Where the East meets the West
We agree with Emer O’Sullivan’s assertion that, Children’s literature has transcended linguistic and cultural borders since books and magazines specifically intended for young readers were first produced on a significant scale in eighteenth-century Europe (2005, p. 1). Taking place in a region where the continents of Africa, Asia and Europe meet, the 36th IBBY Congress celebrates the meetings of cultures in and through literature for children and youth. The East meets West theme of this congress is reflected in all aspects of life in Greece: from architecture, to politics, pop culture, food, art, music, education and of course literature.
The flows of people, cultures, religions and languages, and their interactions within it, have historically produced both intense cultural richness and tensions. The current effects of globalization make this richness and tension even more forceful. Children’s literature plays an active part in the tensions between sameness and difference, the local and the global, the national and the transnational. Comparative approaches explore the children’s literature production, flow and interaction, analyzing relevant literary products, phenomena, processes and educational approaches.
Jella Lepman, the founder of IBBY as well as the International Youth Library, believed that the sharing of children’s stories across national, cultural and linguistic boundaries can bring about intercultural communication and understanding – a vital ingredient for global peace and prosperity. We need intercultural communication and understanding more urgently than ever.
The East meets West theme offers a forum for delegates from across the globe to reach for ideas, connections, influences and comparisons within and across continental, national, cultural, linguistic and other boundaries. We can achieve this by grouping diverse books together, bringing them into a constructive dialogue with each other, exploring their cultural backgrounds and webs of relations, as well as highlighting the richness of diversity and the value of intercultural exchange, cultural sensitivity, and global awareness.
The 2018 IBBY Congress has three sub-themes:
1. Difference, sameness, and diversity in children’s literature
2. Translation, transfer, reception and comparison across languages, nations, and cultures
3. Engaging children and youth with international and multicultural literature