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Children’s Literature Festival (ChLF) in Poland is one of the biggest, annually held European festival dedicated to children’s literature. The 9th, this year’s edition of the Festival will take place in Gdańsk and Kraków.
During the Festival, young readers might meet with their favourite authors, take part in a series of creative workshops with illustrators and watch the literary-inspired theater shows. Cooperation with several cultural institutions like art and science museums, cultural department of the city councils, theaters, cinemas, sites of cultural heritage allow the Festival to invite children into non-obvious (in terms of books’ context) festival venues, what, in turns, presents the broader cultural and educational context of reading. ChLF is an founder of the well-established award for the best polish children’s book of the year.
The Best Polish Book for Children Prize has been funded by the City of Cracow and Krakow UNESCO City of Literature and has a new name: “Ferdynand The Great Award” – named after the famous dog character of Ludwik Jerzy Kern’s picture book.
The main aim of the ChLF is to promote readership among children and young readers. Very low level of the reading activity published in ‚Report of the State of Readership in Poland 2020′ (National Library of Poland, 2021) indicates 42% of Polish who read at least one book in 2020, of which only 10% read more than 7 books. The ChLF challenges the negative trend which is a general decline in readership in Poland (at the beginning of the new century the level of book readers fluctuated around 55%). The falling social range of reading in polish society forces taking the measures to stop the trends and making the reading great again. The creation of positive patterns of the reading practices shapes children’s and parents’ habits. Showing books in wider cultural contexts like art, craft and science help children to associate books with fun, play and a multisensual participation. A free admission for all festival events makes access to culture more democratic – levels the playing field.
A further aim of ChLF is: promoting the works of world-class illustrators and polish publishers who concern about the excellence both of a print and an editorial side of children’s books.