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Nominations for Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award Open

Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

Every year, more than a hundred nominating bodies all over the world propose candidates for The World’s Largest
Children’s Literature Award, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. The nomination process for the 2021 award is now open.

South African individuals who are eligible [click here to view who is eligible for nominations] are welcome to submit a 500-word motivation detailing “Grounds for nomination” (why the organization/individual would be a strong candidate for the ALMA) to IBBY SA at by 5pm on 20 March 2020. The process for submitting nominations for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award through IBBY SA will be over two phases, as follows:

  1. Anyone wishing to nominate will first check that the organization/individual being nominated is eligible [click here to view who is eligible for nominations] and that should they be nominated, they are willing to prepare the documents needed [click here to view the Nomination Form] for submission to the Swedish Arts Council by the 10 May deadline.
  2. Then, a 500-word motivation detailing “Grounds for nomination” (why the organization/individual would be a strong candidate for the ALMA) will be submitted to IBBY SA by 5pm on 20 March 2020.
  3. IBBY SA will review nominations and select the two nominations they consider strongest contenders to put forward for the ALMA, providing feedback on outcome by 2 April 2020.
  4. These two nominees must then complete the required documents for submission and send to IBBY SA by no later than 10 May 2020.
  5. IBBY SA is required to submit these nominations to the Swedish Arts Council by 15 May 2020, via email or online.

Please note that the other nominating bodies in South Africa are: Children’s Literature Research Unit (UNISA), Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA), Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Each nominating body can nominate up to two nominees in their own country, and two from other countries. If you have any questions contact IBBY SA at

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Book Dash awarded The IBBY Yamada Fund

In 2005, IBBY launched a campaign to draw attention to the right of every child to become a reader. With the generous funding of the Yamada Bee Farm, the IBBY-Yamada Fund was established to provide funds for IBBY projects that help develop a book culture for children in all regions of the world.

Each year projects are developed by IBBY Members and presented to the Executive Committee. The projects selected thus far have included reading promotion programs, establishing libraries in schools and community centres, training teachers and parents in maintaining libraries and storytelling as well as workshops for writers, illustrators and editors of children’s books.

Book Dash is one of the projects that have been awarded the 2020 IBBY Yamada Fund. Book Dash gathers volunteer creative professionals to create new, high-quality African storybooks that anyone can freely translate and distribute.

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The Exclusive Books IBBY SA Award Winners 2019

National bookseller Exclusive Books has announced the winners of its bi-annual IBBY SA Award, a competition aimed at recognising the best South African children’s book writers and illustrators, and, for the first time, best translator.

The Exclusive Books IBBY SA Award is endorsed by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), a non-profit organisation which represents an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together.

To be considered for the award, the writer, illustrator and translator must be South Africans and the book must be an original work written in any of the official South African languages. The book must also have been published in SA. The winners each receive R10,000 cash.

Congratulations to the winners!

Best Story
Lebohang Masango’s title, Mpumi’s Magic Beads, took the award for Best Writer.

Mpumi’s Magic Beads is a delightful story about friendship, self-esteem, discovery and beautiful hair in the big city of Joburg. It follows the sudden adventures of Mpumi, Asante and Tshiamo as they see the world around them from new heights and realise all of the fun waiting to be discovered outside of their classroom. This story is a great read for the whole family, especially children aged between five and 10.


Best Translation
The superb translation of Maryanne and Shayle Bester’s Elders at the Door, by Xolisa Guzula, won her the prize for Best Translation.

Iinkonde eMnyango, the isiXhosa translation, is a fable which is told across the continent and belongs to all of Africa and its people. Although the setting and characters are quintessentially African, from the rhythms of their speech to the patterns on their clothes, the message is universal.



Best Illustrations
The stunning picture book, South African Animal Portraits A-Z, saw Nicolaas Maritz win the prize for Best Illustrations.

The vivid and charming illustrations allow you to meet the mammals, reptiles, insects and birds which populate the veld, desert, forests and ponds of SA. From the ant-eating aardvark to the zebra spitting cobra, there is a new friend on every page.


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Call for Nominations: IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award 2020

IBBY South Africa calls on all southern African literacy organisations to apply for the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award.

For more information on the award, please see the following message from Ahmad Redza Ahmad Khairuddin, President of the 2020 IBBY Reading Promotion Award Jury:

“The Award is given biennially to a group or institution, which by their outstanding activities are judged by the Jury to be making a lasting contribution to book promotion programmes for children and young people. The prize-winning organization will receive a diploma and a sum of US$ 10,000.00, which is generously given by the Asahi Shimbun Newspaper Company of Japan. The decision of the Jury will be announced at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in 2020 and subsequently celebrated at the IBBY Congress in Moscow, Russia in September 2020.

The Jury will select the recipient of the Award at its meeting in September 2019 in China. The following IBBY Executive Members constitute the Jury: Anastasia Arkhipova (Russia), Carole Bloch (South Africa), Sophie Hallam (UK), Basarat Midhat Kazim (Pakistan), Nora Lía Sormani (Argentina) and myself, Redza Khairuddin (Malaysia) as the Jury President.

The Award enjoys a good reputation because of the high standard of nominations for
this prestigious prize in former years.”

You can download the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award Regulations here. Please return the completed application form to IBBY SA by e-mail on before the deadline of 14 June 2019. Each national section of IBBY is invited to nominate a total of two organisations for consideration for the 2020 award.

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Silent Books: Destination Lampedusa

In response to the waves of refugees from Africa and the Middle East arriving on the Italian island of Lampedusa, IBBY International launched the project “Silent Books, from the world to Lampedusa and back” in 2012. The project involved creating the first library on Lampedusa to be used by local and immigrant children. The second part required creating a collection of wordless picture books that could be understood and enjoyed by children regardless of language.

Following the success of the first call for books, there has since been two additional collections of ‘Silent Books’.  Each collection is divided into three sets; one set delivered to the library on Lampedusa, another deposited at the documentation and research archive in Rome (Palazzo della Esposizioni) and the last set forms part of a travelling exhibition of wordless picture books. This third set has toured as an exhibition at various venues in Italy and all over the world, as well as being displayed at the Bologna Book Fair and at the IBBY Congresses in New Zealand and Greece.

In July of 2018 IBBY Italia raised another call for submissions and thanks to generous donations from local literacy organisations, Collaborate and Book Dash, IBBY South Africa was able to facilitate the donation of a number of locally produced wordless children’s picture books to this worthy cause.

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Phendulani Literary Quiz celebrates 10 years

Some 30 teams took part in the Johannesburg round of the Phendulani Quiz at De La Salle College in Victory Park.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Phendulani Literary Quiz. Founded in 2008 by Marj Brown, Head of History at Roedean School, the Phendulani Quizzes take place all over the country and offer learners an incentive to read and engage with the world of stories.

Brown started the quiz with two goals: improving literacy levels and vocabulary; and improving emotional intelligence, creativity and global understanding. “It is through stories that children from under-resourced schools can travel the world and learn about others, enhancing tolerance and understanding,” she says.

This year featured quizzes at schools in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and smaller cities such as Knysna, Margate, Nelspruit, Pietermaritzburg and Bergville. The Phendulani Quiz sees an active improvement among participating schools. According to Brown, schools that have participated for a number of years have shown a rise in scores of between 30% and 40%.

The winning team in Johannesburg was from WH Coetzer Primary School.
Cape Town winners were Heathfield Primary School, pictured here with quiz master and comic book creator. Loyiso Mkize.

IBBY SA would like to extend a hearty congratulations to Marj Brown and all of the volunteers and sponsors who have helped the Phendulani Quiz grow and foster a love of reading in South African youth over the last ten years.

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Marilyn Honikman and Jaco Jacobs win at the 2018 South African Literary Awards

IBBY South Africa wishes to congratulate Marilyn Honikman and Jaco Jacobs as they are jointly awarded the inaugural Children’s Literature Award at the 2018 South African Literary Awards (SALAs) for their books There should have been five (Marilyn Honikman) and  Daar’s Nie ‘n Krokodil in Hierdie Boek Nie and Moenie Hierdie Boek Eet Nie (Jaco Jacobs) the last of which was also the recipient of the 2017 Exclusive Books IBBY SA Award.

Held annually, the main aim of the SALAs is “to pay tribute to South African writers who have distinguished themselves” and celebrate “literary excellence in the depiction and sharing of South Africa’s histories”.

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Moenie Hierdie Boek Eet Nie! by Jaco Jacobs wins the Exclusive Books IBBY SA Award 2017

IBBY South Africa is proud to announce that MOENIE HIERDIE BOEK EET NIE! by Jaco Jacobs, illustrated by Zinelda McDonald and published by LAPA Publishers, is the winner of the 2017 Exclusive Books IBBY SA Award.

Tracing back to 2007, this prize is awarded every two years to the writer and illustrator of the best children’s picture book or illustrated book for young people.

Nominations for the 2019 award will be called for in January of next year.