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.
This year, 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.
USBBY’s annual contribution to these underfunded section dues amount to $4,000 which is more than 10% of our overall annual budget. Please click here to donate.
Twinning is a concept promoted by IBBY that signifies a special mutually beneficial relationship between two national sections. It can take many forms, but in keeping with USBBY's mission, the intent is to promote international understanding of peace and goodwill between and among countries through books for children and young adults, by
Do you use children's books to explore cultures around the world to promote international understanding among children? Apply by October 1 for potential program recognition.
USBBY's Bridge to Understanding Award formally acknowledges the work of individuals and organizations who create programs that use children’s and young adult books to foster cross-cultural understanding.
The award is sponsored and awarded by USBBY as one way the organization furthers its mission:
Established in memory of Arlene Pillar, an educator who served USBBY as newsletter editor from 1984 until her untimely death in 1990, the Bridge to Understanding Award is funded by the Lesesne Family to share their passion for books and reading that bring a cultural awareness to readers.
The award carries a monetary prize of $1,000 and is given biennially.
The Award Committee appreciates that culture is a complex, varied, and often-contested construction of the human experience. Programs appropriate for the award help develop the skills of literacy while fostering an appreciation for literature. Programs may be based on any of a wide variety of cultural perspectives and contexts.
Timeframe & Participants:
Programs considered for the award may be a one-time event, or an ongoing series of events, that serve children ranging in age from kindergarten through tenth grade. To be eligible, programs should be current (completed or begun no more than a year before application).
The award is given every other year to coincide with the IBBY Regional Conference hosted by USBBY. Please submit a completed application and supporting materials by October 1, 2022 to be considered.
The Conference Committee is planning for an amazing event. Be sure to join us in Nashville, March 4-6, 2022. Space is limited, so register online today.
The discount for Early Bird Registration ENDS December 31.
Conference Registration Rates
Early Bird (7/1 to 12/31, 2021) $399
Regular rate: $499
USBBY Student/New Career Member:
Early Bird (7/1 to 12/31, 2021): $199
Regular rate: $299
Early Bird (7/1 to 12/31,2021) $449
Regular rate: $549 (includes one year USBBY membership)
Student/New Career Non-Member:
Early Bird (7/1-12/31,2021) $224
Regular rate: $324 (includes one year USBBY membership)
past digital issues
past pdf issues
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
1000 Capitol Drive
Wheeling, IL 60090
V. Ellis Vance, Executive Director Executive.Director@usbby.org
Connect With Us
© COPYRIGHT 2018.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.