Participants of the Fellowship Program 2018

January – April 2018

élo für blogÉlodie Malanda, originally from Luxembourg, is an independent researcher and associate at the New Sorbonne University in Paris.  She wrote her dissertation about the imparting of values in children’s and youth literature about Africa. She discovered that many of the authors from France, England and Germany who are willing to write anti-racist books without stereotypes are falling into the trap of a colonialist marked image of Africa. That is why, during her stay at the International Youth Library, she wants to write an annotated bibliography as a recommendation list about sub-Saharan Africa in children’s and youth literature. For her professional future, she imagines several possibilities: Working at university, in publishing or in the cultural sector. P.G.

Mai – June 2018

Maciej für blogMaciej Skowera is a PhD candidate in literature studies at the University of Warsaw. He has an M.A. in cultural studies, an area where he has already dealt with literature for children and young adults and especially fairy tales. Now, he is focusing on English and American Literature. For his project at the International Youth Library, he is analyzing adult and young adult rewritings of children’s literature classics In some of those rewritten stories, the protagonists, like Peter Pan or Alice are now adults themselves and behave accordingly: issues such as violence and sex are often treated there. At the IYL, he found secondary literature that is not available in Poland. But most of all, he found a place to concentrate calmly and without distraction on his dissertation. P.G.

Mai – June 2018

Krzysztof für blogKrzysztof Rybak is a PHD student from the University of Warsaw, Poland. In his dissertation, he focuses on contemporary Polish children’s and youth literature about the Holocaust. He discovered children’s and youth literature through his B.A. course on classical mythology in contemporary children’s books. This led him to a Master in children’s and youth literature and afterwards to his current PHD. In the International Youth Library, he found international books about the Holocaust that he could compare to his Polish corpus, but above all, he got a glimpse of the diversity of international children’s literature thanks to his numerous conversations with the language from the IYL and with scholars from all over the world. É.M.

Mai – July 2018

Mell für blogMell Brites from Brazil follows two careers: In addition to her PhD studies at the University of São Paulo, she also works as children’s books editor. But inboth professions she pursues the same goal: She wants to move the study of children’s literature in Brazil out of the very pedagogical corner and strengthen literary theory. For her PhD project in Brazilian literature, she is studying new trends in children’s literature and the relation between those trends and post-modernism. She concentrates on contemporary literature and appreciates the novelty of children’s literature critique, of whose structure she can become a part. At the IYL, she had access to secondary literature that she didn’t find anywhere else, but what she loved most was how much respect for children’s literature exists – an attitude that she also wants for Brazil. P.G.

Mai – August 2018

Alain Belmond Sonyem (Kamerun)

Alain Belmond Sonyem from Cameroon is an adjunct university lecturer at the University of Yaoundé, specializing in German children’s and youth literature. After having worked on classic children’s authors like Erich Kästner and Christine Nöstlinger, he dedicated his PHD dissertation to the representations of Africa in German contemporary children’s and youth literature. During his stay in the International Youth Library, he examined the way German children’s and youth literature about Africa was used in the school curriculum in Germany and Cameroon. He also seized the opportunity of his stay in the IYL and the easy access to secondary literature to write an article on the Swiss publisher house Baobab. É.M.

June – July 218

francis für blogFrances Bottenberg came from the USA to the International Youth Library for two reasons: first of all, she is interested in philosophy for children and wanted to use the resources of the IYL to familiarize herself with the medium of the picture book: She was not only interested in the many books from all over the world, but also in the library staff’s expertise. The second reason was her job as translator of the White Ravens catalogue which she has been doing for over ten years now. She wanted to get to know the people behind this project. During her stay in Munich, the lecturer in philosophy from the University of North Carolina focused on the question of what makes picture books philosophical and how illustrators and authors work to create a philosophical meaning. Also valuable for her work were the talks with the highly qualified international guests of the library. P.G.

June – September 2018

FatemeFateme (Neda) Farnia is an Iranian researcher, who created a model to study empowerment in young adult fiction. During her stay in the IYL, she applied this model, which she originally developed in her PHD dissertation, to selected picture books of the White Ravens Catalogue. As a scholar, she was thrilled with the large amount of secondary sources in the IYL and, as a bookworm, she took great pleasure in reading a lot of picture books, poems and young adults novels she had access to in the library. But most of all she’s grateful for having met a lot of wonderful people from all over the world, whoshared her passion and her belief in the power of Children’s Literature to change the world. É.M.

June – August 2018

XaviXavier Mínguez-López’ interest in children’s and youth literature goes back to his twenties, when he started writing children’s and youth books in Catalan. He also worked as a lecturer for children’s publishing houses and now he’s an assistant professor at the University of Valencia. His field of research ranges from Literary Education in general and Children’s Literature in particular to animation and interdisciplinarity in arts education. In the International Youth Library, he worked on diversity – especially cultural diversity  – in visual books of the White Ravens Selection in Spanish, English, German, French and Italian. He hence continued the research he did for his PHD about Interculturality in Catalan children’s and youth literature. He’s happy to have found every book he was looking for and to have collected a lot of material that will be a rich resource for future scholarly works.  É.M.

July-August

VassiliVasiliki Vasiloudi from Greece combines her experience as a primary school teacher with her position as an adjunct university lecturer of children’s literature and history of childhood at Democritus University of Thrace: alongside her research and her teaching activity she’s giving workshops at a children’s library and blogs about children’s literature. At the IYL she continued a research project on Fine Arts Museums in picture books (which she started with her colleague Laura Viñas Valle), examining under which terms certain artworks become adapted in picture books. In the library, she didn’t only find an international sample of picture books that allowed her to have a more inclusive perspective on her subject, she also encountered a truly international environment that fostered academic solidarity and promoted high standard research.    É.M.

July- September

wafa für blogWafa Mezghani is an English teacher at ISET in Tunis, Tunisia. She’s also a writer and a translator of children’s books and the president of the Tunisian section of IBBY. For her research project at the International Youth Library, she examines gender representations – and especially the portraying of women – in the White Ravens Selection 2017 and 2018. Her goal is to transmit the results of this research to publishing houses, authors and illustrators in Tunisia, in the hope that Tunisian children’s and youth literature will diversify its topics and representations in the future. What she loves about IYL, are the people: the librarians were very helpful, the lecturers and her contact person, Petra Wörsching, didn’t just give her bibliographical advice, but also offered various recommendations for the cultural program. She got to see Neuschwanstein, the Christmas markets and she even participated in Munich’s cultural life by reading a French picture book to German children during the international winter stories event at the IYL! É.M.

August – September 2018

Christine Bellen’s love for children’s and youth literature manifests itself in various ways. Aside from her academic activity as an Assistant Professor at Ateneo de Manila University in Philippines, she also writes short stories for children, as well as scripts for films, theater plays and musicals for kids. Her creative work is nourished by her research: hence she transformed the Filipino short stories of “Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang” (“The Stories of Grandmother Basyang”) into picture books and into a musical play after having examined them in her Master studies. In her dissertation, she studies the topos of mountains in contemporary children’s literature of the Philippines. During her stay at the International Youth library, she explored the possibilities of a collaboration between picture books and theatrical plays, examining if there are elements that permit particular children’s books to be transformed into a theatrical play. Her stay at the IYL confirmed her belief that children’s books are a real treasure to mankind. She also greatly enjoyed the discussions with the other fellows and now feels enriched by the knowledge and the culture of everyone of them. É.M.

September – December 2018

Phil für blogPhilip Nel, University Distinguished Professor of English at Kansas State University, is convinced: what we read as children shapes the way we see the world! Thus the American scholar of South African descent is particularly interested in diversity in children’s and youth literature. After having worked on racism in American children’s literature, he came to the International Youth Library to explore the German discourse about multiculturalism through German picture books. During his time in Munich, he also explored the area, visiting Munich’s museums and historical sites, enriching his research with this cultural and historical knowledge. He loved the international character of the library, embodied in its collection as well as in its staff and fellows. Meeting people from all over the world expanded his own perspective as a scholar and developed deep friendships that continue to enrich his life. É.M. 

September – November 2018

sabah für blogSabah Aisawi is an associate professor of children’s literature studies at Imam AbdulRahman bin Faisal University in Saudi Arabia. After working on subjects like animal stories of the 19th and 20th century, national identity in picture books, disability literary studies, her current research is dedicated to immigration in picture books. During her stay in the International Library, she focused more specifically on the representation of Syrian refugee children in Arabic, English and German picture books. At the IYL, she highly appreciated the easy access to critical work. She also used her stay at the IYL to connect with the Arabic-speaking community in Germany, giving talks about Arabic children’s books at the Kulturzentrum für arabische Sprache und Kultur München and at the Arabic library in Berlin. É.M.

Disappeared books of Socialist Yugoslavia

Report on the rare findings
by Dr. Lilijana Burcar, guest researcher at the International Youth Library
in summer 2018

The central part of my research, which I conducted at the IYL between 1st July and 30th September 2018, focused on poverty in children’s literature and the differences in approaches to this issue between realistic fiction of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and mainstream Anglo-Saxon children’s literature. I consulted more than 600 books and the findings were not surprising. Unlike their Western counterparts, Yugoslav authors in their socially engaged realist fiction paid special attention to systemic investigation of the root causes of poverty, drawing attention to the structural inequalities and the need for their systemic overcoming. But my research into socially engaged children’s literature of the Yugoslav authors also yielded another, a very worrisome and shocking result. Upon my scouring of the IYL archive, it quickly became apparent that the majority of the holdings the IYL has of Yugoslav children’s literature produced between 1945 and 1989 in general – that is, regardless of the topic it deals with – can be today already classified as precious rarities despite the fact that only twenty-five years have elapsed since the dismantling of the socialist Yugoslavia. This is due to the historical revisionism and deliberate, ideologically-driven retrospective distortion of socialist reality which followed in the wake of the destruction of Yugoslavia after 1991. Historical revisionism is one of the ideological axes of the newly created mini capitalist states in the Balkans. It has rested on an implicit or explicit smear campaign against the achievements of socialism, thus also providing a platform for the justification of the nationalistic enclavisation of the Balkans after 1991. To justify the imposition of the new capitalist order, which is based on the combined promotion of capitalist social relations and nationalism, everything associated with socialism, including children’s literature, has been removed from public libraries (and archives). This happened either en masse overnight, or in some other cases gradually over two decades under the flimsy pretext that libraries are bursting at seams and are supposedly no longer able to accommodate older books for children and young adults while taking on new ones although their production after 1991 has been meagre.

My research shows that the unexpected rarities that IYL holds with regard to the Yugoslav literature produced between 1945 and 1990 can be divided into several categories and subcategories. The main category, however, includes those children’s books that deal directly with the issue of poverty, with the hard working and living conditions facing the majority of people in capitalism be it an industrial or agricultural sector, and with the issue of socialist revolution that turned this reality upside down. These two major strands of children’s literary production were the first types of books that disappeared from public libraries and their archives overnight. This list of disappeared books is headed by a specific subgenre, which includes those children’s books that deal specifically with the partisan movement and the collective effort to bring about the socialist revolution in an organized fight for a better future. In this respect, Yugoslavia amongst others produced a special series of picture books in which the focus is placed on the most important historical battles between the Yugoslav partisans and the Nazi occupational imperialist army that took place between 1941 and 1945. These were the key battles that went down into the annals of WWII history as decisive battles that took place in the Balkans and had wider implications for the way the events turned out at the end of WWII, of course in favour of the Western allies who therefore eventually started supporting the partisan movement. The IYL has a complete first part of this series, which includes four different titles (Užička republika, Igmanski marš, Bitka za ranjenike and Desant na Drvar). In the republics of former Yugoslavia, these are today indeed a rarity to behold. If you go in search of the entire series, this is a mission condemned to failure. If you go in search of individual titles in the series, it is like going in search for a needle in a haystack, the haystack being all of the former republics of Yugoslavia. For example, Desant na Drvar (The Desant on Drvar) is a picture book with accompanying text that documents the Nazi SS parachuters’ attack against the partisan main military headquarters and its leader Tito. The headquarters was stationed in Drvar at the time of one of the last major offensives in the first half of 1944 in this part of the Balkans. With 15.000 copies printed in Sarajevo in 1974 alone, not a single copy from this batch is today held by any of more than 900 public libraries in Slovenia according to the online Cobiss catalogue that covers public libraries in the entire region. In Serbia, only two copies remain and are both held by the National library, in Macedonia there is one copy that can be viewed only on the premises of the National library’s reading room and the same goes for Bosnia and Hercegovina and Montenegro with only one copy still available for viewing on each of the two libraries’ premises. That makes altogether only 5 copies of the 1974 edition, which carried 15.000 copies, still around in five out of six former republics of Yugoslavia. This makes one housed by the IYL in Munich indeed a rarity.

The above is just one of many, that is, hundreds and hundreds of examples. The era of socialist Yugoslavia was the most prolific period in the history of quality children’s literature production in this part of the world. Its authors, illustrators and publishing houses such as Mladinska knjiga and Školska knjiga enjoyed a world-wide reputation with their works fetching many major international prizes at fairs such as those in Frankfurt and Bologna to say the least about TV series they gave rise to and which also fetched major prizes at film festivals across the globe. Yet all in all, children’s (and YAL) books of all kinds, be it picture books, short stories, school primers and novels associated with the socialist period and on topics of all kinds are being systematically made to disappear. They are being eliminated from public libraries’ holdings, with only a few boutique copies still randomly in place and mostly off limit to the general public. It is therefore imperative for IYL to declare its collection of socialist Yugoslav literature a special collection and to digitalise its holdings on the socialist Yugoslav literature, for at least two thirds of which I managed to establish are rarities. By putting these books online, the IYL would not only give them a new lease of life thus ensuring the continuity of their existence but also possibly put them back into circulation among young readers, their parents, and the rest of the adults and scholars. All of us would most certainly benefit from its comeback in these much troubled and difficult times, no matter how numerically modest the IYL collection might be in its actual size.

Discoveries at IYL: Poèmes Du Soir

Each of our international guests is asked for their personal treasure they find during their stay with us. This treasure found by Nicola Daly, University of Waikato, New Zealand, IYL-Fellow 2017.  wonderfully matches our current activities in Arabic children’s and youth literature.

Poemes du Soir (Evening Poems, Heredia & Dentan, 2016) is a collection of 9 poems presented in both French (in Latin script) and Arabic (in Arabic script). In fact, Sibylle Weingart the French Lecturen brought it to me as she knew I am interested in bilingual picturebooks. Poemes du Soir is part of the 2017 White Raven’s catalogue. The publisher La Port a Jauni , established in 2015, is based in Marseilles where there is a large Arabic-speaking population and it  describes itself as specialising in producing French-Arabic bilingual books. The publisher’s website explains that their books are designed “to play with the double meaning of reading in French and in Arabic” (La Port a Jauni, 2017). Weiterlesen

Discoveries at IYL: Coloured pictorial series of myths

A Treasure report for IJB by Yue Wang, PhD Candidate, Macquarie University, Australia

I am interested in retellings and adaptations of myths, legends, folklore, fairy tales from Chinese culture, specifically of Monkey King story, but also includes some other folk tales and stories, such as Mu Lan story, fox spirits tales, ghost spirits tales and so on. I think modern and contemporary fantasy writing for children and young adults will draw inspirations from these cultural resources. And I am curious about how they could be transformed to new shapes to fit in modern era. Weiterlesen

Participants of the Fellowship Programme 2017

Serbia, Iran, Turkey, Taiwan, USA, Korea, Singapore, Poland, Chile, China, Australia, New Zealand, Spain: In 2017, 19 fellows from all over the world researched in the field of children’s and young adults‘ literature with the unique stock of primary and secondary literature of the International Youth Library.

Weiterlesen

Discoveries at IYL: Books, books, books

The fellowship program offered by the International Youth Library allows up to 15 researchers from all over the world to stay and work in our reading room. Our guests always find ther personal „treasures“. Today we would like to share with you what Dr. Kimberly McFall, Assistant professor at Marshall University, West Virginia, found during her stay with us:

During my time at the International Youth Library, I have been exposed to numerous books on my research topic of “Whose God? Using Children’s Literature to teach multicultural awareness.” The topic started specifically in illustrations that used religious symbolism and morphed into a broader scope of themes that include Myths, Folklore, Celebrations, Instruction, and Nature. Weiterlesen

Discoveries at IYL: European picture books

Through the fellowship programme offered by the International Youth Library up to 15 scholars from around the world have the chance to work and research in our reading room. Today we would like to share with you the discoveries of Dr. Myra Garces-Bacsal from Singapore:

Dr. Myra Garces-Bacsal is an Assistan Professor and the Programme Leader of the Masters of Education in High Ability Studies at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Myra is a frequent guest at the International Youth Library and discovers new treasures on each of her stays here.

What did you discover?
I have been coming to visit the IYL since 2015, and one of the things that I often look forward to is discovering unknown-to-me artists and authors whose works have not been published in English-speaking countries. I have fallen deeply in love with the art of French illustrator Emmanuelle Houdart, as she celebrates beauty in the odd, the strange, the peculiar: Weiterlesen