Gracefully floating like a leaf on top of Cheongpyung Lake, 63 kilometers north of the Han River, is the tiny Korean Island of Nami. With a circumference of only 6 kilometers, you can cross the half-moon shaped island in a matter of minutes and, in fact, no cars are permitted on the island. Nami is a popular destination for Korean families on a peaceful day trip or for a weekend retreat. It also offers stunning scenery, flora and fauna: so what better place to host a book festival? The 4th annual Nami Island International Children’s Book Festival – NAMBOOK 008 runs from May 1st to June 30th and this year’s theme is “The Echoes of Picture Books”.
Organized by the Korean Board on Books for Young People (KBBY), NAMBOOK began as an event to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen, one of the world’s greatest storytellers. The festival continues to grow in size and popularity, with visitors from around the world; and this year’s festival promises to be the best yet! An amazing program of events for all those interested in children’s literature is well underway. Over 75 countries are represented in the World Picture Book Exhibition, the Hans Christian Andersen Award Winners are exhibited, and workshops feature renowned children’s authors and illustrators. KBBY has organized “Guest of Honor Days”, which offer festival goers a fantastic opportunity to taste diverse cultures of the world via their books and artistic performances. Countries featured in 2008 include: Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Serbia, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey, and Vietnam.
KBBY promotes NAMBOOK 008 as one of the most extraordinary places in the world for children, as well as adults, to encounter books:
“It is a celebration of children’s literature with not just a fantastic array of children’s books on display, but plenty of places – both indoors and out – for people to experience the joy of reading, storytelling, book making and other events.”
The festival is a very prominent event to promote IBBY’s missions. In March this year, IBBY president Patsy Aldana announced that Nami Island Inc. of South Korea has generously agreed to sponsor the Hans Christian Andersen Awards (perhaps the most prestigious awards in the world of children’s books). In a press release, MS. Aldana said
“The annual NAMBOOK festival that attracts children’s books, performers, and artists from around the world; the Centre for Environmental Studies; the Artists’ Centre and residential cottages where artisans and artists can come to work and live with nature; the UNICEF pavilion; the outdoor sculpture garden; and most especially, the numerous little nature libraries scattered throughout the island, make this one of the most extraordinary places in the world for children, as well as adults, to encounter books”.
Have you attended NAMBOOK? If so, we would love to hear from you!