Dear USBBY members,
As you are aware, USBBY is transitioning to a calendar year membership so everyone’s
membership will be from January 1 through December 31. It is now time to renew for 2022. We value your membership during these challenging times, now even more than ever. We look forward to your continued membership in USBBY. Click here to renew.
We are very excited about the IBBY Regional Conference at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, the “Music City.” Vanderbilt requires all attendees to be vaccinated and we will be following all Vanderbilt’s Covid safety protocols. Early bird registration ends December 31 so don’t delay in registering:
As you consider your end-of-year charitable giving, we hope you include a donation to USBBY. A generous anonymous donor will once again match donations up to $1,000 to support USBBY’s Twinning partners. USBBY pays the IBBY dues for the under-funded national sections of El Salvador, Haiti, Lebanon, and Palestine. These are all sections in which children are in crisis. Without the support of USBBY, these national sections would have difficulty surviving. Click here to donate.
Finally, I have been honored to serve as your USBBY president during these two pandemic years. Thank you for your support of USBBY during these difficult times. Tucker Stone takes the reins as president on January 1, 2022.
I wish you a joyous holiday season and all the best in 2022.
Evelyn “Evie” Freeman,
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Vivian Yenika-Agbaw on September 20, 2021. An avid supporter of USBBY, Vivian was a professor of children’s and adolescent literature at Penn State University and an author of African youth literature. She published extensively in the areas of post-colonial, multicultural, disabilities, reader response, and Africana studies. Her single-authored, peer-reviewed, scholarship defined set her as foundational in literary criticism. Her co-edited books, editorial roles for journals, and leadership roles in organizations like USBBY and IRSCL, set her apart as a one who not only moved the field forward but, as one who did so while supporting the scholarship of rising scholars and colleagues alike. As such her work is canonical in the field of literary criticism of African children’s literature.
I first met Vivian at the 2008 IBBY Congress in Denmark where she and her daughter Joy befriended me. Surrounded by images of Hans Christian Anderson in Copenhagen, she was beginning her scholarship on fairytales with a study of The Little Matchstick Girl. She had been, and would remain active in the field of international youth literature through leadership roles in USBBY and IRSCL and service on book award committees such as Children’s Africana Book Award and Notable Books for a Global Society. Our meeting in Copenhagen was the beginning of multiple publications on fairytales for Vivian, one of which I would co-edit, and a life-long friendship that included Ruth Lowery.
A daughter of Cameroon, Vivian remained faithful to her home in her scholarship on African children’s literature, her authorship of youth literature set in Cameroon, and in her sponsorship of a youth library in Cameroon. Like Toni Morrison, Vivian wrote the Cameroonian literature she longed to read as a child. And, like Morrison, Vivian cherished her fiction writing and held it closest to her heart. Normally a shy, humble woman, Vivian’s voice raised and she became animated when she talked about writing fiction, of language use, and of providing children like her with a representation of themselves in literature. It is these books and many, many more that Vivian used to found a youth library in Cameroon. Thus, we see that she promoted international children’s literature in every aspect of her scholarship, teaching, fiction writing, and librarianship.
Vivian leaves behind extended family which includes a husband, three children, and a newborn grandchild. Her mother, sister, brother, here and in Cameroon also mourn her loss. USBBY and the field of youth literary scholarship have lost an ally. We have also lost a beloved friend.
Dean, College of Education
Eastern Illinois University
In case you missed it, the USBBY Annual Membership Meeting was held November 6, 2021.
You are invited to catch up with the latest USBBY events and projects, followed by an inspiring presentation by Enchanted Lion Publishers. Claudia Bedrick, publisher, editor, and art director for Enchanted Lion Publishers, and her team encourage us to embrace the power and importance of making the world's stories a part of our lives, and a part of the lives of the children we nurture and support!
by Brenda Dales
The Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB), is one of the most prestigious and long-standing international competitions for children’s book art. Held every other year in Bratislava, Slovakia, the 28th BIB took place in October, 2021, with virtual participation by the international jury. The BIB awards to illustrators and their books include a Grand Prix, 5 Golden Apples, 5 Plaques, and Honorable Mentions to Publishers.
Participating illustrators are selected by national organizations such as IBBY national sections, and according to BIB criteria the illustrators submit original art from recent picturebooks to the organization in Bratislava. A committee of USBBY members worked with the outstanding and accomplished Raul Colón to submit art from Child of the Universe (written by Ray Jayawardhana, Random House, 2020), and Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine (written by Heather Lang, Calkins Creek, 2016).
The BIB jury selected Elena Odriozola of Spain to receive the Grand Prix for Mixed Feelings. All award winners and additional information can be found in the BIB Press Release. Images from the winning illustrators/books can be found here, along with additional awards such as the Children’s Jury Award and images from previous winners.
The 2021 jury was given the enviable task of examining 2700 illustrations from 380 illustrators representing 42 countries. While the U.S. did not take a prize this time, just being among the competitors was a significant honor for Raul Colón and a shining exemplar of talent from the U.S. Plus, Colón’s illustrations continue to be displayed in subsequent international events (although the main venue, Bratislava Castle, is currently closed for epidemiological reasons).
The BIB is organized under the auspices of IBBY, UNESCO, and with support of the Ministry of Culture, Slovakia, and this year also including the President of the Slovak Republic Zuzana Čaputová.
USBBY looks forward to participating again in 2023.
Teri Lesesne's family announced her passing August 31, 2021: "Teri succumbed to cancer, after a fight for life that she won for many years, at her home surrounded by her sisters, her granddaughters, and her husband. We loved her fiercely and will miss her daily."
Cynthia Leitich Smith, speaker at the 2019 IBBY Regional in Austin, said, “Teri’s commitment to new YA voices made a significant contribution to the conversation of books and to the careers of countless authors like me. I had the pleasure of speaking at her conference at Sam Houston State, and it was a delight. What I remember most, though, are my more informal chats with Teri’s students. I could feel how her love and dedication radiating through them. Her impact on YA literature cannot be overstated. That said, when I close my eyes and think of Teri, I remember her arms open wide to hug me, year after year, on the exhibition floor of the Texas Library Association. As a new Native author in the early 2000s, I felt especially young and out of place. Awkward and sometimes overwhelmed. Teri welcomed me home to the world of books. She reassured me—and so many others—that she believed in us, that we belonged.”
Lesesne, a Distinguished Professor at Sam Houston State University, was a former Executive Director of the NCTE's Assembly for LIterature for Adolescents (ALAN). A former USBBY Board member, she generously designated funds in memory of her parents, to be held in an endowment that now funds The Bridge to Understanding Award. Lesesne served as a member of the committee restructuring the award, as it seeks to acknowledges the work of individuals and organizations who create programs that use children’s and young adult books to foster cross-cultural understanding.
Lesesne's thoughtfulness and sensitivity will be much missed by the children's literature community.
IBBY El Salvador, one of USBBY’s Twinning Partners, has the opportunity to build a permanent library in Santa Domingo de Guzman, a semi-rural area with a primarily indigenous population. The local income in the area is below the national average and literacy rate is low. Award-winning Salvadorian author Jorge Argueta conceived and founded the Library of Dreams to increase literacy and promote a love of reading for children.
Currently housed in a temporary facility, the programs include:
This PowerPoint describes in words and images the wonderful programs of the library.
IBBY and USBBY’s commitment to building bridges through children’s literature has no greater manifestation than helping to create safe, inspiring educational sanctuaries of literacy for the young people of the world. Thank you to our members who have already donated to this worthy cause. We appreciate your support of this project.
Click here to donate to the Library of Dreams.
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Building Bridges Through Children's and Young Adult Books
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