Katrina Spencer, master's student, shares experience at IBBY conference

L to R: Robin Gibson (CAS '12), Marianne Martens (MS '06), master's student Katrina Spencer, CCB Director Deborah Stevenson

[image1-right]GSLIS master's student and LAMP Scholar Katrina Spencer recently attended the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) regional conference held at the St. Louis Public Library from October 18-20. Her trip was partially funded by GSLIS and the Center for Children's Books (CCB). The CCB sat down with Spencer, who is interested in translation of children’s literature and the representation of global cultures that are considered “other” in children’s books, to talk about her trip and to get her tips on conferencing. The full interview is available on the CCB website.

Tell me a little bit more about this conference. What's it about? Why did you want to go?

IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People, is interested in children’s literature from a global perspective. Personally, one of many themes at this conference was about representations of otherness in a global, 21st-century world. I feel that technology and access to people across the globe exceed our social understanding of each other. So for me, this conference was about proximity: How do we approach each other with a sensitive gaze, an attempt at mutual understanding, and genuine curiosity without fear? We often think about difference in terms of race, culture, color, religion, and language, but there were lots of people who were interested in inclusion from other angles like disability, sexual orientation and expression, for example.

The people at IBBY are in strategic positions to make texts that grapple with these topics available to the public—they were authors, illustrators, librarians, teachers, publishers (and a lot of them were parents, and it was helpful to have people in those dual roles). They were the gatekeepers, and they have a lot of power in this arena. The book you put on display is the one that’s going to get attention, and these are the people displaying books.

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