“The stories we tell, write and read can change lives.”

After the Award week in Stockholm, our South African friends Carole Bloch, Ntombi Mahobe and Malusi Ntoyapi went to visit the Interantional Youth Library (IJB) in Munich. Claudia Söffner, member of the English language section of IJB, has written a few lines about the visit, published today:

An evening with PRAESA, the 2015 ALMA Winner, at the International Youth Library

Every year in late spring, the International Youth Library has the great pleasure to present the new Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) winner to a German audience. PRAESA, the 2015 winners, travelled to Schloss Blutenburg in Munich on 3rd June. For them, the Munich visit was the conclusion to a busy ALMA award week in Sweden, which had been filled with school visits, interviews and presentations, including the grand prize giving ceremony at Stockholm Concert Hall just two nights before.

Carole Bloch and Ntombizanele Mahobe from Praesa.

PRAESA, Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa, is an organisation that promotes reading and literature for young people in different languages. For more than twenty years PRAESA has combined latest research with creative methods to find new ways to make children in South Africa discover the joy of books and storytelling not only in English and Afrikaans but also – and most importantly – in their mother tongues.

Munich musician Ardhi Engl

The ALMA evening opened with two musical pieces by Munich musician and multi-instrumentalist Ardhi Engl. Playing on various instruments that he created from everyday objects, such as a piece of plastic pipe or a set of badminton rackets, Ardhi Engl entertained and delighted the audience in between speeches and presentations with his experimental compositions.

Dr. Christiane Raabe, the library’s director, warmly welcomed the guests of honour and congratulated them on winning the world’s largest prize for international children’s and young adult literature. Her welcome address was followed by the laudatory speech held by renowned German children’s book author Kirsten Boie. Boie, who has been supporting humanitarian projects in Swasiland for years, stressed the importance of reading and storytelling. She stated how grateful she is that ALMA does not only honour the creators of children’s literature but also the people who strive hard to bring children and books together. To her, reading is a core skill that children need to learn in order to develop empathy with other people, express their own feelings more adequately and form their own opinions. She strongly believes that books and stories enable children to change the future world for the better – a belief that she shares with Astrid Lindgren and with PRAESA.

Continue to read at the IJB web, link here.

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