By Nabilah Saleh
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 (Bernama) — A big gathering of creators of children’s and young people’s literature is set to take place in Putrajaya from Sept 5 to 8.
The first such event to take place in Malaysia, the 38th International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Congress 2022 will bring together publishers, writers, storytellers, illustrators and book lovers from over 80 countries who will discuss and explore narratives specially created for young people across countries, cultures and education systems.
The biennial IBBY Congress promotes children’s and young people’s literature worldwide. The 38th IBBY Congress 2022 is hosted by Putrajaya Corporation and IBBY Malaysia, which is the Malaysian section of IBBY.
Themed ‘The Power of Stories’, Malaysia will be the first nation in Southeast Asia to host the congress, which is eagerly anticipated by people involved in creating children’s and young people’s books and reading development from all over the world.
MEETING OF MINDS
IBBY represents 80 countries with well-developed book publishing and literacy programmes. The congress, hosted once every two years by a member country, comprises lectures, panel discussions, seminar sessions and workshops based on the chosen theme.
Said 38th IBBY Congress 2022 organising committee chairman Datuk Ahmad Redza Ahmad Khairuddin (picture): “Our theme for the 38th edition is ‘The Power of Stories’ as we hope to explore the common stories that appear in children’s literature across countries, cultures and educational systems.
“We will compare and share our stories, and discuss what we can learn from each other’s stories and how stories can help us understand each other’s roles, identities, approaches and challenges.
“We also hope to explore how stories can be a powerful tool for shaping our beliefs and behaviours; for advocacy, change and building bridges; and for helping to make sense of our world.”
Ahmad Redza, who is also IBBY Malaysia president, said Malaysians should seize the opportunity to learn from the experts who will gather at the congress, comprising mainly authors, illustrators and translators.
“Speakers who are experts in various fields will be present – they are the practitioners, award winners and celebrities from our children’s storybook industry.
“These groups of people are bringing a lot of value and this is where Malaysians – with just a small fee – can learn from them and mingle with them,” he told Bernama.
The line-up of keynote and plenary speakers at the congress will be from, among others, the United States, Lebanon, Iran, France, South Korea and Canada.
Ahmad Redza added that since its founding in 1953, IBBY has also grown in the number of awards and projects it supports and in its geographical spread.
STORYTELLING IS EDUCATION
Asked if the event could elevate awareness of the importance of introducing storybooks and reading to children during their early years, Ahmad Redza said it is aligned with IBBY’s proposition to heighten the awareness level of the public at large.
Stressing that storytelling is education for young children, he said Malaysian children are deprived of stories that they can relate to.
“In the bigger picture, this is education at its best. I believe that in nurturing children, it is not just about educating them. It is about developing them, giving them confidence, understanding and injecting that quality of empathy into them because true enough, that is the life of a child,” he said.
Ahmad Redza also pointed out that the love for reading and normalising the concept of reading storybooks among Malaysian children will need to be given more emphasis.
“By now, we should have inculcated in our children the love for reading storybooks, instead of just asking them to refer to textbooks as their reading source.
“There are many good stories and storybooks, narrated and written by talented authors locally and globally, that are worth sharing with the public who must realise the importance of reading and how it can shape a better future for Malaysian children at large,” he added.
BOOK PRESENTATIONS, EXHIBITIONS
Ahmad Redza said the 38th IBBY Congress 2022 will also include book presentations as well as exhibitions featuring all the past IBBY award-winning book collections including books that won the Hans Christian Andersen Award – the highest international distinction given to authors and illustrators of children’s books.
“It (congress) is indeed a golden opportunity which Malaysians would not want to miss as they can learn directly from the (participating) authors, illustrators and translators,” he said, adding that Malaysian books will also be presented at the congress.
Other exhibitions to be held alongside the congress will feature collections from the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award, IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award, 2021 IBBY Selection of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities and 2021 IBBY Silent Books Collection.
For more details on the event, check out the website of the congress which is regularly updated at https://www.ibbycongress2022.org/.
Malaysians can also follow the 2022 Congress on their official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IBBY-Congress-2022-Putrajaya-Malaysia. (photoBERNAMA)
Edited by Rema Nambiar