Once upon a time… no, we are not going to retell a fairy tale, about princes and princesses, or girls and boys, but I will tell you about a woman, who was born in the German city of Stuttgart in 1891, she was an enthusiastic and brave journalist, but above all she was a writer for children. What is her name? Jella Lepman.
Without her efforts, the juvenile child literature (LIJ) would not have reached the spirit and diffusion that it shows nowadays. Likewise, she was a standard-bearer of not few initiatives for promoting the reading, improving and supporting the books for children, besides she founded and supported several institutions and she also created the Andersen award.
Since she was very young, she began to write tales that appeared both in newspapers and radio stations. Because of her Jewish origin, she had to emigrate to England with her both children, in 1936, and later to the United States.
After the fascism’s defeat, she returned to her Homeland for taking care of the educational and cultural matters. With the help of Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the American president, she organized an international exposition of books for children, to this she summoned to all the countries; since 1946 the exhibition traveled various cities, obtaining a great success in each of them.
Her initiative of giving books of the entire planet to the German children evolved to a major goal: in September 14th from 1949 she founded la Internacionale Jugend Bibliothek, it means the International Youth Library, in the city of Munich.
After a while, in 1952, Lepman organized a meeting in Munich, it was called the International Understanding through the books for children, to which attended numerous authors, editors, professors and philosophers, as a culmination, it was appointed a committee to create the International Organization for the Juvenile Book, it is known by its English name: International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).
This nonprofit organization was founded in Zurich, Suiza, a year later, at the present time it is constituted by more than sixty National Sections.
Erich Kästner, Astrid Lindgren, Bettina Hürlimman, Jo Tenfjord, Fritz Brunner, Lisa Tetzner, and Richard Bamberger were among its founders.
The IBBY is composed by associations and persons from the entire world, which are engaged with the idea of favoring the encounter between the books and the childhood.
Promoting the international understanding through the books for children and youths; providing to all countries’ children and youths the opportunities of accessing to books of both literary and artistic quality; to favor the publication and distribution of these materials, particularly in the developing countries; give support and training to those who work with children and youths and with the books made for them; such as stimulating the academic works’ research and publication are among its missions.
The IBBY Cuban Committee and its Latin American and Caribbean Cathedra of Reading and Writing, with the co-sponsorship of the IBBY Canadian Committee, Fundalectura Colombia y A Leer / Mexico IBBY, National Sections from Canada, Colombia and Mexico, and the International Board on Books for Young People call to the International Congress Reading 2018: To read the XXI «The world’s forces have to been known for putting them to work»
This event to be developed from March 27th to 30th of next year in Havana, will celebrate likewise, the anniversaries 165th of José Martí’s birth, the 130th of the creation of his magazine The Golden Age, the 125th of the foundation of Patria Newspaper and it will salute to the 36th IBBY World Congress.
By: Lucía Sanz Araujo