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Patricia Aldana Visits the iRead Foundation


On 16 May 2018, Hans Christian Anderson Award Jury President and IBBY foundation President Patricia Aldana and IBBY Vice President Zhang Mingzhou visited the iRead Foundation.

Aldana gave a presentation on topic of “Windows and Mirrors”, which shows how high quality children’s books can really bring children all over the world together. She introduced a variety of books about different cultures in the world. Many of the themes are not often discussed even in western countries.  These books are windows and mirrors for children to see the world and understand themselves.


Patricia Aldana introducing herself


Founded in 1953 in Zurich, Switzerland, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organization which represents an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together.




The Hans Christian Andersen Award is the highest international recognition given to an author and an illustrator of children's books. Given every other year by IBBY, the Hans Christian Andersen Awards recognize lifelong achievement and are presented to an author and an illustrator whose complete works have made an important, lasting contribution to children's literature.




Patricia Aldana

Canadian Publisher, Hans Christian Anderson Award Jury President, IBBY foundation President



Zhang Minzhou

IBBY Vice President, Vice Director of China Society for the studies of children’s literature, Jury member of iRead Top 100 Children’s Books



Children can know about the real world through children’s books


“Books are mirrors and windows,” Aldana said in the talk. In the World Library series, which was introduced to China by Aldana, books discuss topics such as the lives of aboriginals, ethnic minorities and children on small islands. These themes are rarely explored even in western countries.

This series includes themes such as wars, isolation, oppression and collapsed civilization, which sometimes are avoided by children’s books. However, Aldana said: “We should allow children to know that the world can be cruel sometimes. We have the responsibility to help children understand the real world, so when they’ve grown up, they can face the cruel world better.”


The audience listening attentively

Although children need to read beautiful fairy tales, they also need to understand themselves and others. Through different picture books, they can learn about many different cultures and the not always beautiful world.

“Children are curious about the world. Good stories will show children a real world. We should give children difference choices, providing them with a wide variety of books and allowing them to make their own decision. We should never lie to children, creating a false image of the world,” said Aldana.


Parents should respect children’s interests


Patricia Aldana answers questions

Patricia Aldana also encourages parents to respect children’s interests. Parents should make a good use of public libraries, bringing different books to their children. They should allow their children to choose books of their own interests.

When one person raised the question of how to answer children’s illogical questions, Aldana said: “We should never try to correct our children. Instead, we need to have conversations with them as equals. When they ask illogical questions, we should not only criticize or correct them.”

“The most important thing is children love reading and can read widely while pursuing their own interests,” said Aldana.


Chinese children’s books on the world stage

From Cao Wenxuan’s winning of the Hans Christian Anderson Award to Xiong Liang’s being shortlisted for the same award for illustration this year, Chinese children’s books are making their appearance on the world stage.


Chinese elements at Bologna Children’s Book Fair

Patricia Aldana has introduced many excellent Chinese children’s books to the world. She hopes Chinese publishers not only translate already commercially successful picture books, but also spend more time on discovering works by Chinese authors and illustrators.


Children’s books from all over the world, arousing everyone’s interest

“In the vast area called China lives 1.3 billion people and 56 ethnic groups. In our rich history, cultures and arts, there are countless excellent stories waiting to be explored, written, published and read by the Chinese and the world. However, in order to achieve this, the Chinese government, authors, publishers, media, libraries, schools, charitable organizations and reading promoters need to work together. Unfortunately, we are still mainly reading picture books introduced from other countries. I hope this situation will soon be changed,” Zhang Mingzhou said.


Zhang Mingzhou proposing introducing Chinese children’s books to the world


High Quality Children’s Books connect children in the world

The iRead Foundation Director General Li Wen said: “The iRead Foundation is a non-profit organization. Our most prominent characteristic is that we are mission-driven, committing to discovering and solving social problems. We have found that high quality children’s reading is one of the most effective solutions to the problems of social and individual development that are caused by the differences in educational resources between cities and rural areas as well as by the gap between the rich and poor. Therefore, at the beginning of iRead’s foundation, we have decided to focus on high quality children’s reading, so that every child can enjoy of the pleasure of reading and become a lifelong reader.”

In the future, the iRead Foundation will continue to bring children in the world together through high quality children’s books.

Shenzhen Aiding Public Welfare Foundation

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