IBBY (or the International Board on Books for Young People) “is a non-profit organisation representing an international network of countries and people, mostly volunteers, dedicated to bringing books and children together. It is the only international body working comprehensively for children’s books.”
|Design for the conference home page.|
Many years in the organising, New Zealand was lucky enough to be the host country this year. The theme of this conference was “Literature in a multiliterate world” with three sub-themes - Global, local and indigenous literature, Diverse literary forms and formats, and Engaging readers.
|Opening ceremony. Photo copyright Zak Waipara|
Given my own interest in all these areas, I was keen to be involved and was accepted to present a poster (a visualisation of the presentation I gave in the UK) and also asked to appear on a panel: Illustration Unbound: Narrative Art Across Genres, Age Groups, Cultures, and from Paper to Pixels and Beyond. It was chaired by Leonard Marcus a “historian, critic, exhibition curator, and lecturer in the field of children’s books and their illustration.”
|Poster display. Photo copyright Zak Waipara|
Leonard took great care in chairing the panel – contacting us all ahead of time to consider the purpose and how best to make use of our time. I was lucky enough to meet him and have a chat beforehand as well. You can hear a Radio NZ interview with Leonard here:
|A treatise on the importance of picture books by Leonard Marcus.|
My fellow panellists were Roger Mello (Brazil) and Bronwyn Bancroft (Australia). I was tasked with being a minder for Guest Delegate Bronwyn Bancroft, It was very heartening to hear about her work involving her Aboriginal community. Here is a link to an interview on Radio NZ.
|Some of Bronwyn's amazing work. Photo copyright Zak Waipara|
Roger Mello discussed his children's work dealing with serious themes in his home country, such as child labour. It echoed a point raised by Witi Ihimaera in his rousing keynote address (a real call to action) on the first day of the conference, when he advocated for stories that tackled the pressing issues facing the next generation! He asked, "who is writing the story for the child whose island is about to be swamped by rising sea levels?"
Peter Dowling of Oratia Press (looking after Roger Mello at the conference) was in the front row of the audience and reports on the panel here, and the IBBY UK delegation also has a nice summary of the event and Katarina Kokanović from Croatia reports here:
The best thing about any conference like this is being surrounded by a vast group of new and interesting people from all over the world who are passionately interested in this one area. For me it was personally inspiring, and I feel following on from the experience, all this time later, I am still coasting on a new wave of creativity.
|Giant pop-up book. Photo copyright Zak Waipara|
The following week, I hit the road as part of Storylines 2016 Northland Tour, with Anne Dickson, Tim Tipene, Maria Gill and Lesley Dowding. What a fantastic group of people to be on tour with! It was a slightly surreal departure in Auckland seeing Henry Rollins in the hotel foyer in which we were gathered. As always we were shown the hospitality of Northland schools, and met with passionate teachers and creative and talented children. It all wound up with a Family Day event hosted at the Kaitaia library.
|The amazingly designed Kaitaia library.|