An invitation to attend an informal reception at the International Youth Library stand, “to chat and to browse the 2008 White Ravens catalog,” came before we went to Bologna, and the appointment immediately made it to the top of our list of places to be and people to see.
The lovely and well-attended gathering took place on the third day of the fair and, indeed, we had a chance to chat and meet face to face with Claudia Soffner, one of the International Youth Library’s language specialists who help select the titles that go into the White Ravens annual catalog. Their selection of noteworthy titles points children to books that foster intercultural understanding and offer an expanded vision of the world – one that addresses its scale and complexity.
Since 2002 PaperTigers has been familiar with the goal of promoting cross-cultural understanding through books, so it was wonderful to encounter so many like-minded folks under one stand’s roof. I can think of few things that are more important, in this day and age, than teaching and inspiring our children to understand and respect each other.
The International Youth Library, started by Jella Lepman in 1949, is the largest in the field of children’s and young adult literature. With nearly 600,000 titles in more than 130 languages, it is an internationally recognized centre of study that collects, documents and effectively promotes international literature for children. The library’s international outreach efforts include conferences, a scholarship program and a broad selection of traveling exhibits, such as “Children Between Worlds: Intercultural Relations in Books for Children and Young Adults” and “Hello, Dear Enemy! Picture Books for Peace and Tolerance.” Permanent collections of the IBBY Honour List books are also kept at the library.
Since 1983 the IYL has been housed at the Blutenburg Castle, a 15th century construction located west of Munich, in Germany. If you find yourself around that part of the world during your travels, make sure to stop by for a visit. The library’s vast collection, lively events and idyllic surroundings should make for a magical and enlightening experience.
White Ravens’ titles up until 2007 can be found online, at the International Children’s Digital Library‘s website. Catalogs can also be requested via the IYL’s website. Some of the English titles selected for the 2008 White Ravens catalog include the following titles, featured on PaperTigers: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian; Sky Sweeper; A True Person and Tyger! Tyger!.