Siobhán Parkinson’s Letter to the Children of the World

This year Ireland hosted International Children’s Book Day!

Letter to the children of the world

Readers often ask writers how it is that they write their stories – where do the ideas come from? From my imagination, the writer answers. Ah, yes, readers might say. But where is your imagination, and what is it made of, and has everyone got one?

Well, says the writer, it is in my head, of course, and it is made of pictures and words and memories and traces of other stories and words and fragments of things and melodies and thoughts and faces and monsters and shapes and words and movements and words and waves and arabesques and landscapes and words and perfumes and feelings and colours and rhymes and little clicks and whooshes and tastes and bursts of energy and riddles and breezes and words. And it is all swirling around in there and singing and kaleidoscoping and floating and sitting and thinking and scratching its head.

Of course everyone has an imagination: otherwise we wouldn’t be able to dream. Not everyone’s imagination has the same stuff in it, though. Cooks’ imaginations probably have mostly taste in them, and artists’ imaginations mostly colours and shapes. Writers’ imaginations, though, are mostly full of words.

And for readers of and listeners to stories, their imaginations run on words too. The writer’s imagination works and spins and shapes ideas and sounds and voices and characters and events into a story, and the story is made of nothing but words, battalions of squiggles marching across the pages. Then along comes a reader and the squiggles come to life. They stay on the page, they still look like battalions, but they are also romping about in the reader’s imagination, and the reader is now shaping and spinning the words so that the story runs now inside his or her head, as it once did in the head of the writer.

That is why the reader is just as important to the story as the writer. There is only one writer for each story, but there are hundreds or thousands or maybe even millions of readers, in the writer’s own language, or perhaps even translated into many languages. Without the writer the story would never be born; but without all the thousands of readers around the world, the story would not get to live all the lives it can live.

Every reader of a story has something in common with every other reader of that story. Separately, and yet in a way also together, they have re-created the writer’s story in their own imagination: an act that is both private and public, individual and communal, intimate and international. It may well be what humans do best.

Keep reading!

Siobhán Parkinson

Author, editor, translator and former Laureate na nÓg (Children’s Laureate of Ireland).

Salt Lake City Celebrates ICBD

SLCPL displayIt’s never to early to think about how we can celebrate the next International Children’s Book Day  in 2015!

Celebrating ICBD can be as simple as making a display that catches the attention of parents and children browsing in your library. Robyn Green of the Salt Lake City Public Library created this display called “Global Connections.”

Utah USBBY Representative Lauren Aimonette Liang teaches an International Children’s Literature undergraduate class at the University of Utah. In that class, she revisited the authors each student had chosen to study for their Hans Christian Andersen Award author studies (done the previous month) by going around the room and stating the title and general plot of the favorite book they had read by the author they had studied.

 

Celebrating ICBD All Year Round…

International Book Day display at Northport Library

It’s easy to celebrate International Children’s Book Day throughout the year by incorporating international children’s books in your storytimes, read alouds, and reader’s advisory, and by making displays like the one pictured here, courtesy of the Northport-East Northport Library.

Need international book suggestions? Check out the Resources page for the current Outstanding International Books list and the ALSC Quicklist inspired by 2013’s theme “Bookjoy Around the World.”

The Children of the Philippines Celebrating the Joy of Reading

Handas-SurpriseName: Eva B. Ramos

Institution: Rainbows Foundation

Audience: Children, Educators, Librarians, Volunteers

Books used:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Handa’s Surprise, Crow Boy, Each Kindness, Flat Stanley, Goodnight Moon, Chicken Soup with Rice, The House that Jack Built

Materials needed:
Video clips, pictures, PowerPoint presentation

Brief outline of program or event:
Present narrative and demonstrative materials on the establishment of libraries in public elementary schools, doing read alouds to elementary school students with extension activities, reading comprehension classes to older high school students and workshop on the magic and values of children’s literature.

USBBY Outstanding International Books List

cropped-usbby_logo_11.jpgThe list of Outstanding International Books 2014 is now available. This list is compiled annually by the United States Board on Books for Young People. It recognizes books originally published outside the United States and now available from U. S. publishers. Many of the books are on international themes. As a whole, this is a remarkable collection of books that reflect both the shared commonalities of youth and a diversity of experiences throughout the world.

An article by Brenda Dales with the annotated list is now available from School Library Journal

A Google Map showing locations of the books’ settings is available and includes cover art and publisher’s description.  A bookmark with the titles is also available.

 

Peace Stories from throughout the World

Name: Kelly Grimmett

Institution: Friends Seminary

Title of proposed program: Peace Stories from throughout the World

Audience: K-3

Books used:
Many books!

Materials needed:
Peace Stories Google Map http://goo.gl/maps/M7AvU

Brief outline of program or event:

Friends Seminary Service Learning Director, Leitzel Schoen, and Librarian Kelly Grimmett worked with Kindergarden and first grade students to create this resource as a service to the Lower School community during our annual celebration of Peace Week. This resource can work equally well as a basis for celebrating International Children’s Book Day. Using the Google map (http://goo.gl/maps/M7AvU) families are invited to read these stories and to consider using them as a launching point for a family discussion about peace and nonviolent communication. Click on each marker on the map to learn about the plot, access online resources, and receive a peace query to guide a family in reflection.

Millions of Stories

millions of stories

Name: Francois Brillon

Institution: http://millionsofstories.wordpress.com

Title of proposed program: Millions of Stories

Audience: Children of all ages

Books used:
The most diverse and maximum amount of children books possible.

Materials needed:
Parents, Children, Storytellers, fun, love, passion, books.

Brief outline of program or event:
Hi, I think promoting the Children’s Book Day would be wonderfully achieved by getting a lots of books lovers and storytelling to fulfill a spectacular and unifying storytelling goal, i.e. telling more than 1 million of stories to children all around the world! This would be an event like a Telethon, but not for collecting money. The sole and only purpose of this event would be to read stories to a lot of children around the world and make them happy about it. 🙂 This is the goal I’m pursuing at http://millionsofstories.wordpress.com

~Francois