Around the World in 50 Books: Exciting News About Books For Young People with Disabilities

September 25, 2015 | TPL Staff

Comments (0)

BooksOne of the terrific things about working with The IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities is the sense of community and connection that comes from looking at books that have been published around the world, all of them for and about children and teens with disabilities.

There are 4000 multilingual books in this collection -- and the more time I spend poring over its titles and discussing them with the collection's lead librarian, Leigh Turina, the more I am in awe of the creative efforts happening worldwide when it comes to children, disabilities, and books.

IBBY Collection in Action
Two young visitors explore The IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities, located in Canada at North York Central Library, part of the Toronto Public Library system
Leigh in Bologna
Leigh Turina at the 2015 Bologna Children's Book Fair in Italy

Every two years, IBBY (The International Board on Books for Young People) seeks to spread the word about this collection -- to further share that sense of community and connection that Leigh and I, our colleagues, and our fellow booklovers already experience.

IBBY does this by recognizing and celebrating exceptional books that address special needs and situations and which encourage inclusion at every level.

The latest biennial selection of outstanding titles occurred earlier this year. Over 150 books from 27 countries -- including Russia, Argentina, Australia, and Japan -- were submitted for consideration. Of these works, 50 were chosen as 2015 Outstanding Books. You'll find books with Braille, sign language, and pictograms on the list; there are also tactile books and books that meet the needs and interests of readers with dyslexia.

Much has happened since the Outstanding Books were announced in the spring. Here is the latest news about some of the titles on this list:


Newsflash #1: A picture book about Down syndrome becomes a film

The 2015 Outstanding Books feature a vibrant, energetic picture book about Down syndrome, published in Germany, that has recently been turned into a film. Planet Willi by Birte Müller looks at the daily life of a boy named Willi who seems -- especially to those who don't know him -- as if he comes from another planet. The animated film, by filmmaker Sören Wendt, was shown earlier this year at the Hamburg Film Festival. You can watch the trailer (with English subtitles) here:

Planet Willi - Trailer from Sören Wendt on Vimeo.

Newsflash #2: A girl and her guide dog travel from Italy to North America

A beautifully-illustrated story about the close bond between a guide dog and a blind girl, in Italian, is also a 2015 Outstanding Book. Lola e io (Lola and I) by Chiara Valentina Segré uses an oversize format to showcase its double-page, painterly artwork, including this scene of the two friends enjoying a day at the beach:

Lola interior pages
From Lola e io (Lola and I) by Chiara Valentina Segré, illustrated by Paolo Domeniconi. Published by Camelozampa snc in Italy, 2012

English-language readers will have a chance to read Lola's story and experience its delightful -- and unexpected -- ending for themselves when a new edition is published in North America by Fitzhenry & Whiteside later this year:

Lola and I


Newsflash #3: North American toddlers will soon meet Sweden's Pippa and Boo

And in other news about English-language editions, Ajja & Bajjas ramsor (Rhymes for you with Pippa & Boo) by Elvira Ashby is currently being translated from Swedish into English. The everyday adventures of a toddler with an animal companion are told using both words and easy-to-understand sign language.

Pippa and Boo books should be available shortly. Here is what the English-language cover of the introductory title will look like:



Newsflash #4: The catalogue for the 2015 Outstanding Books is now online!

For those who can't make it to the library to see the 2015 Outstanding Books up close, there's good news. The 2015 catalogue, which contains an annotated listing of all the books and includes some of their artwork as well, has been digitized and is now accessible online. Simply go here or click on the catalogue cover:

  2015 IBBY Selection of outstanding books for young people with disabilities


And as always, if you would like to learn more about The IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities or would like to see the collection in person, we would be delighted to hear from you. Click on the IBBY logo for contact details, hours, and more: