The board of IBBY is also responsible for the selection of exemplary books and the nomination of talented South African writers and illustrators for several local and international awards. These include the celebrated Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Exclusive Books/IBBY SA Award which provides an exciting platform for the promotion of local children’s pictures books. Find out more about individual awards below.

Nominations for Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

Every year, more than a hundred nominating bodies all over the world propose candidates for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. The nomination process for the 2021 award is now open. The final date for submitting nominations is on May 15, 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.
    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.
  3. These two nominees must then complete the required documents for submission and send to IBBY SA by no later than 10 May 2020.
  4. 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.

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. As IBBY South Africa’s flagship award, we take great pride in the deserved recognition that this award gives to local creatives.

All winning books are prominently displayed in Exclusive Books stores nationwide.

In 2019, this award was expanded to include a translation category and a cash prize for winners in each category.

List of Winners

2019 Mpumi’s Magic Beads Lebohang Masango New Africa Books
2019 South African Animal Portraits A-Z Nicolaas Maritz New Africa Books
2019 Iinkonde eMnyango Xolisa Guzula Jacana
2017 Moenie hierdie boek eet nie Jaco Jacobs LAPA
2015 Noko and the Kool Kats Fiona Moodie Tafelberg
2013 The Herd Boy Niki Daly Jacana
2011 In die Immer-Nimmer Bos / In the Never-Ever Wood Story by Linda Rode
Pictures by Fiona Moodie
Human & Rousseau
2009 Siyolo’s Jersey Story by Mari Grobler, Pictures by Elizabeth Pulles Tafelberg
2007 Fynbosfeetjies / Fynbos Fairies Story by Antje Krog Pictures by Fiona Moodie Umuzi
  Zanzibar Road Story and pictures by Niki Daly Giraffe Books
  Utshepo Mde /
Tall Enough
Story by Mhlobo Jadezweni, pictures by Hannah Morris Electric Book Works
  Ouma Ruby’s Secret  Story and pictures by Chris van Wyk Giraffe Books
  Die “Cool” Nguni /
The Cool Nguni
Story by Maryann Bester, pictures by Shayle Bester Jacana

Hans Christian Andersen Award

The Hans Christian Andersen Award is the highest international recognition given to an author and an illustrator of children’s books. Given every other year by IBBY, the Hans Christian Andersen Awards recognize lifelong achievement and are presented to an author and an illustrator whose complete works have made an important, lasting contribution to children’s literature. To suggest the name of a South African author or illustrator who you feel is deserving of this award please feel free to contact us.

Find out more here.

IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award

The IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award is given biennially to one group or institution whose outstanding activities are judged to be making a lasting contribution to reading promotion programmes for children and young people. The Award was established in 1986 and is sponsored by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

Nominations are submitted by the National Sections of IBBY and may include reading promotion projects from any part of the world. The jury consists of members of the IBBY Executive Committee. The prize of US$ 10,000 and a diploma is presented to the winning project at the biennial IBBY Congress.

The awards are judged on several criteria: 

  • How well does the project support IBBY’s Mission?
  • Is there existing or possible support for the project from other funding sources?
  • Has the project been in existence for at least two years prior to its nomination? Is the project sustainable? Does it provide a framework for growth?
  • What is the impact of the project? Does it reach its stated target audience?
  • Is the project original and innovative?
  • Can the project provide a model for others? Is it easily replicated? Are any printed materials available and are they of high literary quality?
  • Can the results of the project be evaluated?

IBBY Honour List

Every two years, each of the international IBBY chapters is invited to nominate one writer, illustrator and translator of exceptional books in their country’s official languages published during the period to the IBBY Honours List.

The chosen books are presented at the IBBY Congress, after which seven sets of the books are exhibited around the world at conferences and book fairs.

Permanent collections are housed at the International Youth Library in Munich, the Swiss Institute for Child and Youth Media in Zurich, Bibiana Research Collection in Bratislava, IBBY in Tokyo and Northwestern University Library in Illinois.

South Africa was admitted to membership of IBBY in February 1992, and the first South African books were submitted for the 1994 Congress in Seville.

Nomination Process

IBBY SA asks all members to submit books for adjudication by completing the IBBY SA Honours List submission document and returning it to

IBBY Yamada Programme

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.

If you would like to nominate a project, please contact us for more information.

Vivian Wilkes Award

This prize, awarded to the illustrator of the best South African illustrated book, was awarded every year from 1996 to 2005 and was named after Vivian Wilkes, a supporter of projects beneficial to children. A fund was established after her death, which included the amount of R3000 set aside for the winning illustrator each year.


1996     Ian Lusted for The King’s Magic Drum (Garamond)

1997     Anneliese Voigt for The Red Dress (Garamond)

1998     Elizabeth Pulles for Lulama’s Magic Blanket (Tafelberg)

1999     Niki Daly for Jamela’s Dress (Tafelberg)

2000     Niki Daly for Fly, Eagle, Fly (Tafelberg)

2001     Vian Oelofsen and Sue Kramer for Ah-Bekutheni (ELRU)

2002     Piet Grobler for Net een slukke, padda! (Human & Rousseau)

2003     Lyn Gilbert for The Song of Six Birds (Garamond)

2004     Niki Daly for Eenmaal lank gelede (Tafelberg)

2005     Natalie Hinrichsen for Tell the moon, by Ann Walton (Tafelberg)