JBBY News_December 2023

JBBY Hope Project

JBBY Hope Project began in 2017 as a successor to the support activities for children affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The current project has expanded its focus, and aims to support children in crisis all over Japan, as well as spread knowledge about their situations.

One of the support activities we conducted in 2022 was to send books to young people who have been evacuated to Japan, especially from Ukraine. So far, we have sent out Japanese silent books, cloth picture books and children’s books in the Ukrainian language to 29 groups and families. As for learning sessions, in October we held an online session titled “Children’s Books Beyond Barriers”. Ms. Hisako Kakuage, an expert in “barrier-free” books and former special education teacher, gave a lecture on books for children with special needs. We also shared with participants information about the IBBY Selection for Young People with Disabilities. JBBY has translated this catalog into Japanese and uses it in traveling exhibitions throughout Japan. In November we had an online discussion on the issue of bullying. Mr. Yuji Sunaga of NPO “Stop Bullying! Navi” talked about the problem in this country and offered ways to put a stop to it.

Books for children in Japan who have been evacuated from war zones
Japanese translation of IBBY Selection of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities

Lectures by experts from abroad

In 2023, JBBY held three lectures by international guests. In July, the Taiwanese researcher, author and translator Yu Peiyun spoke about the history of children’s books in Taiwan. The audience was excited to see how innovative and unusual recent publications are, and to hear about unique initiatives in place in Taiwan to promote excellence in children’s literature.

In September, Canadian illustrator Sidney Smith, invited to Japan by the Itabashi Art Museum, held a special talk event for JBBY. He showed rough sketch images of his acclaimed picture book I Talk Like a River (written by Jordan Scott) and explained the process of how it was made. With the editor of the book’s Japanese translation as moderator, Smith revealed the artistic challenges he faced in representing the inner world of a boy who stutters. The audience, on-site and online combined, numbered 281. In November, JBBY organized an event with Gita Wolf, founder and editor of Indian publisher Tara Books. Tara Books is internationally known for its picture books, which are always beautiful and occasionally handmade. Wolf introduced recently works, including picture books with surprisingly clever gimmicks, those illustrated by budding artists, and others in the style of folk/tribal art. The Japanese audience was inspired and encouraged by the bold book-making promoted by Tara, as well as its philosophy about changing the world for the better through more voices of minority people.

Lecture by Canadian illustrator Sidney Smith
Tara Books founder Gita Wolf, from India (center)

International Children’s Book Day 2024

For the first time in 30 years, Japan was in charge of creating the poster and pamphlet for Children’s Book Day. We will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of JBBY in 2024, and it is a great honor and pleasure to celebrate it this way. The message was written by the Hans Christian Andersen award-winner, Eiko Kadono, and poster arts are by Nana Furiya, a popular picture book artist living in Slovakia. The design is by Masayuki Takahashi, who has designed many children’s books. In response to Eiko Kadono’s message of taking flight in one’s mind through stories, Furiya painted a picture of a large tree inhabited by characters in stories visible and hidden, stretching the world of the imagination. At the bottom of the page are words from many different languages. We hope readers will be able to find the language of their own countries.

2024 ICBD poster
2024 ICBD message, envelope-style

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