IBBY Mexico: 40 Years of Forming Readers and Promoting Excellence in Children´s and YA Lit in Spanish

By Andrea García, Ph.D. Literacy Consultant, Pädi, Queretaro, Mexico

IBBY Mexico LogoThe International Board for Books for Young People (IBBY) is a well–established international presence for promoting reading and helping bring high quality children’s and young adult literature to readers across the world. Today, I want to focus on IBBY Mexico, and specifically to highlight their yearly guide to the best children’s and young adult literature available in Spanish. This is a resource that I know will become a favorite one for teachers, educators, and researchers around the world wanting to keep up with the latest trends and happenings in the publishing world in Spanish.

Founded in 1979 as an association dedicated to promoting children’s and young adult literature, it was renamed in 2008 when it became known as IBBY Mexico; they affiliated with IBBY International a year later. Since 1983, they managed to secure a small physical space where, for almost 30 years, they worked to launch many of their community projects and where they kept their growing library. In 2012, thanks to the generosity of the Fundación Alfredo Harp Helú, IBBY Mexico gained a new site and moved into in a historic house called Casa de la Araucaria, located at the heart of Mexico City and catalogued as a Mexican architectural landmark. This magnificent estate is now the headquarters of one of the most extensive reading promotion initiatives in Mexico.

IBBY HouseAmong their many important contributions to helping raise readers is the Biblioteca BS–IBBY Mexico. Their lending library houses about 30,000 books, making it the largest library in Mexico specialized in children’s and young adult literature. They have a searchable online catalogue, offer school visits, and have a number of special exhibits during the year.

IBBY LibraryIBBY Mexico provides specialized courses and professional development for teachers and reading mediators. They also offer a full program of reading initiatives in–house, as well as in–house book fairs and in other community spaces.

Today, I want to share with you their Guía de Libros Infantiles y Juveniles IBBY México (Guide of Children’s and Young Adult Books IBBY Mexico), published annually for the past 30 years. A special reading committee formed by experts and researchers in children’s and young adult literature reads books and selects those that deserve special attention for their literary qualities, their illustrations, the relevance of their message, and the overall editorial quality. The reading committee also takes into consideration the opinion of children and youth who have read the books and interacted with them. Selected books are then included as part of the annotated annual Guide, which is published in collaboration with the Mexican Ministry of Culture. This Guide helps inform the collection of books utilized for several of their reading programs and initiatives. In addition to reviews, the Guide also includes a bibliography focused on special topics related to children’s literature and the promotion of reading, as well as a directory of editorial houses, bookstores and online materials for those interested in these topics.

Without a doubt, the Guide is one of my favorite resources, since it is carefully curated and annotated to make it a helpful and practical reference, complete with relevant information about books that represent the state of the art of the publishing of children’s and young adult literature in Spanish. The Guide is fully accessible online on IBBY Mexico’s website and you can access it here, where you can also find past issues of the Guide since 2007.

Books are organized by reading developmental stages, which they identify as:
• Libros para pequeños lectores/Books for young readers
• Libros para los que empiezan a leer/ Books for emergent readers
• Libros para los que leen bien/ Books for good readers
• Libros para grandes lectores/ Books for great readers

CoverIn 2019, the Guide includes a total of 187 books distributed among these developmental levels. Each section includes both literary and informative texts. It is important to note that, different from the list of books put together by Fundación Cuatro Gatos (See WOW Currents), the IBBY Mexico Guide of books includes titles originally published in Spanish as well as translated works.

Books that have received awards are identified with a trophy logo and the name of the award included. Since 2017, books by Mexican authors or illustrators are also recognized with a special logo, to make it easy to recognize those titles that represent the work of Mexican artists and writers. Among the books by Mexican writers and illustrators that were included in the 2019 guide we have the following titles.

Cover Gilda RincónCamino de plata (2017) is a poetry anthology by Gilda Rincón, illustrated by Bárbaro Sanó and published by Nostra Ediciones. This is a lyrical invitation to explore the wonders of language in simple prose that will captivate young and experience readers alike.

Cover David Daniel Álvarez HérnandezNoche antigua (2017) is a wordless book by David Daniel Álvarez Hernández and published by Fondo de Cultura Económica. This is a wonderfully illustrated story that narrates an original Mesoamerican myth with the traditional characters of the rabbit and the opossum. We learn about how they were involved in how the night turned into day.

Cover Francisco Xavier Soberón Mainero¿Iguales o diferentes? Genómica (2017) was written by Francisco Xavier Soberón Mainero and Mónica Bergna, and illustrated by María Elena Valdéz. This informative book, published by Ediciones Tecolote, invites us to take part current scientific conversations and discoveries around the human genome. Its illustrations add depth while making the writing makes the content accessible to young readers interested in science.

These three titles are available in the WOW Library for you to browse during open reading hours. I invite you to read them and come back to share your responses. I also invite you to go ahead and take a look at the wealth of resources provided by the Guía de Libros Infantiles y Juveniles IBBY México, and share them with your peers and colleagues, and let me know what you found useful. I am confident that you will find recommendations that will help you expand your collection of Spanish books published outside of the United States. Happy reading!

Journey through Worlds of Words during our open reading hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To view our complete offerings of WOW Currents, please visit archival stream.

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