The IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award, initiated by the International Board on Books for Young People and sponsored by the Japanese newspaper company the Asahi Shimbun, is presented to projects run by groups or institutions that are judged to be making a lasting contribution to reading promotion for children and young people.
The Award is given every two years to two projects and presented to the winners at the biennial IBBY Congress. It was a difficult task for the current jury to choose two winners from the seventeen nominations as all the projects were of great merit and complemented IBBY’s Mission Statement. Each nominated project targeted children who live in disadvantageous circumstances with no or little access to books. They are really Reading Promotion Projects!
The projects nominated for the 2012 IBBY-Asahi Award were:
- Abuelas Cuentacuentos : Grandmother Storytelling Programme, Argentina, proposed by IBBY Argentina
- “New Education” Kids’ Reading Promotion Plan, China, proposed by IBBY China
- SIPAR, Cambodia, proposed by IBBY France and supported by IBBY Switzerland
- Room to Read, proposed by IBBY Germany
- Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation and Library, Pireaus, proposed by IBBY Greece
- PaanPoee Vachanalay, Pune, proposed by IBBY India
- Give us Books, Give us Wings, Iran, proposed by IBBY Iran
- Nati per Leggere / Born to Read, Italy, proposed by IBBY Italy
- Sod Nomun / Nomadic library, Mongolia, proposed by IBBY Mongolia
- Kelompok Pencinta Bacaan Anak / Society for the Advancement of Children's Literature, Indonesia, proposed by IBBY Netherlands
- Institución Educativa Parroquial Cristina Beatriz, Lima, proposed by IBBY Peru
- Slovene Reading Badge: Crossing Boundaries to All Kinds of Minorities, proposed by IBBY Slovenia
- Llibre Obert, Spain, proposed by IBBY Spain
- White Elephant / Domrei Sor, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, proposed by IBBY Sweden
- Book Aid International: Book Corners, Kenya and Tanzania, proposed by IBBY UK
- Dagdag Dunong Project, Manila, Philippines. proposed by IBBY USA
- Lubuto Library, Zambia, proposed by IBBY USA and supported by IBBY Zambia
After an intensive discussion the jury made its choice from these seventeen projects and we are pleased to announce that the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Awards for 2012 go to:
The Grandmother Storytelling Programme, Argentina
Abuelas Cuentacuentos – The Grandmother's Storytelling Programme in Argentina is organized by the Mempo Giardinelli Foundation (FMG) and engages older persons who like to read stories to children. Specialized personnel at the Foundation train volunteers and organize programmes in many schools in the metropolitan area of the city of Resistencia the capital and largest city in the province of Chaco, in northeastern Argentina.
This programme promotes reading, while at the same time it takes literature to thousands of the poorest children, many of them living in marginal communities. Abuelas Cuentacuentos has created opportunities for exchanges across generations, thus is not only beneficial to the children, but also has an important impact on the self-esteem of the grandmothers. The volunteers, mainly unemployed women between the ages of 50 and 70, have found that this programme is a new and productive way of using their time and their capacity to give affection through their new role of storyteller.
The project impressed the jury by its simple and original approach to reading promotion. The programme is easy to replicate and is sustainable over a long period. The promotion of intergeneration interaction is another aspect that gives it effective and emotional dimensions that are beneficial to both the children and the grandmothers.
SIPAR began as a Franco/Cambodian association in 1982 to help Cambodian refugees living on the Cambodian/Thai border during the Khmer Rouge regime. When the government fell, SIPAR helped to rebuild the educational network and by 1993 was focussing its activities on reading including organizing libraries all over Cambodia and setting up rural reading centres. From 1993 to 2011 more than 1,000 librarians were trained in the SIPAR workshops. Recently the Cambodian Ministry of Education has taken over the network.
By 2000 it was very noticeable that there were no Cambodian children’s books in the libraries and the SIPAR staff were translating the donated foreign books and sticking the texts in Khmer in the books. During the regime of the Khmer Rouge all books had been destroyed and the creators had been killed. There were no publishing houses left in the country. In 2000, SIPAR started running training workshops for publishing, writing and illustration, mostly for children’s books. Today SIPAR has a small publishing department that is run by Cambodians. They have published 70 titles, and printed 130,000 free copies for the 200 SIPAR libraries and the students at the teacher training colleges for primary schools.
The Jury was impressed by the work done over the last twenty years as well as by the long-term training aspect of SIPAR that will build a book culture and thus answer a very big need for literacy in Cambodia. The work is sustainable and able to bring local language books to Cambodia.
IBBY warmly congratulates these two outstanding projects for their creative and effective approaches to helping children enter the world of books and reading.
The 2012 jury was comprised of:
Jury Chair Mingzhou Zhang (China), Marilar Aleixandre (Spain), Hasmig Chahinian (France), Wally de Doncker (Belgium), Jehan Helou (Palestine), and Kiyoko Matsuoka (Japan).
The prize money of US $10,000 for each winning project will be presented at the 33rd IBBY Congress in London, UK, at a special festive occasion on Thursday, 23 August 2012 at Imperial College London.
Bologna, 19 March 2012 / Mingzhou Zhang