UK-published books from Scallywag Press, Walker Books and Penguin are among those nominated on the international list of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities, managed by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).
The final list, prized for its international content and intended to honour the increasing diversity in children's books, will be selected by the Toronto-based IBBY Documentation Centre of Books for Young People with Disabilities from the nominations it receives, and revealed at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair next spring. The books that are chosen will fill an annotated printed catalogue, published by IBBY, and tour as part of several collections.
IBBY UK’s nominations this year comprise Steve Antony's Amazing (Hodder, 2019), Rose Robbins' Me and My Sister (Scallywag Press, 2019) and Talking is Not My Thing (Scallywag Press, 2020). Titles nominated, classed as suitable for Young Adults, are Mel Darbon's Rosie Loves Jack (Usborne, 2018); Joseph Elliot's The Good Hawk (Walker Books, 2020); Linda Newbery's The Key to Flambards (David Fickling Books, 2018); Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott's Can You See Me? (Scholastic, 2019); and Jacqueline Wilson's Love Frankie, illustrated by Nick Sharratt (Penguin, 2020).
The selection was made by Dr Rebecca Butler, Carol Thompson and Ros Bird, who said the chosen books are "outstanding and reflect a variety of disabilities", although they believed the selection had been "greatly impacted" by the pandemic, noting the volume of submissions was lower than usual.
"This year the selection process has been greatly affected by Covid-19," they said jointly. "Some of the 79 IBBY sections had no postal service, no access to translators, and libraries were closed. In the UK we had a lower response to our request for submissions, and we may have missed great examples from UK publishers with everyone working at distance.
"But we agree that our chosen nominated titles are outstanding and reflect a variety of disabilities. At a time when children need these books the most, it's more urgent than ever to get them out into the world and into the hands of children."
For the last several years, IBBY UK has organised tours of the international collections of "outstanding books" to venues in Plymouth, Brighton, Cambridge, Glasgow and Edinburgh, among others. The 2019 collection was due to tour in the autumn of 2020, but this has been suspended due to the pandemic. It is hoped the tour will resume when possible.