The IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award, initiated by the International Board on Books for Young People and sponsored by the Japanese newspaper company the Asahi Shimbun, is presented to projects run by groups or institutions that are judged to be making a lasting contribution to reading promotion for children and young people.
The Award is given every two years to two projects and presented to the winners at the biennial IBBY Congress. It was a difficult task for the current jury to choose two winners from the fourteen nominations as all the projects were of great merit and complemented IBBY's Mission Statement. Each nominated project targeted children who live in disadvantageous circumstances with no or little access to books. They are really Reading Promotion Projects!
The projects nominated for the 2014 IBBY-Asahi Award were:
- International Book Art Festival: Back to Book, Yerevan; proposed by IBBY Armenia
- The Children's Book Bank, Toronto; proposed by IBBY Canada
- ATD Quart Monde: Street Libraries, International; proposed by IBBY France
- Room to Read, International; proposed by IBBY Germany
- The Travelling Library: Knowledge Beyond, Piraeus; proposed by IBBY Greece
- Le Biblioteche di Antonio, Rome; proposed by IBBY Italy
- Palabra en la Monta�a, Tepoztl�n, Morelos; proposed by IBBY Mexico
- Voice Keeper Children of the Forest, Lamas; proposed by IBBY Peru
- The All-Poland Tactile Book Library, Lublin; proposed by IBBY Poland
- The Reading Badge Crossing Boundaries to all kind of Minorities, National; proposed by IBBY Slovenia
- PRAESA, Cape Town, South Africa; proposed by IBBY Sweden
- Literacy Project, Lake Titicaca, Peru; proposed by IBBY USA
- The Sullivan Literacy Center, Valdosta, GA; proposed by IBBY USA
- BBVA Provincial Foundation Papagayo Program, Caracas; proposed by IBBY Venezuela
After an intensive discussion the jury made its choice from these fourteen projects, we are pleased to announce that the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Awards for 2014 go to:
The Children's Book Bank
PRAESA, South Africa
The Children's Book Bank was founded in 2007 in Toronto with the mission of supporting children's literacy by recycling gently used children's books and distributing them, free of charge, to children living in high-needs neighbourhoods. The area where the Book Bank is located is one of Toronto's high density / low income neighbourhoods. It is also the first home to many new Canadians. There are 102 nationalities within a two kilometres radius of the Book Bank!
The Book Bank operates like a bookstore, but with one big difference: the books are free to children. There is no membership, registration or fee of any kind at the Book Bank. On each visit children are permitted to choose and take home to keep one book. They are encouraged to visit frequently and to build their own home libraries, which supports the development of book-reading activities, as well as a love of reading.
We selected the Children's Book Bank as one of this year's winners because it is a very simple system of book recycling, which in addition to getting books into the hands of children, effectively uses the skills of retired librarians and teachers. This idea has the possibility to be expanded and replicated in many places.
PRAESA: The Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa, PRAESA is an independent unit for research and development, attached to the faculty of Humanities at the University of Cape Town. PRAESA was established in 1992 having emerged from the struggle against apartheid education.
PRAESA organizes various projects for development of bilingualism and bi-literacy in early childhood education, as well as running activities developed to raise the status of African languages in society.
It lobbies for language policy in education, especially the area of language policy within the education policy, and implementation at national and provincial government levels. Its focus is on a well-run mother tongue based bilingual system, that provides the best of both words for all children, where teachers and children communicate in a language they command and understand.
Currently PRAESA is researching how e-tablets can be used as tools to increase the stock of mother tongue reading materials, for the multilingual classroom and community. They are doing further studies to work out in which conditions e-tablets can be best used to help motivate and support reading for enjoyment.
PRAESA's activities are in agreement with the basic philosophy of IBBY in that they value the child's mother tongue. Their study of how to incorporate new media, such as tablets, is unique as a research and development programme focusing on bi-literacy and bilingualism in early childhood education.
This is the third time an organization in South Africa has won the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award. As the 2014 winner, the PRAESA projects and activities are especially significant because this year is the 20th anniversary of the abolition of apartheid.
IBBY warmly congratulates these two outstanding projects for their creative and effective approaches to helping children enter the world of books and reading.
The 2014 jury comprised:
Jury Chair Kiyoko Matsuoka (Japan), Marilar Aleixandre (Spain), Hasmig Chahinian (France), Nadia El Kholy (Egypt), Azucena Galindo (Mexico), Linda Pavonetti (USA) and Timotea Vrablova (Slovakia).
The prize money of US $10,000 for each winning project will be presented at the 34th IBBY Congress in Mexico City, at a special festive occasion on Friday, 12 September 2014 at the Papalote Children's Museum in Mexico City.
The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organization that represents an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together. It represents countries with well-developed book publishing and literacy programmes, and other countries with only a few dedicated professionals who are doing pioneer work in children's book publishing and promotion.
Bologna, 24 March 2014 / Kiyoko Matsuoka