After 15+ years, I have stepped down from my role as USBBY Executive Director.
As of January this year, Junko Yokota, long time leader in USBBY and IBBY, has assumed the position. Junko has asked me to stay on in two important roles: As USBBY liaison to our twinning partners, El Salvador, Haiti, Lebanon and Palestine, and to lead fundraising for Children in Crisis Projects. Both of these are "very near and dear to my heart."
As you may know, USBBY has been paying the national section dues of our twinning partners. Without our help, they would not be able to continue as national sections in IBBY. You, our members and friends, have been very generous in your donations and these donations continue to be needed and are much appreciated. Beginning this year, I have asked our twinning partners to send reports and photos of their very important work with children in their countries. Sent three times a year, they will be shared with you on the USBBY website so that you can see the important work they are doing.
If you go to the USBBY website donations link, you can always find the donation opportunities for our supported Children in Crisis Projects. As the new director of fundraising for these projects, I will be identifying the most critical needs and these regular updates will also be on our website.
Given that, my first plea for very urgent needed donations is for the Refugee Children on the U.S. Southern Border in cooperation with ALA's REFORMA. Fleeing violence and extreme poverty in their home countries, large numbers of Central American children and families are seeking asylum at our southern border, including thousands of unaccompanied children. It is estimated there are currently 152,000 unaccompanied minors at our near the U.S.-Mexican border.
I have always been in awe of your generosity, our USBBY members and friends. Much has already been donated to this cause, but the need continues to be great. You may wonder what these funds are used for? Your generous donations pay for children's books in Spanish and English, the shipping costs of donated books, backpacks with paper, pencils, crayons, as well as motivational activities, and the printing of library cards that children can use to check out library books in U,S. Public Libraries.
For more information about this important work and how your donations are used, please watch the YouTube presentation provided by one of the local sheroes, Dr. Melba Salazar-Lucio, Team Brownsville Escuelita de la Banqueta.
Last, dear friends, I look forward to keeping you up to date on a regular basis about USBBY's important work with children! And thank you for all you do!
ILA/USBBY Webinar, "Using Literature to Promote Understanding, Empathy, and Global Citizenship," May 9
Literature has the power to open minds to new worlds, new understandings, and new possibilities. This free International Literacy Association Webinar, held in partnership with the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY), explores ways to leverage high-quality, global literature for powerful learning opportunities.
Mónica Montañés (author of Different), Mari Kanstad Johnsen (illustrator of Bedtime for Bo), Paloma Valdivia (illustrator of Book of Questions), and Sara Lissa Paulson (translator of Book of Questions), whose books were named to USBBY’s 2023 Outstanding International Books List, will be on hand to discuss their work and how engaging young readers in world literature can help them become active global citizens.
Claudia Zoe Bedrick
Evelyn B. Freeman
Mari Kanstad Johnsen
Isaac Willis Larison
Sara Lissa Paulson
Using Literature to Promote Understanding, Empathy, and Global Citizenship
May 9, 2023 | 5:00 p.m.–6:30 p.m. ET
Registration is required to attend the live event and watch the recording. Please note that the live event will be accessible only to the first 300 attendees who log in on the day of the event.
ellis vance fund
USBBY is pleased to announce the establishment of the Ellis Vance Fund for Twinning. This fund recognizes Ellis’s more than two decades of service to USBBY, first as treasurer and then for more than 15 years as Executive Director. Although his is retiring from this position, Ellis will continue to serve as USBBY’s liaison to our Twinning partners and to IBBY’s Children in
Crisis efforts. This fund will help to pay the dues of USBBY’s Twinning partners who would be unable to be a member of IBBY without USBBY’s support. The fund would also support other needs of our Twinning partners and also provide funds to specific Children in Crisis projects.
Ibby Statement on the War in Ukraine
IBBY was founded in the wake of World War II with the devastation in Europe and much of the world deeply affecting thousands of children and families. And yet, Jella Lepman believed this was the right moment to bring people together to work toward peace, understanding and tolerance through sharing literature with children. This was her motivation as she founded IBBY and her vision continues to be our inspiration.
IBBY works tirelessly to advocate for books and reading as a fundamental way to move toward a peaceful and tolerant world. Unfortunately, there continue to be wars and conflicts around the globe. In particular, we are appalled at the constant and ferocious Russian attacks against the sovereign state of Ukraine, especially the killing of thousands of innocent civilians and the trauma it is causing children and their families. We strongly and firmly condemn the unjustified war in Ukraine and greatly admire the efforts of IBBY Ukraine and the Ukrainian book community as they work to help children survive and cope. We are actively supporting the relief efforts in Poland to provide books for Ukrainian refugees who have had to flee their war-torn country. We continually look for further ways to be of help to those in crisis.
With 80 national sections of IBBY around the world, our IBBY family is distressed when any of our sections finds itself in a country under attack. IBBY Ukraine has been a beacon of hope for children and their books for 25 years and we reiterate our respect and admiration for them as they continue their work despite facing the most difficult circumstances. As the IBBY family, we stand together in our commitment to international understanding and to a brighter, more peaceful future.
IBBY Executive Committee
28 October 2022
2022 Membership Meeting
This year's Annual USBBY meeting will be held on Saturday, November 5th at Noon Eastern Time on Zoom.
We are looking forward to sharing updates on the upcoming USBBY New York Event scheduled for March 25, 2023, a special presentation about the inspirational work of our Twinning partner, IBBY Lebanon, greetings from the newly elected IBBY President, Sylvia Vardell, and other USBBY business.
The program is free, but registration is required. If you have not already done so, please register at: https://forms.gle/Zt4KEEdqkXqUBqvM9
You will receive a Zoom link for the Annual Meeting the day before the event.
see you at ala!
The 2022 co-sponsored ALA/USBBY program will be held at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference on Sunday, June 26, 2022, in Washington D.C., from 1-2 pm. The program is titled “Celebrate Indigenous Storytelling: Books from across the Northern Border” and will be held in the Washington Convention Center, Room 149A-B. Save the program now in the online Conference Scheduler!
Program Description: Join the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) as we celebrate indigenous storytelling! Hear from Inuit author Monica Ittusardjuat, as well as the co-founding authors of Inhabit Media, an Inuit-owned, independent Canadian publishing company. USBBY, an affiliate of ALA, serves as the U.S. National Section of the International Board on Books for Young People, which was founded to promote international understanding and good will through books for children and adolescents.
USBBY Statement on Maus Removal
As members of the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) prepare for the upcoming IBBY Regional Conference, taking place on March 4-6, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee, we have kept a close eye on the actions by Tennessee’s McMinn County Board of Education, who voted unanimously to remove Art Spiegelman’s Maus from its eighth-grade language arts curriculum.
One of the key aims of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) and its US National Section, the USBBY, is “to give children everywhere the opportunity to have access to books with high literary and artistic standards”, and the critically acclaimed Maus—which broke artistic and intellectual ground with its non-fiction account of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, and mental health struggles—is exactly the kind of work that should be accessible to students and educators. As such, we condemn the actions of McMinn County Board of Education for the decision, and invite them to join us at our Regional Conference in March.
All attendees of the conference will be given a free copy of Jella Lepman’s autobiography, A Bridge of Children’s Books. Lepman, a Jewish journalist, author, and translator who returned to Germany mere months after the end of the Second World War to found the International Youth Library, which led to the establishing of IBBY, was a woman with a deep understanding of how to speak to children about the same difficult issues that seem to intimidate the McMinn County Board of Education. We would be happy to share the methods that she—and USBBY—have found so successful for the last 70 years. None of them, of course, involve the censoring or banning of literature.
Hans Christian Andersen Award Presented to Jacqueline Woodson; Yuyi Morales delivers Briley Lecture
In-person conferences are back and there’s no better way to ease into the new reality than with the 14th IBBY Regional conference coming up in Nashville. The Briley Lecture will be delivered by Yuyi Morales on Saturday evening, Jacqueline Woodson will (finally) receive her Hans Christian Andersen Author medal, capping off each day of general sessions and more than a dozen breakout sessions on the music of words and the power of books for children.
The IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) Regional Conference typically has around 200 attendees and is characterized by the opportunities for interaction with authors and colleagues interested in the world of children’s books. Vanderbilt University is this year’s host and requires proof of vaccination and masks while the timing of the gathering coincides with the university’s Spring break, making social distancing simpler.
Audiobook fans will revel in the “Music of Words: Taking Own Voices to the Next Level” featuring Traci Sorell, who wrote and produced the audiobook of her award-winning We Are Still Here, plus Audie and Earphones winner Dion Graham, and Michele Cobb, the Executive Director of the Audio Publishers Association, who is a regular speaker on the topic at book fairs around the world.
The Children’s Book Council is sponsoring “International Publishing: The Many Paths to North America.” This inspiring panel will feature CBC members Angus Killick of Red Comet Press, Christopher Lloyd of What on Earth Books/Britannica Books plus Emma Raddatz of Elsewhere Editions and John Mackey of Italbooks.
Additional General Sessions include a program with USBBY author nominees Linda Sue Park and Jacqueline Woodson for the Hans Christian Andersen award, a conversation between HCA Illustrator winner Roger Mello and Junko Yokota, educational sessions about the work of Jane Kurtz’ (USBBY’s nominee for the IBBY IRead Reading Promoter Award) “Ready Set Read” initiative for Ethiopian children, and the nonprofit I’m Your Neighbor Books. An All-Conference Read with the new graphic novel of Ruta Sepetys’ Between Shades of Gray will include a conversation with Ruta, educator Scot Smith (who chaired the recent YALSA Symposium) and Ingram’s Nicole Robinson Hamilton.
Breakout sessions will provide opportunities for deep dives into topics such as the USBBY’s Outstanding International Books List, Anne Sibley O’Brien’s work on Diverse Bookfinder, an educational session on Dolly Parton and the Imagination Library, “Freedom Songs in International Children’s Literature,” and many more.
The conference concludes with Christopher Lloyd providing a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of It’s Up to Us: Building a Brighter Future for Nature, People & Planet (What on Earth Books) that features the art of 33 illustrators from around the world including Raul Colon, Peter Sis, Poonam Mistry, Le Yuying, Sydney Smith, and Leah Marie Dorion.
Pre- and post-conference activities include guided tours of the new National Museum of African American Music, the Parthenon (featuring one of the tallest indoor statues in the world), and the Nashville Public Library, whose tour will wrap up with a performance of “Ellingtown” by the world famous Thomas Tichenor marionettes.
A silent auction will feature art, signed books, and more with the proceeds benefiting the many ongoing projects of USBBY and IBBY, including the funding of our twinning partners—chapters that are supported by USBBY—in Lebanon, Haiti, and Palestine. A follow-up “Closing Act” virtual conference (an included event for registered attendees of the Nashville conference) will be held on May 14 with sessions from the IBBY chapters in Canada and Mexico.
The conference schedule is available at https://www.usbby.org/regional-conference.html and the deadline for registration is February 18.
Please contact the conference program chair, Ellen Myrick, at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, comments and feedback and follow usbby at @usbby_books on Instagram, @usbby on Twitter, and on Facebook at @usbby.
2021 membership meeting
Join us for the USBBY Annual Membership meeting on Saturday, November 6 at Noon Eastern Time. Hear updates on the IBBY Regional Conference, March 4-6, 2022 in Nashville. Learn about publishing international translated children’s books with a special program by publisher Claudia Zoe Bedrick and Editor Emilie Robert Wong of Enchanted Lion. The program is free, but registration is required. Click here to receive the Zoom link.
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
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