Last week, Trish Marx, a writer friend of mine, sent me a message about IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People. They are a non-profit company that began in Switzerland in 1953, founded on this belief: “IBBY believes that children who are suffering from natural disaster, displacement, war and its aftermath, desperately need books and stories as well as food, shelter, clothing and medicines. These are necessities and are not mutually exclusive.”
How essential are books to the health and well being of people in a a crisis? Certainly not more important than clean clothing, shelter, food, water and medicine, but is it as important? I think so.
IBBY’s Children in Crisis Programme was up and running in Haiti, but following the earthquake, they had not heard from the people or the children involved. IBBY is asking for donations to their program, and this is one area that people aren’t really thinking about right now.
Can literature help in times like these? Can I?