Congress Theme

Literature in a multi-literate world

The Congress celebrates the multiplicity of language, literacy and literature in the world today. Throughout the world, literacy and literature are in many languages and many scripts, yet expression of ideas, imagination and emotion captured in very different contexts can be expressed universally.

Nearly two decades into the 21st century it is time to reflect on and to redefine what it means to be literate and what young people’s literature might ‘look like’ in a future where story is conveyed, not only through written and oral modes but also, increasingly, through visual, gestural, spatial and digital modes.

This Congress offers a forum for delegates from throughout the world to discuss the challenges and offer solutions.

The Congress has three sub-themes. The first two sub-themes arise from the broad interpretations of multi-literacies, and the third is integral to both. They present a major challenge for those involved with children’s literature and literacy education in the 21st century:

1. Global, local and indigenous literature

2. Diverse literary forms and formats

3. Engaging readers

1. Global, local and indigenous literature

Multi-literacies acknowledge that literacy and literature arise from the multiple languages, cultures and literary heritages of diverse countries around the world. Literature is global, that is, literature arising in one country can be available in many languages and countries, not just its home country.

At the same time writers and publishers are under pressure to produce literature that reflects the language and culture of their local context; simultaneously indigenous languages and literature are at risk of being overcome by mainstream languages and literature. Yet the importance of maintaining indigenous languages and literature is being increasingly acknowledged.

Challenging questions that arise from this concept of multi-literacies we hope will be addressed at the Congress. We welcome proposals for presentations that might address such questions. The following are some suggested topics – you will think of others:

  • Literature for young people in indigenous languages in a globalised world
  • The role of literature in children’s sense of identity
  • Bilingual and multilingual publishing for young people
  • Sharing the stories of the world
  • Literature at the heart of literacy

2. Diverse literary forms and formats

Multi-literacies also encompass the fact that literary formats, or modes, today are multiple. Literary formats can be oral, print, digital, visual and gestural.

Oral literary formats encompass a range: traditional storytelling through to formal oratory.

Literature today is in multiple print formats: books made from paper or other materials can include graphic novels, pop-up books, wordless books as well as traditional picture books, novels and non-fiction texts with verbal and visual elements.

Digital literary formats can include e-books, hypertexts, e-zines, and blogs.

Visual (and gestural) literary formats can include films, television, drama, documentaries and signed stories (for deaf people).

We invite presentations that explore topics which include but are not exclusive, such as:

  • The place of books in a digital world
  • Multi-modal literature in young people’s lives
  • Challenges of publishing for young people in a digital and diverse world
  • Building communities of young readers in a digital world
  • Literature through movies, performance, digital and interactive forms in enhancing literacy.
  • Copyright issues in twenty-first century
  • Changing face of libraries

3. Engaging readers

Emerging from the two explanations of multi-literacies in the 21st century is an all-embracing theme: engaging children and young adults in reading to become fully literate, empowered citizens of the world in which they live.

Engaging readers is at the heart of this Congress: a multi-literate world offers many opportunities.

We welcome submissions for presentations that confront the challenges, offer solutions and tell the stories about young people being engaged as readers throughout the world.

Call for Presentations


The Organising Committee for the Auckland, New Zealand IBBY Congress 2016 invites you to submit abstracts for individual presentations and posters.

  • Individual presentations (20 minutes) will be grouped in parallel sessions of one and a half hours total.
  • Posters will be on display for one and a half hour sessions within the programme. Presenters will be required to be beside their poster during these sessions.
  • Abstracts for presentations and posters will be blind peer-reviewed and should address one of the conference themes as described above.
  • Abstracts should be no more than 250 words in length (not including reference list) and have titles of no more than 15 words. Please indicate whether your abstract is for a poster or a presentation by placing [POSTER] or [PRESENTATION] after the title.

Notification of acceptance will be sent by 31 January 2016.

Guidelines for abstracts for individual presentations and posters

Individual presentations or posters may be about a research study, a programme or an initiative.

If the abstract relates to research, it should situate the research in the existing literature, indicate the focus or research question(s), briefly describe a methodology and summarise findings and implications. (NB. Your reference list will not be included in the 250 word limit.)

If the abstract relates to a programme or initiative, it should provide an overview of the purpose and participants, development, implementation and outcomes.

If accepted, presenters (for both posters and individual presentations) must register, and pay the registration fee by 17 April 2016 in order to guarantee inclusion in the programme. Presenters will be responsible for arranging their own registration, transport and accommodation. Suggestions for suitable accommodation will be made on the conference website.

Guidelines for poster design:

Your poster should

  • Be no larger than A0: 1189 x 841 mm / 118.9 x 84.1 cm (portrait orientation only please)
  • If your poster describes a research study, it should situate the research in the existing literature, indicate the focus or research question(s), describe a methodology and summarise and discuss findings and implications.
  • If your poster describes a programme or initiative, provide an overview of the purpose, participants, development, implementation and outcomes
  • Use graphics, tables or other relevant visuals to illustrate the main points; use colour if possible
  • Have a clear focus and be well organised in order to guide the reader through the poster
  • Keep it simple, both in terms of the language and visuals used
  • Choose a readable font large enough to be read from about 1m away (titles/main headings from about 2m distance)
  • Include the title, your name, country and organisation in the display

You may wish to prepare a handout, which you can leave near the poster.

Important dates:

Abstract submission deadline: 17 October 2015

Notification of acceptance: 31 January 2016

Earlybird registration: 1 September 2015- 31 March 2016

Presenter registration deadline: 17 April 2016