Mar 8, 2008

The World of Children's Literature

While in Tucson during December we noticed a small announcement in a local paper about two traveling exhibitions of international books published for children and teens. So we dusted ourselves off and drove over to the university for the one day only chance to view the IBBY International Honour Book Exhibit which includes books representative of the best writing, illustration and translation in children’s literature from 57 nominating countries in 44 languages and Children Between Worlds, a special exhibit from the International Youth Library in Munich. WOW. It was my first experience with international books on a large scale – tables of books arranged by continents, each title with accompanying signage describing the book. I purchased the exhibit catalog
IBBY Honour List 2006 and took some notes as I wandered the exhibits.

There were many picture books I wished to READ because the art really struck me and/or the story sounded so captivating/fun/inventive/original/wildly different etc. I held an Egyptian picture book printed in Arabic and felt a thrill as I thought of children reading and connecting with the story. I fell in love with a small paperback of Greek nature poems with lovely drawings and watercolors. I thought of how I shy away from books published in other languages and later released as English translations. My children’s book experience is so decidedly American!

I didn’t have as much time to spend with the smaller exhibit of titles chosen by librarians at the International Youth Library to help promote understanding between cultures.

Kathy G. Short, Ph.D., through her work with IIBY, was responsible for bringing these exhibits to Tucson. I'm glad she did.

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