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IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award 2016

Introduction by Angela Lebedeva

It is a great honor and a pleasure for me to present the winners of the 2016 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award.

This Award was founded in 1986 in commemoration of the 20th IBBY Congress in Tokyo, and it is made possible by sponsorship by the Asahi Shimbun Japanese newspaper company. For the last thirty years, the Award has been presented to outstanding activities by groups or institutions around the world that have been judged to be making a lasting contribution to reading promotion programs for children and young people.

For the 2016 Award, we received eleven submissions from fourteen IBBY National Sections: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Iran, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, France, and Germany. The Jury, selected from the members of the current IBBY Executive Committee, judge every nominated project very strictly based on the following criteria:

  • • How well does the project support IBBY’s Mission Statement?

  • • Is there existing or possible support for the project from other funding sources?

  • • Has the project been in existence for at least two years prior to its nomination? Is the project sustainable? Does it provide a framework for growth?

  • • What is the impact of the project? Does it reach its stated target audience?

  • • Is the project original and innovative?

  • • Can the project provide a model for others? Is it easily replicated? Are any printed materials available, and are they of high literary quality?

  • • Can the results of the project be evaluated?

I would like to express my very special gratitude to my colleagues of the 2016 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award Jury: Evelyn Freeman (USA), Sunjidmaa Jamba (Mongolia), Vagn Plenge (Denmark), Serpil Ural (Turkey), and Timotea Vrablova (Slovakia). You worked hard and honestly to make a choice, and I am proud to be a member of this fine team with you. Thank you.

This Award is unique, prestigious, independent, and the only international award that supports concrete projects in the sphere of children’s reading [End Page 74] promotion. Today, the world is a very disturbing and changeable place, and our children need protection of their rights, including the right to read, as never before. This Award represents the goal and tasks of our organization—the spirit of IBBY—connecting children and books in often very difficult and different situations, including hot spots of military conflicts and in regions facing a huge influx of refugees.

It was a pleasure for me to announce the winners in April 2016 at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and now it is a very special feeling and a historic moment because the winners are among us and they are waiting for me to invite to the stage and tell you in their own words about their wonderful work.

The 2016 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Awards are given to the following two projects: Read with Me, Iran; and Big Brother Mouse, Laos. Read with Me was nominated by IBBY Iran, and Big Brother Mouse was nominated by IBBY Switzerland and endorsed by the IBBY sections of Denmark, France, and Germany.

Warm congratulations to these two winning projects and to all the people who work for them! Many thanks to the IBBY National Sections for their nominations, and I would especially like to thank again the Asahi Shimbun, our generous long-time sponsor of this valuable award.

Thank you.

Angela Lebedeva
President of the 2016 IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award
Auckland, 18 August 2016

Acceptance Speech: Big Brother Mouse, Laos

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Big Brother Mouse, Laos: Kamala Panyasouk, Siphone Wuttisaky, Fusako Go, and Angela Lebedeva (photo by Doris Breitmoser)

It is an honor to receive this award along with Read with Me from Iran.

Big Brother Mouse is ten years old this summer. Most of that time, we have just tried to do the best job we can in Laos. Our job is to make books that children are eager to read and then give them opportunities to read. That keeps us very busy. We put some pictures on Facebook but do not do much [End Page 75] other publicity. So that...