When we talk to decision makers about the IPA’s dual policy pillars of copyright and freedom to publish, or about the publishing sector more generally, it can quickly become obvious that we need to specify what we mean by ‘publishing’ — how there are many kinds of publishers.
As a children’s publisher myself I am obviously biased but I believe that children’s books are a special part of our industry. Whether they are just playful, educational, or trying to tackle difficult issues, there is something wonderful about that combination of text and illustration – often two different creators working in tandem – when it captures our imagination. They bear reading over and over again. Just seeing the cover can bring a smile to our faces and transport us back to childhood, or to special moments with our own children.
The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is the patron of this special international day. IBBY was also a valuable partner of the UN Sustainable Development Goals Book Club, which has produced reading lists on the 17 UN SDGs for children aged 6-12 in all 6 United Nations official languages. This wonderful project shows the particular power of books and brought everyone in the book sector together to help children understand the challenges we must all face together.
I was so pleased to be part of taking that initiative further by creating a Brazilian SDG Book Club, alongside our local book sector organisations. There have also been similar initiatives in Indonesia, Norway, Africa and more are coming.
The foundations of children’s publishing are the same as for other parts of publishing – freedom to publish and copyright. Sadly, we see children’s books being pressured in many markets by governments wanting to control what children read, whose stories they are allowed to hear. The children’s publisher is also the steward for the exclusive rights of the author and the illustrator – helping their creative works reach readers in their home countries and abroad.
I will be celebrating children’s book day today and I hope you will too.