This edition of BRIDGES features examples of international literature informing classroom projects, be they virtual or in person, and the reverberation that story can have for young readers long after the back cover of a book has been closed. This edition also contains an exciting share from the USBBY nominating committee for the 2021 IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities list, a request from Bratislava, reminders about and new ways to get involved, and an update from the 14th Biennial Regional Conference organizers, who offer something spectacular to look forward to in Spring 2021.
Dear USBBY members,
We hope you are doing well and staying in good spirits during this turbulent, challenging time. Thank you very much for your generosity in supporting our Twinning partners: Haiti, Lebanon, Palestine, and El Salvador. In these countries, all children are in crisis. We have raised over $4000 to ensure that they can continue to be part of IBBY and provide books and reading promotion projects amidst dire circumstances.
Although we cannot meet together at the conventions of ILA and NCTE this fall, we have some exciting virtual programs planned for you. Please save the date of Saturday, November 14 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time (1:00 p.m. Central; noon Mountain; and 11 a.m. Pacific) for our annual business meeting. This one- hour meeting will include a special program to highlight USBBY’s sponsorship of the 2021 International Children’s Book Day, April 2.
We will also be emailing information about some other exciting opportunities in the coming weeks.
Did you know if you buy books and other products from Amazon and Indie Bound, you can designate USBBY to receive a donation? USBBY is a member of both the Amazon Smile Program and the Indie Bound Affiliate program. More information and directions are posted on our website: usbby.org. If you click on “How to Get Involved”, there will be a drop down for “Shop to Support USBBY. “ Or you can you use this link: https://www.usbby.org/shop-to-support-usbby.html
Our many committees continue to work diligently and with enthusiasm during the pandemic. We are especially grateful to last year’s Hans Christian Andersen Award committee which successfully nominated Jacqueline Woodson, who received the award. This year’s committee is already at work to decide on USBBY’s nominees for the 2022 awards.
We welcome your participation, suggestions, and ideas. Please share your thoughts with me at: email@example.com.
We wish you all the best as the new school year begins.
Evelyn “Evie” Freeman,
Going through conference withdrawl?
Miss being among a community of international book lovers?
Want to hear more from your favorite book creators?
Well, the organizers of the 14th biennial North American Regional Conference have your fix.
While the full, in-person conference has been moved to March 4-6, 2022, (in Nashville as originally scheduled,) on SATURDAY, MARCH 6, 2021 , we will host our first “All Conference Listen” and "All Conference Read" sessions.
Narrator Dion Graham will participate in a virtual discussion of our All Conference Listen, Infinite Hope, the recent nonfiction winner of the Boston-Globe Horn Book Award.
Click here to listen to an excerpt of Graham’s narration.
Dean Schneider, whose article on Ashley Bryan will be in the next issue of The Horn Book, will also be in the discussion. This session will be moderated by conference co-chair Ellen Myrick.
Ruta Sepetys will join our discussion of her most recent novel, The Fountains of Silence , which KIRKUS described in its starred review as, "A stunning novel that exposes modern fascism and elevates human resilience.”
Host Nicole Robinson-Hamilton will interview Ms. Septys, who conference coordinators report is “very excited” to join us!
Participants will then be moved to small discussion groups with a leader assigned to each group. Those wishing to lead the groups should contact Ann (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will then assign groups/leaders.
Sign Me Up
All Conference Listen and Read Sessions - Members will be invited to register for each session for a fee of $10 per session; non-members may register at the rate of $15 per session. Check the USBBY website, Facebook page and November issue of BRIDGES for forthcoming registration information.
Also, be on the lookout for more information about the 2022 event where we will, we earnestly hope, again be able to make those personal connections that make the IBBY Regional experience so valuable and unforgettable.
In odd-numbered years IBBY presents its juried Selection of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities. Each IBBY member country is invited to nominate up to 12 of its books for consideration.
The current U.S. nominating committee - Danilo Baylen, Jared Crossley, Deanna Day-Whiff, Dawn Menge, Barbara Ward, and Chair Linda Parsons - received a total of 45 books from 38 different publishers for consideration.
Below is a slideshow of the 12 books, which the committee nominated and that will be forwarded to the jury, headed by Leigh Turina in Toronto. Click on any image throughout the presentation for detailed bibliographic information.
The IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities list organizes the books into three categories -
"We appreciate that so many publishers recognize and are supportive of the committee’s work," shares committee chair Linda Parsons of the 38 U.S. publishers who submitted original work.
"It is of note, (though,) that virtually all books the committee received were in the universal access and/or portrayals of disability categories. US publishers do not seem to focus on (the specialized) formats" that the IBBY jury receives from publishers in several other countries.
According to the IBBY OBYPD guidelines, these could include "Braille, sign language, picture communication systems, tactile, or easy-to-read books, which are specifically written for young people with developmental, cognitive or learning disabilities”.
"It is my hope," says Parsons, "that publishers will address the dearth of books in this category and that this committee will be able to include this category of books in the future."
The Biennial of Illustration Bratislava Competition 2021
One of the most prestigious world-wide children’s book exhibitions and competitions, the BIB has been promoting children’s book illustration since 1967. The next BIB will be held in Bratislava 2021.
Per committee chair Therese Bigelow,
The 2021 Committee is pleased to seek your input into the nomination process. All submissions are through IBBY national sections, and we look forward to hearing from you about US illustrators you think the committee should consider and why. It is a lengthy process to work through the list and to contact the illustrator and publisher and arrange for original artwork and books to be shipped to Bratislava, we would appreciate your submission by October 15.
Please email recommendations directly to Therese Bigelow and include
As Brenda Dales, past chair of the USBBY committee who selected the 2019 entrants, shared in Bridges, ”the United States indisputably has many children’s book illustrators worthy of international recognition, and the 2019 BIB was significant for sharing stunning picture book art from this country. Regardless of awards, the U.S. illustrators received worldwide recognition, inclusion in the BIB catalog, and additional publicity.”
We look forward to just as stellar a reception and recognition for the 2021 BIB.
The reading experience doesn’t end when the back cover is closed or the last verse of a poem shared. One of the many joys of USBBY/IBBY member work is seeing what young people do with the story after they’re read the last page or heard the last line.
Two examples that highlight the longevity that student projects can have include a recent feature article in The Comics Journal by USBBYer, Karin Snelson, about a project in Myanmar led by USBBYer Diane Baasch, (whose poster session several members got to enjoy in Austin 2019;) and a chapbook featuring student responses to a classroom visit from Janet Wong, as facilitated and compiled by Connecticut State Ambassador, Yvonne de St. Croix.
The United States Board on Books for Young People
The U.S. National Section of International Board on Books for Young People
Building Bridges Through Children's and Young Adult Books
Center for Teaching through Children´s Books
National Louis University
5202 Old Orchard Road, Suite 300
Skokie, IL 60077
V. Ellis Vance, Executive Director Executive.Director@usbby.org
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