Children's and Youth Literature
With the Wind in our Sails!
Every year the international literature festival berlin extends an invitation to young people to embark on an adventure, to travel the world. Both big and small fans of literature as well as bookworms are invited to go exploring together with their families, friends and classmates – from the North Pole to the South Pole, all the way to the Equator and once around the globe in a mere twelve days!
In the section called International Children’s and Youth Literature (ICYL), authors and illustrators of children’s and youth fiction from all over the world read from their picture books, poetry and novels. They tell funny stories, sad stories and stories that take place nearby or in distant lands. They sing songs, write poetry, paint pictures, discuss and compete with children, teenagers and adults. The literary spectrum that is covered ranges from picture books to children’s and youth fiction to young adult literature.
There are always a lot of discoveries to be made on this journey: much that is exciting, peculiar, contemplative, secretive, unique, surprising, wonderful, difficult, dangerous, beautiful, captivating, amusing, heart warming and cheering. Discoveries that can be made near and far, in the depths of the ocean and at airy heights, close to the self and in strangers’ heads, together and individually.
And all of this without a dictionary! After the authors have read from their children’s and youth books in their own languages, or the illustrators have presented the pictures and sketches from their picture books, actors perform the German translations. Presenters and translators then accompany the subsequent discussion pursuing questions on the life and the work of the authors and illustrators.
The section International Children’s and Youth Literature is committed to fostering astonishment in young people, and to inspiring them to read and to write. It plans on reaching this goal through reading out loud and telling stories. This section of the programme intends to open the cosmos of the imaginary to children and teenagers, to impart delight in a text and enthusiasm for reading. In this way, we hope to support the linguistic and cultural socialization of young people. Children and teenagers are encouraged to expand their reading skills in collective reading, discussion and trial sessions. These settings also allow them to become more sensitive in their perceptions of the self and of others. Additionally, they enable them to see texts as “quarries” in which they can find stories, ideas, dreams, possibilities for identification and coping strategies for their own lives.
The section International Children’s and Youth Literature thinks of itself as an initiative to actively promote reading. It aims at conveying novel and joint access to books and to reading. It aspires to opening new horizons and challenging young people emotionally, socio-culturally, artistically and through hands-on exercises. The section offers a wide range of readings and events both within and outside of the school context. The entire selection of readings, workshops and projects that take place in the cooperating cultural institutions, schools and libraries is geared towards students who participate as a school class together with their teachers. As well as the chance to meet authors, the festival offers a range of events and leisure activities for children, teenagers and families.
The innovative and creative methods of transmission and types of events are oriented towards the reading needs of children and teenagers. The programme of readings and events in the ICYL section is not only concerned with the reception of literature, but focuses increasingly on the creative literary potential of its young visitors. Thus, creative workshops and projects lasting several days are of particular importance next to 'conventional' readings.
An international committee of authorities on children’s and young adults’ fiction supports the section with its expert knowledge, many years of experience in the conveyance of literature and worldwide contacts.
The section International Children’s and Youth Literature is a member of the Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur e.V. – German Section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).
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