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What is IBBY? Part IV: What is the USBBY?

The American Library Association (A.L.A.) and the Children’s Book Council established the United States Board on Books for Young People (U.S.B.B.Y.), the American National Section of the International Board on Books for Young People (I.B.B.Y.), in the early 1960s. It incorporated as “Friends of IBBY” in 1979 and was headquartered at the Children’s Book Council in New York City.

The name changed soon thereafter. From 1985 until the end of 2008, the International Reading Association hosted U.S.B.B.Y. in Newark, Delaware.

Since 2009, the U.S.B.B.Y. Secretariat has been located at the Center for Teaching through Children's Books (C.T.C.B.) on the North Shore Campus of National Louis University in north suburban Skokie, Illinois. The C.T.C.B. is a partnership between the N.L.U. Library and the National College of Education.

The mailing address is USBBY Secretariat, Center for Teaching through Children´s Books, National Louis University, 5202 Old Orchard Road, Suite 300, Skokie, IL 60077, U.S.A. The phone number is (224) 233-2030.

Dr. Junko Yokota is Director of the C.T.C.B. and a Professor Emeritus of Reading & Language at N.L.U. For the first ten years of her career, she was an elementary classroom teacher and school librarian.

Dr. Yokota is frequently invited to speak at various professional conferences all over the world. According to her official biography, "Her topics center on issues of multicultural and international literature, literacy development of students of diversity, and improving literacy instruction through quality literature." She co-authored a college textbook in children's literature, Children's Books in Children's Hands.

A past president of the U.S.B.B.Y., she has also served on numerous committees of the International Reading Association (I.R.A.) and the National Council of Teachers of English (N.C.T.E.). She has served on the Caldecott and Newbery Award committees, and chaired the Batchelder Award committee of the Association of Library Service to Children (A.L.S.C.), a division of the A.L.A. She served two terms on the I.B.B.Y. Hans Christian Andersen Award for Contribution to Multicultural Literature, Reading the World Award.

According to the U.S.B.B.Y. Web site, Katie Raby is General Secretary of USBBY. However, according to the C.T.C.B. Web site, Katie Wooten is the USBBY Secretary.

The motto of the U.S. National Section of International Board on Books for Young People is “Building Bridges Through Children´s and Young Adult Books.” This motto is likely an allusion to I.B.B.Y. founder Jella Lepman’s memoirs, the English-language title of which was A Bridge of Children's Books.

U.S.B.B.Y. is chartered as a non-profit corporation. Individual people, organizations, institutions, and corporations in the U.S. “interested in international cooperation to promote and develop excellence in books for children and young people is eligible for membership.” Currently, U.S.B.B.Y. has partnerships with the I.B.B.Y. National Sections of Haiti, Lebanon, Palestine, South Africa, and Zambia.

Membership categories range from individual at different levels, to organizational, and patron membership. All members pay annual dues, the major source of income for U.S.B.B.Y.

The structure of U.S.B.B.Y. consists of a board of directors, with a president, president-elect, past president, treasurer, secretary, and twelve directors, plus the executive secretary. Members include librarians, teachers, teacher educators/children’s literature specialists, authors, illustrators, publishers, and some students.

The four patron organizations of U.S.B.B.Y. provide significant financial support to its activities. Each patron organization may appoint two members to U.S.B.B.Y.´s Board of Directors.

The patrons are the A.L.A., the Children’s Book Council (C.B.C.), the I.R.A., the N.C.T.E., and Scholastic, Inc. The sponsors are the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children's Literature, a department of the Henry Madden Library at California State University; Bloomsbury USA, an American subsidiary of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; HarperCollins Publishing; Disney/Hyperion Books for Children; Kingfisher/Mamillan; and Penguin Young Readers Group.

U.S.B.B.Y. publishes a semi-annual newsletter for its members that reports on conferences and co-sponsored sessions, as well as general news related to international literature for children and young adults. The editor considers e-mail announcements, manuscripts, and press releases related to national and international children's literature.
The deadline for submissions are August 15th for the fall issue and February 15th for the spring issue. For information about submissions, contact Nancy L. Hadaway, Editor, USBBY Newsletter, 4925 Bridgewater Drive, Arlington, TX 76017 or e-mail her at hadaway [at]

Scarecrow Press publishes the U.S.B.B.Y.'s Bridges to Understanding series of annotated bibliographies of outstanding international literature for young people. The series includes Children´s Books from Other Countries, edited by Carl M. Tomlinson; The World Through Children´s Books, edited by Susan Stan; Crossing Boundaries with Children´s Books, edited by Doris J. Gebel; and Envisioning the World through Children´s Books, edited by Linda Pavonetti. As I mentioned in “What is IBBY? Part II,” Professor Pavonetti is a member of the 2012-14 I.B.B.Y. Executive Committee.

Bookbird: A Journal of International Children´s Literature (ISSN 0006 7377), to which I referred in Parts II and III, is a refereed journal published quarterly by I.B.B.Y., in January, April, July, and October. Valerie Coughlin is the Board President of Bookbird, Inc.

According to USBBY, “The premier journal in the field of international literature for young people, it seeks to communicate new ideas to the whole community of readers interested in children’s books. The subscription rate is $50 per year.”

U.S.B.B.Y. encourages all members to subscribe to Bookbird. One can download Bookbird´s call for articles and submission guidelines.

The O´Brien Press Dublin publishes A Bridge of Children´s Books in association with I.B.B.Y. Ireland and U.S.B.B.Y. The book is available for purchase or by making a donation to U.S.B.B.Y., for $15.

Fifteen copies of A Bridge of Children´s Books are available for a free loan of six weeks for book discussion groups. One just has to pay the postage to and from one’s location. One can download the "Book Discussion in a Box" order form.

Janelle Mathis is President of U.S.B.B.Y. through 2015. The other elected members of the Executive Committee of the 2014 Board of Directors are Past President Kathy East (through 2015), Recording Secretary Evelyn B. Freeman (through 2016), Treasurer Joan I. Glazer (through 2014), and executive Director V. Ellis Vance.

I referred to Vance in Part II of this series because he is also Treasurer of I.B.B.Y. In addition he is the U.S.B.B.Y. Liaison to the I.B.B.Y. Executive Committee.

The elected members of the Board of Directors are Jim Stiles (through 2015), Ed Sullivan (through 2015), Yoo Kyung Sung (through 2014), and Vivian Yenika-Agbaw (through 2014). The Directors appointed by the A.L.A. are Robyn Mutnick (through 2015) and Wendy Steadman Stephens (through 2014).

The C.B.C. appointed Allison Devlin and Elizabeth Fithian to the Board of Directors through 2015 and 2014, respectively. Terrell Young and Lauren Liang sit on the Board of Directors thanks to the I.R.A., respectively through 2014 and 2015. The N.C.T.E. appointed Jennifer Graff and Ruth McKoy Lowery to the Board of Directors through 2015 and 2014, respectively.

U.S.B.B.Y. committees recommend American nominees for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award, and Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities, as well as for USBBY’s own Bridge to Understanding Award that is presented annually. For example, U.S.B.B.Y. nominated artist Bryan Collier and authoress Jacqueline Woodson for the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Naturally, it was U.S.B.B.Y. that organized the 1990 I.B.B.Y. Congress in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was also responsible for International Children’s Book Day in 1972 and 1994.

As one might expect, U.S.B.B.Y. is a partner in the Reading Promotion campaign of the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book in Washington, D.C. U.S.B.B.Y. participates in I.B.B.Y. activities and represents I.B.B.Y. on U.N.I.C.E.F.’s N.G.O. Committee in New York City. U.S.B.B.Y. members also contribute to a “Hands across the Sea” program which helps pay partial I.B.B.Y. dues of underfunded I.B.B.Y. National Sections.

The 10th I.B.B.Y. Regional Conference was held in St. Louis, Missouri, October 18th-20th 2013, at the historic Central Library of the St. Louis Public Library, which reopened in 2012 after a two-year-long renovation. Maryann Macdonald, authoress of Odette’s Secrets, was the featured speaker at U.S.B.B.Y.’s program at the A.L.A. Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia on the night of January 24, 2014.

This event was co-sponsored by three A.L.A. youth divisions: the American Association of School Librarians (A.A.S.L.), the Association of Library Service to Children (A.L.S.C.), and the Young Adult Library Service Association (Y.A.L.S.A.). Bloomsbury Children’s Books hosted the reception that followed.

The 11th I.B.B.Y. Regional Conference in New York City, October 16-18, 2015. It will be held in conjunction with “Alice 150: Celebrating Wonderland” at The Léman Manhattan Preparatory School, located in the historic Bank of America headquarters, Broad Street Ballroom and Cunard Cruise Line buildings in Lower Manhattan.

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