By Ogova Ondego
Published October 22, 2016
Among the nominated writers, illustrators, reading promoters and storytellers whose names were unveiled at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany on October 20, 2016 are Zambia’s Lubuto Library Partners and South Africa’s Biblionef and multi-award-winning author and illustrator Niki Daly ‘whose picture books celebrate the imaginative powers of children and their day-to-day lives’.
Other than for the two organisations and author-illustrator, Africa does not feature much in ALMA 2017, an initiative touted as being the world’s largest literature award for children and youth.
While Lubuto–which means light, knowledge or enlightenment in the Bemba language–says on its website that it “provides an open system of libraries and accessible services and works with colleagues in Africa to build their capacity to serve young people through public libraries,” Biblionef South Africa –part of Biblionef, a not-for-profit organisation established in France in 1989 with six depots in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Suriname, Ghana and South Africa–says its goal is “to provide access to good storybooks to children.”
South Africa’s PRAESA won the ALMA in 2015. It is so far the only laureate from the mother continent; 16 laureates have so far been rewarded by ALMA since its founding in Sweden in 2002.
“We in the jury are very much looking forward to learning more about the works and the activities of the candidates,” said Professor Boel Westin, chair of the ALMA jury.”The nomination list is a gold mine for anyone interested in international children’s and YA [young adult] literature. I hope that this list will be spread and used in all possible situations concerning reading and storytelling.”
Besides creating ‘works or activities of the highest quality’, ALMA laureates are expected to ’embrace the humanistic values that Astrid Lindgren, the Swedish writer the award is named after, treasured’.
The candidates, ALMA says, are proposed by about 100 organisations and institutions from all over the world and the nomination done by the ALMA jury.
“These nominating bodies, with expert knowledge, can nominate candidates from their own country or region but also from abroad,” ALMA says.
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ALMA is said to be designed to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature.