In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Editorial
  • Björn Sundmark (bio)

This is a very special Bookbird. Of course, every issue of Bookbird is special in its own way, each made up of a unique mix of articles, information, and illustrations. It could even be argued that being the "nominees' issue" makes it more predictable contentwise than usual. After all, Bookbird has run presentations of the authors and illustrators nominated for the H. C. Andersen Awards since the very start of the journal. Indeed, it is one of the fixtures of our publication. For the same reason, however, one can argue that it is a feature that makes Bookbird stand out, that marks this journal as different from other journals in the field of children's literature. Together with the Focus IBBY-section, and the articles on literary institutions for children, on reading projects, as well as information about IBBY's other ventures, the two issues that focus on the Andersen Awards (nominees, and winners and shortlist) complement the research-oriented material. Other journals of children's literature are either or–only Bookbird is both and…

But there is another reason why this is a very special Bookbird, however. For with this issue we celebrate that our journal has attained the respectable age of 60 years. But wait, doesn't it say volume 55 (as in 55 years) on the cover? Yes, indeed, and this five-year mismatch is part of the story explained and outlined in the "60 years-section" included in this Bookbird, as a supplement to the nominees' presentations.

It all started with a conversation at the Bologna Book Fair in 2017, which led to a decision by the BB, Inc. Board that this year should be marked for celebration. The Board then made suggestions about possible contributors. Moreover, the year has been celebrated at the USBBY conference as well as with the launch of the Bookbird Facebook page. Following up on the leads suggested by the Board I came to realize what a fascinating history our journal has. I wrote to the previous editors of Bookbird, and asked them to write a short account of what happened on their watch: highlights, obstacles, changes, joys, frustrations. I thank them all for their wonderful contributions (Lucia Binder, Jeffrey Garrett, Meena Khorana, Siobhán Parkinson, Evelyn Freeman, Sylvia Vardell, and Roxanne Harde). I also contacted Christiane Raabe at the International Youth Library (IYL); she writes about the first pioneering years, when Jella Lepman launched Bookbird at IYL. I am grateful for this research into the early history of Bookbird, and for the scans of early material (photos, covers) that she has provided me with for this issue. In another text, Valerie Coghlan puts Lepman's initiative into the context of her other labors in the field of children's reading.

Finally, I had the privilege to meet and interview some of the key players of the early Bookbird-years. I met Leena Maissen (Executive Director of IBBY 1970-2003) in her Basel home. She gave a lively account of her struggles to keep Bookbird airborne through shifting political winds, technological changes, as [End Page 4] well as economic hardship. She also stressed her own ambition to maintain (and raise!) the quality of the writing in the journal, a legacy that continues to be honored under the present director, Liz Page. Soon after my meeting with Leena Maissen I met legendary editor (1962-1993) Lucia Binder in Vienna. In an article in this issue she has given an account of some of her vast work on Bookbird, but to meet her in her person (and in Café Central in Vienna, no less!) was for me an extra treat. During her period with Bookbird the nominal editor was usually IBBY's president, while she served as the acting editor. In other words, Lucia Binder's importance for Bookbird over three decades can hardly be overstated. Finally, I had a serendipitous meeting with Dušan Roll, President of IBBY (1986-90) in connection with the 2017 Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB). He stressed the importance of Bookbird for BIB, saying that the annual BIB supplements (10-14 pages), regular feature of Bookbird for many years, were instrumental in...


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