IBBY (International Board for Books for the Young) is an international organisation promoting the joy of reading and literacy among children all over the world. Each country has a section and IBBYGhana was established in Ghana in the 1970s.
Juliana Sackey, a former Director of the Ghana Library Board, is a well-known personality in IBBY circles for her contribution in supporting the section and its activities in Ghana.
In the 1990s, IBBYGhana became inactive and in 2010, Akoss Ofori-Mensah was asked by the Executive Director of IBBY, Liz Page, to help revive IBBY in Ghana and that is what we have been trying to do to date.
An illustration workshop was run in Ghana in 2012 for young illustrators, supported by IBBY International, Sub-Saharan Publishers, and Golden Baobab. The workshop was facilitated by Meshack Asare and run by Deborah Ahenkorah.
Again in 2010, the Osu Library Fund, run by Kathy Knowles, which built and supports some six libraries in the Greater Accra Region, won the IBBY ASAHI READING PROMOTION AWARD and collected a prize of $10,000.00 at the IBBY congress in Compostella, Spain. From time to time NGOs like Biblionef, Street Library, Ghana Book Trust, and a government organisation like Ghana Book Development Council, organise reading clinics in various parts of the country and they involve publishers.
The prime function of IBBY is to promote the joy of reading and literacy among children. As such the development and publication of suitable
children’s books are necessary. This is where we find the work of Meshack Asare invaluable and an excellent role model.
The purpose of the conference is to discuss the importance of illustrations in children’s picture books and improve on our illustrations. Some fraternal delegates are expected from the United States, United Kingdom, Rwanda, Uganda, Brazil, Tanzania, South Africa, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, China, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Slovakia.
“A picture is worth a thousand words for a child; it is worth a million words. It is pictures that open their minds to creative thoughts and an imaginative and enquiring spirit. Therefore the role of illustrators is very important because it is the pictures that they draw which first attract young children to pick up books and try to read them. It is through this that children develop the love for books and the habit of reading.” This is why illustrations are so important.”
The IBBYGHANA MESHACK ASARE PRIZE has been instituted in honour of Meshack Asare in appreciation of his great contribution to children’s literature and to encourage young illustrators to produce good illustrations in children’s books; Meshack is an excellent role model. The prize is sponsored by Sub Saharan Publishers, to be awarded every two years, to the illustrator of the best children’s picture book published in Ghana.
The IBBY Ghana Meshack Asare Prize is an award that was instituted to support and celebrate talented Ghanaian illustrators of children’s books. Named after the internationally acclaimed Ghanaian writer and illustrator, Meshack Asare, the first edition of the prize will be organized in 2019 and the winner announced at the IBBY Africa regional meeting in Accra.