Malaysia Focus Guest Post – IBBY President Ahmad Redza on “Celebrating Diversity Through Multicultural Children’s Literature”

Peter Duke moderating Yusof Gajah's session at AFCC 2013Continuing our series of guest posts by author Peter Duke about the Malaysia-focused/perspective presentations at this year’s AFCC.

Peter has written a number of children’s books that have been published under the name Peter Worthington by the exciting Malaysian publisher Oyez!Books. Originally from the UK, Peter has lived and worked in different countries in Asia, including Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. He first served in the British army and was global partner of a major management consultancy firm until his retirement.


Ahmad Redza

IBBY President Ahmad Redza at 2013 Asian Festival of Children's Content (AFCC)

Ahmad Redza, who is currently the President of IBBY (the International Board on Books for Young People), gave a very polished presentation on his chosen subject. He made the point a number of times of his firm belief that children and books together create a greater understanding of different races, cultures and religions.
He stressed that children are our future and by bridging the gap through literature we create a platform for peace. A well-illustrated picture book can be read and understood in any language. Literature serves as a powerful vehicle for helping children understand themselves, their communities and the world.

‘Children in crisis’ is an important IBBY project. The key thrust of this is to bring knowledge through books and literature to children who are recovering from trauma caused by earthquakes, rebellion, loss of citizenship and being separated from their parents and often being driven from their homes. Reading, and learning to read, can bring peace of mind and help in a child’s recovery. But just giving a child a book is not sufficient; he or she needs to be taught how to use a book to gain greatest benefit from them.

In conclusion Redza reiterated his belief that through literature, children can bridge the gap between races, religions and cultures across countries and make the world a better place for all.

Then, at the end of his talk Redza also gave a brief overview of IBBY and its roles and projects.

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