collection of masks, collectively titled Unmasking the Wild, created by 22 of Australia’s talented children’s illustrators, was unveiled for the first time at The Masked Ball extravaganza in Melbourne to celebrate the end of the 30 year journey for Isobelle Carmody and her legion of faithful readers,  that was The Red Queen, the last in the Obernewtyn Chronicles.

All of the masks will be available for sale by auction online to raise funds for two charities:

The auction site is available online.

Syrian Children’s Bibliotherapy Project in Lebanon 2016

This is a continuation of the project implemented in 2013.  The success of that project was impressive and since the influx of refugees into Lebanon has increased the need has become even greater.A picture of Syrian children lined up in a classroom in Lebanon

IBBY Lebanon (LBBY) submitted a request to the Lebanese Ministry of Education to secure permission for implementing the Bibliotherapy project in two public schools that accommodate Syrian children. A group of 15 teachers from the Shakib Irslan Public School were trained in the use of the programme.   Four teachers were selected to proceed with the project along with one coordinator.   One hundred children were recruited from the school. Attendance was very encouraging and there was very little absence.

In March this year, a new session began in the school with a new group of 80 children, four teachers and a Coordinator.   This will go through mid-May, The programme runs for four hours every Saturday, the children’s day off from school, from 8:00- 12:00, with a break of half an hour and a snack.

Julinda Abu Nasr who is the leader of the project, is present during the sessions and moves from one classroom to the next observing the children’s behavior and listening to their trials and tribulations. She wrote, “I also observe the performance of the teachers who are trying their best to change their authoritarian approach to teaching and learn to listen rather than talk.  At the end of each session I sit down with the teachers and together we evaluate the session. I give some of my time to work with individual children who need more attention than others.”

The Ministry of Education sends delegates from their Guidance and Counseling office to observe and check on our work.  They were so pleased with the programme that they asked if their personnel could also be trained in its use.

As in previous groups, the children are reporting horror stories of experiences they have been exposed to of severe violence on them, their families, friends, towns, villages, schools.  A new trend in children’s behavior is the use of knives to hurt others.  If knives are not available they use well-sharpened pencils to hit other children with.  The anger, hate, bitterness, aggression and anxiety are so apparent and intense in these children’s behavior.  Fighting over a ball can create a serious problem: a few children who are playing ball in a group may end up wounded or bruisedPicture of children reading together.

It is rewarding to learn of the changes in their behavior on the playground, in the classroom, and even at home. At the beginning their immediate reactions in all situations were to hit, kick, curse, use foul language, snatch what they want, stab with a knife or a pencil or any sharp tool they get hold of, but after a few sessions you see a dramatic change in their social skills.   Parents are reporting change in the children’s behavior at home as well. The parents are very supportive of the programme.  Although the sessions take place in the children’s free time, they insist on coming and the parents cooperate in sending them even though there is no form of transportation for them.

Julinda goes on to say, “There is no doubt in my mind that the work we are doing with these children is lighting a candle in the dark tunnel they have had to cross too early in life. I am sure the love they are given, the opportunity to express themselves in a variety of means, the possibility of meeting characters in books who set examples of good behavior, the privilege of being heard and sympathized with are all saving them from the danger of harping the anger and hate in their burdened souls that may lead them into crime and misbehavior in the future.  This program is helping them deal with their hate and anger by trying to channel these negative destructive feelings into more positive venues rather than directing it towards self or others.”

We need to continue this worthwhile project.  The crisis in Syria is not over and there is no sign that it will be any time soon.  These children continue to flee their homes and continue to have difficulties in returning to their childhood.  This project shows how careful training and group sessions can help them get their emotions and thus their lives back.  It is a small project that has potential to grow throughout the school system reaching many more children in need.  With your support IBBY will be able to continue to fund this work.

Funding from IBBY: The appeal first launched in 2013 has raised USD 45,575 to date. Funds sent to Lebanon to date:  USD 44,900

IBBY Australia Ena Noël Award 2016 Announced

IBBY Australia’s Ena Noël Award is an encouragement award for a young, emerging writer or illustrator. The panel of three judges is happy to announce that this year’s winner is: Writing Clementine by Kate Gordon (Allen & Unwin).

Year 9 student Clementine Darcy is finding life challenging. Her friends want her to diet and exercise more, to emulate fashion models; her brother has become a recluse and locks himself in his room; her mother is preoccupied with being a high profile lawyer; and her beloved older sister is not as perfect as Clementine had thought. And then there’s a new male student who is odd and secretive and somehow makes her question many assumptions.

Writing Clementine is a refreshing and multi-layered story about the lives of believable young people. Although set in North West Tasmania, it could be anywhere in regional or suburban Australia. Kate Gordon writes with insight, sensitivity and humour; her fluid style keeps the reader fully involved in Clementine’s story, as she deals with such
problems as female friendships and bullying, and enjoys embarking on new ventures—a burgeoning romance, and the world of steampunk. Clementine declares that she wants ‘to swim, not float like a dead fish’. Many readers will enjoy following her emergence as she learns to do just that.

See the press release for full details.

IBBY members and friends in Western Australia

IBBY Australia’s Golden Anniversary Quiz Night is on International Children’s Book Day, Wednesday 6th April 2016 at the Perth and Tattersalls Bowling Club.

ICBD2016 Western Australia

IBBY quiz night flyer

International Children’s Book Day 2016 featuring Bronwyn Bancroft, Ursula Dubosarsky and Mark McLeod

You’re invited to attend

ONCE UPON A TIME:  A Celebration of 50 Years of IBBY Australia
Saturday 2nd April 2016 | 10 am till 2.30 pm
59 The Boulevarde (cnr Carrington St), Strathfield NSW
Santa Maria del Monte School


  • Dr Mark MacLeod addressing the topic IBBY in the Age of Globalisation
  • Bronwyn Bancroft in conversation with Libby Gleeson AM
  • Ursula Dubosarsky in conversation with Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright

Bronwyn BancroftDubosarsky Ursula C (photo credit Vicki Skarratt 2011)

For full details see the flyer.

Bookings are now open!

IBBY condolences

To the Members and Friends of IBBY

The IBBY community is deeply shocked by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut.  We also remember the attack at the Garissa University in Kenya earlier this year, as well as all the other bombings and indiscriminate attacks taking place around the world.

Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and especially at this time with the members of IBBY France and IBBY Lebanon, and our colleagues in Africa.

The IBBY mission to promote international understanding is more relevant than ever.

With great sadness,

Wally De Doncker    Liz Page
IBBY President         Executive Director

International Board on Books for Young People
Nonnenweg 12
CH-4009 Basel

Entries invited for the Ena Noel Award 2016

IBBY Australia invites publishers to submit their entries for the Ena Noel Award 2016, the IBBY Australia encouragement award for literature for young people.

  • The writer or illustrator should be under 35 years of age in the year in which the work was published.
  • Only books published between 1st July 2013 and 30th June 2015 are eligible.
  • Three copies of the book must be submitted to the book coordinator.
  • The author or illustrator must be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia.

For more information see the Ena Noel Award 2016 Information for Publishers.

Entries close on  30th November 2015.