International Board on Books for Young People

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The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a Swiss non-profit organization based in Zurich committed to bringing books and children together. The headquarters of the IBBY are located in Basel, Switzerland.


In 1952 Jella Lepman organized a meeting in Munich, Germany, called International Understanding through Children’s Books. Many authors, publishers, teachers and philosophers of the time attended the meeting and as a result a committee was appointed to create the International Board on Books for Young People – IBBY.

A year later in 1953, IBBY was registered as a non-profit organization in Zurich, Switzerland. The founding members included: Erich Kästner, Lisa Tetzner, Astrid Lindgren, Jo Tenfjord, Fritz Brunner, Bettina Hürlimann and Richard Bamberger. IBBY established an international award in 1956 and since then the Hans Christian Andersen Award has continued to be awarded every two years.

IBBY has six key aims:

  • to promote international understanding through children's books
  • to give children everywhere the opportunity to have access to books with high literary and artistic standards
  • to encourage the publication and distribution of quality children's books, especially in developing countries
  • to provide support and training for those involved with children and children's literature
  • to stimulate research and scholarly works in the field of children's literature
  • to protect and uphold the Rights of the Child according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

IBBY Organization[edit]

IBBY was founded in Zurich, Switzerland in 1953. Today, it is composed of more than seventy National Sections all over the world, including IBBY Canada, IBBY Ireland, IBBY Australia, and the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY).

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.

IBBY's policies and programmes are determined by its Executive Committee: ten people from different countries and a President, elected biennially by the National Sections at a General Assembly during the IBBY Congresses. They work on a voluntary basis. The daily management of IBBY's affairs is conducted from its Secretariat in Basel, Switzerland.

The annual dues from the National Sections are IBBY's only source of regular income. Independent financing is necessary to support IBBY activities.

As a non-governmental organization with an official status in UNESCO and UNICEF, IBBY has a policy-making role as an advocate of children's books. IBBY is committed to the principles of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the United Nations in 1990. One of its main proclamations is the right of the child to a general education and to direct access to information. Thanks to IBBY’s insistence, the resolution includes an appeal to all nations to promote the production and distribution of children's books.

IBBY also cooperates with many international organizations and children's book institutions around the world and exhibits at the International Children's Book Fair in Bologna and other international book fairs.

National Sections[edit]

The National Sections are organized in many different ways and operate on national, regional and international levels. In countries that do not have a National Section, individual membership in IBBY is possible.

The membership of the National Sections include authors and illustrators, publishers and editors, translators, journalists and critics, teachers, university professors and students, librarians and booksellers, social workers and parents.

76 National Sections include:

World Congresses[edit]

Every second year a National Section is hosting the Congress:

Presidents of IBBY International[edit]

Awards and events[edit]


Bookbird: A Journal of International Children's Literature (ISSN 0006-7377) is a refereed journal published quarterly by IBBY.


External links[edit]