Fall 2016, Vol. 36, No. 3
ISSN 1704-6033
En français

Letter from the Editor

Fall has brought a flurry of activity for IBBY Canada, and we’ve got many exciting initiatives to share with you in this issue of the newsletter. Tickets are now on sale for the Cleaver Art Raffle, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award. The two winning prizes are illustrations from the picture books Once Upon a Northern Night (Groundwood Books, 2013) and Virginia Wolf (Kids Can Press, 2012), signed by Cleaver Award–winning artist Isabelle Arsenault.

IBBY Canada had several members in attendance at the IBBY Congress in Auckland, New Zealand, in late August. We’ve got reports from Theo Heras and Catherine Mitchell about their Congress experiences.

Back home in Canada, the Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence Program is underway at Edmonton Public Library. We have a recap of the launch event with this year’s illustrator in residence, Dianna Bonder. We’ve also been at The Word on the Street in Halifax and Toronto to promote IBBY Canada’s work. You can read all about it in the Regional Reports East and Ontario.

Happy reading!

Katie Scott, Newsletter Editor

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President’s Report 

Hello IBBY Canada friends,

As we approach the end of 2016, I am once again so impressed by the amount accomplished by all the dedicated members of IBBY Canada. Here are just a very few of the activities completed or in process:

• Deborah Ellis has been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

• the Hans Christian Andersen nomination dossier is well underway

• Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith (Groundwood Books, 2015), this year’s recipient of the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award, will be celebrated at CANSCAIP’s Packaging Your Imagination conference on November 19,, 2016, in Toronto

Without dedicated volunteers like Stephanie Dror, longtime IBBY supporter and, most recently, Membership Secretary, this work just couldn’t get done. And that is why it is hard to announce that Stephanie has stepped down as Membership Secretary because of the pressure of other responsibilities. She will be missed — and I know we all send her our heartfelt thanks and best wishes!

We will be announcing a new Membership Secretary in the next few weeks, but even with that position filled, there is always more to be done. If you would like to volunteer to help with any IBBY Canada activities, please feel free to contact me or any other member of the board.

With best wishes,

– Sheila Barry, President

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Regional Report East

Jane Baskwill, IBBY Canada’s Regional Councillor East, at The Halifax Word On The Street on September 17, 2016. Photo courtesy of Jane Baskwill.
Jane Baskwill, IBBY Canada’s Regional Councillor East, at Halifax’s The Word On The Street on September 17, 2016. Photo courtesy of Jane Baskwill.

Once again The Word On The Street, which took place on Saturday, September 17, was housed in the Halifax Central Library on Spring Garden Road. The IBBY Canada booth was located on the first floor, just inside the main entrance. We were in the company of several other non-profit organizations. However, due to an unforeseen error, IBBY Canada was omitted from the catalogue. Nevertheless, this year there seemed to be an increase in attendees, and more people found their way inside to visit the displays.

We gave away 75 colourful notepads (with a sticker on the back with the IBBY logo and website) and pencils, a hit with the children (and adults). A brochure, highlighting the work of IBBY and the Children in Crisis Fund was also distributed to all who dropped by. Former members were reminded about renewing membership and others were encouraged to consider joining. This was a wonderful opportunity to talk about IBBY and its work. The public was mostly interested in hearing more about the Children in Crisis Fund. They were directed to the website (on the brochure), where they could find out about making a donation.

– Jane Baskwill, Regional Councillor East

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Regional Report Ontario

IBBY Canada volunteers at Toronto’s The Word On The Street on September 25, 2016. From left to right: Lesley Clement, Katie Scott, Grace Andrews. Photo courtesy of Theo Heras.
IBBY Canada volunteers at Toronto’s The Word On The Street on September 25, 2016. From left to right: Lesley Clement, Katie Scott, Grace Andrews. Photo courtesy of Theo Heras.

Hundreds of book lovers were out enjoying the balmy weather and beautiful venue on September 25, 2016, for this year’s The Word On The Street at Harbourfront, Toronto. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped set up, take down, and man the booth throughout the day: Theo Heras, Helena Aalto, Katie Scott, Frances Gao, Grace Andrews, Yvette Ghione, Mary Beth Leatherdale, and Leigh Turina.

An event to put in your calendar is the 23rd Biennial Congress of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature (IRSCL) being hosted by York University from July 29 to August 2, 2017. The multidisciplinary theme of the Congress is Possible & Impossible Children: Intersections of Children’s Literature & Childhood Studies, which will be of interest to librarians, educators, advocates, publishers, writers, researchers — indeed, anyone engaged in childhood studies. Proposals for papers and panels are due November 15, 2016. Visit their website for more information.

– Lesley Clement, Regional Councillor Ontario

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Regional Report West

While there has not been a lot happening in Vancouver (or BC at large) where IBBY is concerned, there is still a lot happening with children’s literature in general.

Although I first attended an IBBY Congress in Mexico City in 2014, this past August in Auckland, New Zealand, was my first time attending as an official part of the IBBY Canada board. The overall experience was very positive, giving me a chance to meet with colleagues, old and new. I was able to connect with a number of new people as well, from other countries and IBBY sections. A few highlights included the opening ceremonies, which incorporated traditional Maori greetings and a haka performed by a number of young people from schools throughout New Zealand, highlighting different traditions from various cultural backgrounds. Another highlight was attending the World Finals of the Kids’ Lit Quiz in which Canada had a team from University of Toronto School (UTS). Team Canada made a valiant effort and they had a lot of support in the audience that night. Attending the General Assembly was also an eye-opening experience, and I had the opportunity to become better acquainted with the business of running IBBY and taking part in the larger decisions around governance. It was a great experience, and it definitely didn’t hurt that it took place in such a beautiful location!

In September, we saw a great turnout for the Word Vancouver festival, celebrating books and reading. There were many venues around Vancouver, but the bulk of children’s literature events happened at and around the Vancouver Public Library. Local authors, including graduates of the MA in Children’s Literature from the University of British Columbia, did readings and participated in other activities and book signings. The event was a great one, and brought together many fans and creators of literature for young people.

In October, the Association for Research in Cultures of Young People held an academic conference on youth literature and reading. At the same time, the Vancouver Writers Festival was held from October 17–23 and was a site for readings and activities with children’s and young adult literature authors from across Canada. This was an opportunity to spread the word about IBBY Canada to a larger contingent and show them the hard work that we are doing.

As always, I am open to hearing from people across BC and hope to work on more events with IBBY throughout my time as Regional Councillor West.

– Rob Bittner, Regional Councillor West

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Dianna Bonder Kicks Off Residency at EPL

Dianna Bonder at the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts, as part of the 2016 Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence Program. Photo courtesy of Merle Harris.
Dianna Bonder at the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts, as part of the 2016 Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence Program. Photo courtesy of Merle Harris.

After a two-day journey from Gabriola Island, British Columbia, narrowly missing high winds in BC and heavy snowfall in Alberta, Dianna Bonder and her two daughters were warmly welcomed at a reception on Monday, October 17 to celebrate the beginning of her month-long residency at Edmonton Public Library (EPL).

Dianna’s original art, as well as some storyboards, were on display on a large wall leading to the program room, and more of her art and books provided a backdrop to the proceedings.

Edmonton Public Library’s CEO, Pilar Martinez welcomed 15 guests; Robert and Laura Young (Joanne Fitzgerald’s husband and daughter); and Dianna and her daughters, Ekko and Niko. She said how excited EPL was to be collaborating with IBBY Canada in offering this unique program in Edmonton.

Robert Young talked about Joanne and of her love of illustrating children’s books and getting out to meet her readers. He is delighted at the success of the program, now in its fourth year, and looks forward to its continued success.

Artwork created during Dianna Bonder’s workshop at the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts. Photo courtesy of Merle Harris.
Artwork created during Dianna Bonder’s workshop at the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts. Photo courtesy of Merle Harris.

Dianna talked about her delight in being chosen as this year’s illustrator in residence and how thrilled she was to be joining EPL for the month. She looks forward to working alongside both accomplished and aspiring artists in Edmonton in the coming month. She thanked Robert Young, IBBY Canada, and EPL for this opportunity.

Later in the evening, Dianna presented a workshop on classical illustration versus contemporary illustration to an audience of 25, talking about how illustration style affects a story and its reader.

In her first week, Dianna presented four hands-on workshops, titled “Learning to Draw the Easy Way,” to elementary students, as well as two one-on-one portfolio reviews at the Stanley A. Milner Library.

Friday morning found Dianna at the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts, a collective of professional artists who have developmental disabilities, where an enthusiastic group learned how to tell a story through the use of colour and shape.

– Merle Harris, Joanne Fitzgerald Illustrator in Residence Coordinator and Regional Councillor Alberta

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Cleaver Art Raffle

IBBY Canada is please to announce that tickets are now available to purchase for the Cleaver Art Raffle. The raffle celebrates the 30th anniversary of Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award, which recognizes outstanding artistic talent in a Canadian picture book.


1st PRIZE: original cover art from Once Upon a Northern Night (Groundwood Books, 2013), signed by Isabelle Arsenault


2nd PRIZE: Giclée print from Virginia Wolf (Kids Can Press, 2012), signed by Isabelle Arsenault

Tickets are $25 CAD and can be purchased:

(1) online through IBBY Canada’s website

(2) in-person from Sheila Barry, Mariella Bertelli, Robert Bittner, Theo Heras, and Katie Scott

(3) at CANSCAIP’s Packaging Your Imagination conference on Saturday, November 19

Tickets will be available to purchase until November 30, 2016. The raffle is open to residents of Canada and the United States.

For further information, please contact:

Katie Scott
Newsletter Editor
IBBY Canada

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REMINDER: Call for Submissions for the 2016 Cleaver Award

We’d like to remind publishers that IBBY Canada is now accepting submissions for the 2016 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award. This award is given to a Canadian illustrator in recognition of outstanding artistic talent in a Canadian picture book in English or French, published in the 2016 calendar year.

Visit the IBBY Canada website for submission guidelines. The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2016.

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Call for Proposals: 2016 Frances E. Russell Grant

IBBY Canada is now accepting proposals for the 2016 Frances E. Russell Grant. The $1,000 grant is intended to support IBBY Canada’s mission to initiate and encourage research in young people’s literature in all its forms and is given in support of research for a publishable work (a book or a paper) on Canadian children’s literature.

The following materials are required: a proposal, a curriculum vitae, a synopsis of methods and stages by which the applicant will pursue the research, and a summary of what the funds are to be used for. The competition is open to Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Please send proposals as email attachments to: Deirdre Baker, Frances E. Russell Grant Chair, at russell@ibby-canada.org.

Proposals can also be sent by mail to:

IBBY Canada
c/o The Canadian Children’s Book Centre
Suite 217, 40 Orchard View Blvd.
Toronto, ON M4R 1B9
Attention: Deirdre Baker, Frances E. Russell Grant Chair

The deadline for the Frances E. Russell Grant is January 15, 2017.

For more information on criteria, please visit the IBBY Canada website.

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Aboriginal Literature and Identity: Research Recap from the 2015 Russell Grant

Erin Spring, recipient of the 2015 Russell Grant. Photo courtesy of Don Spring.
Erin Spring, recipient of the 2015 Russell Grant. Photo courtesy of Don Spring.

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Child and Youth Studies at the University of Lethbridge. I was the 2015 recipient of IBBY Canada’s Frances E. Russell Grant. The grant has helped to fund my current reader response project with 10 Blackfoot youth, ages 12 and 13, who live on a reserve in southern Alberta.

Through reading discussion groups and the creation of place-journals, containing visual entries such as maps, I am looking at the ways in which my participants perceive of and represent their social, cultural, and place-based identities within and beyond a series of texts, including picture books, graphic novels, and fiction. Over the past year, we have read and discussed several Indigenous texts, including one set on their reserve. I am coming to understand the ways in which the act of reading is allowing these youth to think critically about their lives and identities — especially when their experiences are made visible on the page, often for the very first time.

As a non-First Nations researcher, it has been a rewarding experience to work with youth who do not necessarily share my cultural background or worldview. As I am an outsider on the reserve, I am continually reminded of the importance of ensuring that my research is youth-centred and focused on the lives and values of my participants and their community. Part of my IBBY funding was spent taking my participants on a book tour of Lethbridge, where we visited used bookstores, the comic book shop, and the local public library. Each student left with a library card in hand.

I am disseminating my findings both in peer-reviewed, international journals of children’s literature and childhood studies, and to non-academic audiences. This summer I presented my work at two conferences, including the Children’s Literature Association’s conference in Ohio, where I was on the Visualizing Diversity sponsored panel.

I am grateful to IBBY Canada for their generous funding!

– Erin Spring, recipient of the 2015 Frances E. Russell Grant

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Call for Nominations: 2016 Claude Aubry Award

IBBY Canada is now inviting nominations for the 2016 Claude Aubry Award.

IBBY Canada presents two Claude Aubry Awards biennially: one for distinguished service within the field of Canadian children’s literature in English and one for distinguished service within the field of Canadian children’s literature in French. Eligible nominees include authors, publishers, illustrators, translators, designers, editors, librarians, booksellers, teachers, or any individuals who have made a significant contribution to Canadian children’s literature.

The deadline for 2016 Claude Aubry Award nominations, which may be submitted in English or in French, is January 10, 2016.

Nominations should include a short biographical profile of the nominee, highlighting his or her contributions. Please send nominations to Shannon Babcock, Claude Aubry Award Chair, at aubry@ibby-canada.org. A jury, appointed by IBBY Canada, will select two Claude Aubry Award winners to be announced at the Annual Meeting of Members in 2017.

About the Claude Aubry Award
Claude Aubry, director of the Ottawa Public Library from 1953 until his retirement in 1979, was also an award-winning children’s book author and translator who travelled nationally and internationally to promote his own work and that of other Canadian authors. Aubry was named to the Order of Canada and made an officer of the Ordre International du Bien Public (France). To recognize his many achievements, IBBY Canada established the Claude Aubry Award in his honour in 1981. Previous recipients include Patsy Aldana, Marie-Louise Gay, Andrea Deakin, Chantal Vaillancourt, Dave Jenkinson, Charlotte Guérette, Peter Carver, Catherine Mitchell, Bertrand Gauthier, and Michael Solomon. For a complete list and biographical information about previous award winners, please visit our website.

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Deborah Ellis: 2017 ALMA Nominee

deborah_ellisIBBY Canada is please to announce that Deborah Ellis has been selected as a nominee for the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA).

With the publication of The Breadwinner in 2001 (Groundwood Books), Deborah Ellis opened the eyes of publishers and writers in the West to the possibilities and need for honest, engaging and beautifully written stories about children in developing countries — countries at war, countries under duress where children do not have access to their basic rights. The international success of The Breadwinner, with publication in 25 languages, opened the door for many other writers, from both outside and inside these countries, to tell their own stories and introduce their books to audiences around the world.

In the 15 years since The Breadwinner was published, Deborah Ellis has continued to write books about marginalized children living around the world — from Bolivia to Malawi, India to Israel — the situations of refugee children, the homeless and Indigenous children, in North America and abroad.

About the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
The world’s largest children’s and youth literature award, the ALMA is presented to authors, illustrators, oral storytellers, and those active in reading promotion work. The award may be presented to a single recipient or to several, regardless of language or nationality. The award of five million Swedish krona (approx. $750,000 CAD) is the second-largest literature prize in the world. IBBY Canada’s past nominees include the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Jean Little, Sarah Ellis, and Banco del Libro de Venezuela (the 2007 winner).

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2016 IBBY Honour List

The IBBY Honour List is a biennial selection of outstanding, recently published books, honouring writers, illustrators, and translators from IBBY member countries. These highly regarded titles represent some of the world’s best in children’s literature.

The 2016 IBBY Honour List comprises 173 nominations in 48 different languages from 57 countries. You can find the full list, including the three Canadian selections, on the IBBY website.

The following video was shown at the IBBY Honour List presentation at the IBBY Congress in Auckland, New Zealand, on August 19, 2016:

The full list of books will be on exhibit at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2017.

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35th IBBY International Congress

Auckland, New Zealand (Aotearoa), August 18–21, 2016

Kia Ora (Welcome).

Delegates to the 35th IBBY International Congress heard this Maori greeting and returned it often in the four days they celebrated children’s books in Auckland. The New Zealand hosts seemed genuinely overjoyed to be welcoming 445 delegates representing over 60 countries.

Morning registration for the Congress was a cheerful chore despite most of us being severely jetlagged. Coffee was abundantly available. Each delegate received a bag that included the Congress handbook and a personal letter from a New Zealand school student, some handwritten and some typed. An efficient registration seems to be a minor point to mention, but when you’ve travelled several thousand miles over 20+ hours, it is a small and welcome blessing.

Delegates were greeted each morning with coffee and fruit. Tea times were twice a day and good for shaking off the fatigue and meeting other delegates. Lunches were a casual affair, served cafeteria-style in the Aotea Centre foyer. This allowed for mingling with other delegates and viewing the many displays and poster exhibits while nibbling on sandwiches, salads, fruit, and beverages.

Haka welcome to open the 2016 Congress. Photo courtesy of Catherine Mitchell.
Haka welcome to open the 2016 Congress. Photo courtesy of Catherine Mitchell.

The Congress began on Thursday morning at the Aotea Centre auditorium, with a moving traditional Maori welcome called a Pōwhiri, which has seven distinct parts, concluding with Hongi (pressing of the noses). Music and pageantry filled the room as students from Bairds Mainfreight School, dressed in costumes representing five Polyneisan tribes in the South Pacific, performed a stirring kapa haka (which consists of choral singing, dance, and combat movements).

Highlights of Congress

Each day was full from morning through evening with plenary sessions and workshops. It was difficult to choose which session to attend. Every one of them had something of interest to offer. Highlights of the Congress include:

  • New Zealand author Joy Cowley who both welcomed and bid delegates goodbye at the Congress.
  • A conversation between Leonard Marcus and Julia Eccleshare, and moderated by Kate De Goldi called “There is no such thing as a children’s book.”
  • A slide presentation of the 2016 IBBY Honour List. IBBY Canada’s honourees are: writer Teresa Toten for The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B (Doubleday Canada, 2013), illustrator Marianne Dubuc for Le lion et l’oiseau (Éditions de la Pastèque, 2013), and translators Susan Ouriou and Christelle Morelli for Jane, the Fox & Me, written by Fanny Britt and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Groundwood Books, 2013).
  • Sir Richard Taylor and Martin Baynton and their work at WETA Workshops (responsible for films such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Narnia Chronicles, and others) talking about developing children’s books for television and film. Paraphrasing Douglas Adams (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy), Taylor said success is to “throw yourself at failure and miss.”
  • Maori author Witi Ihimaera, the author of The Whale Rider, discussing the ways storytelling has evolved from oral to written to visual.
  • Markus Zusak, the author of The Book Thief, relating through family stories, how his internationally acclaimed novel came into being.
  • And just seeing Katherine Paterson, distinguished author and Andersen winner!

IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award

On Thursday evening, Read with Me from Iran and Big Brother Mouse from Laos, the winners of the 2016 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award, were honoured. Short video presentations of the projects highlighted their work. (Click here for the acceptance speech from Read with Me.)

Beginning in 2010, Read with Me has worked to make quality books accessible to disadvantaged children in marginal areas of big cities and those living in remote and deprived areas of Iran. It trains teachers, librarians, and volunteers, and sets up small libraries to sustain their work. Read with Me now reaches more than 13,000 children throughout the country.

In 2006, Big Brother Mouse started producing books for children in Laos, a country where books have been rare. More than producing books, Big Brother Mouse creates books to make reading fun. Many books are in Lao and others are in Lao and English. The organization is developing methods of distributing books in Laos.

In all, nine projects were nominated for the 2016 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award, including the Vermont Square Parent-Child Mother Goose Program in Toronto.

Kids’ Lit Quiz International Finals

On Friday night, delegates were invited to attend the Kids’ Lit Quiz International Finals. Kids’ Lit Quiz is the brainchild of New Zealand educator Wayne Mills and began in 1991. Now teams from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States compete locally and nationally with the winning national team representing its country at the finals. New Zealand’s team from Wellesley College won the top prize. University of Toronto School (UTS) from Toronto was among the eight finalists, but missed out on winning one of the three trophies. The 2017 Kids’ Lit Quiz finals will be held in Toronto next June.

Hans Christian Andersen Award Ceremony

Saturday night was the semi-formal Hans Christian Andersen banquet at Shed 10, Queen’s Wharf, where delegates were treated to beautiful surroundings and a sumptuous meal. Unfortunately illustrator winner Rotraut Susanne Berner from Germany could not attend, but sent a video to thank IBBY. Showcasing Berner’s whimsical style, the animated short follows Karlchen, a character featured in Berner’s books, as he flies from Germany to New Zealand to accept the award on her behalf. The video highlights Berner’s interest in telling stories without words and combining realism with fantasy.

Author winner Cao Wenxuan from China delivered a heart-warming thank-you. Cao is both an author and a professor of Chinese and children’s literature. His books are humanistic, evoking poetic landscapes and depicting the dilemmas that children face in their daily lives in their quest for identity.

Closing Day

Sunday morning meant the meeting of the General Assembly and voting on the new Executive Committee and other IBBY business matters. Patsy Aldana was re-elected as President of the Andersen Jury.

The Congress was well organized. The four levels of the Aotea Centre were perfect spaces for the many exhibits: Hans Christian Andersen materials, IBBY Honour List books, Disabilities Collection, poster displays, and exhibitors and publisher displays. A poignant slideshow of the life of beloved New Zealand author Margaret Mahy ran continuously.

The closing ceremony was as culturally rich as the opening. It featured Joy Cowley’s Story of New Zealand. Choirs from three New Zealand Schools entertained delegates with traditional and contemporary songs. IBBY President Wally de Doncker reminded the delegates of the great disparity in the world and that the work of IBBY is as necessary as ever. Last, but not least, the organizers of the 36th IBBY Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, invited delegates to join them in 2018.

Rob Bittner, IBBY Canada Councillor West; Patsy Aldana, President of the Andersen Jury; Theo Heras, IBBY Canada Second Vice- President; Catherine Mitchell, IBBY Canada Past President. Photo courtesy of Catherine Mitchell.
Rob Bittner, IBBY Canada Councillor West; Patsy Aldana, President of the Andersen Jury; Theo Heras, IBBY Canada Second Vice-President; Catherine Mitchell, IBBY Canada Past President. Photo courtesy of Catherine Mitchell.

Seven Canadians attended the Congress: Patsy Aldana, President of the Andersen Jury, hosted the Andersen evening. Kathy Knowles, a past IBBY-Asahi recipient for her work in Ghana, presented her paper “Engaging Readers through Culturally Appropriate Books;” Dr. Richard Gooding from the Univerity of British Columbia presented a paper on Richard Scrimger’s book Into the Ravine (Tundra Books, 2007). Rob Bittner, IBBY Canada Regional Councillor West presented his paper “Arousal Is Not Consent: Examining Sexual Abuse in Althea & Oliver and Live through This.” Rounding out the Canadian delegation were Catherine Mitchell, Past President of IBBY Canada; Anita Miettunen from Vancouver; and Theo Heras, IBBY Canada Second Vice-President.

Each Congress has its own personality and energy. The Auckland Congress was an exuberant one. People were kind and generous and curious. On a personal note, though not officially on the program, I learned that it is possible to build a relationship between Indigenous people (tāngata whenua — people of the land — as the Maori people call themselves) and the European settlers (or Pakeha, in Maori) that is equal and respectful. I think that this is an excellent lesson to take from any IBBY Congress.

– Theo Heras, Second Vice-President

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Kia Ora: A Pre-Congress Welcome in Auckland

Catherine Mitchell taking a moment in the famed Margaret Mahy chair, which does loom large in the Parnell office of the National Library of New Zealand. Comfy! Photo courtesy of Catherine Mitchell.
Catherine Mitchell taking a moment in the famed Margaret Mahy chair, which does loom large in the Parnell office of the National Library of New Zealand. Comfy! Photo courtesy of Catherine Mitchell.

Kia Ora, IBBY Friend.”

“Hello, Welcome.” This was the greeting from nine-year-old Ethan. His handwritten letter was the first thing I found in my delegate package. “I love reading and my favourite book is called Geronimo Stilton … I hope you have a wonderful time in New Zealand!” Welcome, indeed, Ethan.

I opted to take in a pre-Congress library tour as I had heard many great things about their support for libraries and the importance of school librarians. At eight o’clock on my first real day, we met at the waterside to get on buses that visited three school libraries and one public library, with lunch at the National Library, Services to Schools. And a full day it was, led by author Trish Gribben, an intrepid guide for the day who pointed out sights in and around Auckland as we travelled the city.

Imagine the delight in being greeted by the famous Maori haka from students at Somerville Intermediate School, Howick. Described as a co-ed state school for students ages 11–13 (years 7 and 8), the school is built around the concept of a street, with classes and the library on either side. Sunshine streamed into the library, which was filled with lots of books. Students were sprawled around the room looking engaged, often working in pairs and small groups on projects. This was a wonderful start to the day.

From there it was on to Bailey Road School, another co-ed state school for students ages 5–13 (years 0–8). This school has close to 500 students from 19 ethnic groups. The remodelled library opened a few months ago after much community consultation. It is vibrant and inviting for students and their parents and is well used by both.

New Zealand has a history of nationwide service to schools, very different from the role of Canada’s national library in Gatineau. “A unique service established 75 years ago to ensure access to children’s books for all schools, the service has continued to support literacy, learning and school library development across New Zealand through lending services, professional development and online resources and support.” That says it all, but with a country population the size of Toronto, it is easier to understand how this might evolve and be achieved. After a great presentation and a delicious box lunch, we had time to tour the offices and speak to staff about their particular role in selecting materials.

Poster of Deborah Ellis’s novels on display at the Carmel College library. Photo courtesy of Catherine Mitchell.
Poster of Deborah Ellis’s novels on display at the Carmel College library. Photo courtesy of Catherine Mitchell.

Carmel College is a Catholic girls’ secondary school with over 1,000 students ages 11–17 (years 8–13). Another bright, welcoming space greeted us. Students were articulate and encouraging of questions about their work and library use. As I turned to ask the librarian if she had any Canadian authors in the collection, my eye caught this poster of Deborah Ellis’s novels, all published by Allen & Unwin in New Zealand, including her bestselling Breadwinner trilogy from Groundwood Books, and one from Pajama Press. How wonderful!

– Catherine Mitchell, IBBY Canada Past President

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Holiday Giving in Support of IBBY Canada

The holidays are just around the corner. This season, in lieu of gifts consider making a donation to IBBY Canada on behalf of your loved ones.

By making a holiday donation to IBBY’s various funds, you are realizing Jella Lepman’s vision of promoting peace through children’s literature. IBBY Canada is completely volunteer-run, and we are often the only Canadian nominating body for prestigious international awards, such as the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Your support means Canadian creators of children’s literature have a chance at international recognition. Other funds allow us to support Canadian creators or scholars directly with prize money, ensuring they are able to continue their culturally important work.

You can customize your gift by directing the donation to a particular fund, such as the Children in Crisis Fund, which provides support for children whose lives have been disrupted through war, civil disorder or natural disaster. To do so, simply add a note at checkout to indicate which fund you would like to support.

Donations can be made online on the IBBY Canada website. You will receive a charitable tax receipt for your donation.

Happy holidays!

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Upcoming Events

November 19, 2016 (TORONTO): Join us a CANSCAIP’s Packaging Your Imagination conference for the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Cleaver Award. In addition to the 2015 Cleaver Award presentation, we will be selling tickets for the Cleaver Art Raffle.

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IBBY Canada Newsletter

Editor: Katie Scott

Copy editor (English): Meghan Howe

Formatter: Camilia Kahrizi

Banner design: Martha Newbigging

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