English Key Facts
Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur e.V. (AKJ)
The Association for Children's and Youth Literature is an umbrella organization founded in 1955. Currently, it has 48 organizations from the field of libraries, research, education and publishing as members, as well as over 200 individual members. It is supported financially by the German Federal Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. As a nationwide lobby it promotes children’s literature and the literary education of young people.
The business office is located in Munich and provides support to the honorary board members who are elected every three years by the member assembly. Since its founding, the Association for Children's and Youth Literature has been the German Section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).
The Association for Children's and Youth Literature is responsible for awarding the German Children's Literature Award (Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis), which is a state-sponsored prize for works of fiction. It has been awarded annually since 1956 by a jury of literature specialists and critics in four categories: picture book, children's book, young adult book and non-fiction. In addition, since 2003 an independent young adult jury gives its own award. Each category carries a value of 10,000 Euro. Furthermore, two special awards are presented alternately to German authors, illustrators or translators. This special award for lifetime achievement is set at 12,000 Euro. The newly created special award for new talents carries a value of 10,000 Euro. All winners are announced in a festive ceremony which takes place at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.
In its quarterly journal "JuLit" and other publications the Association for Children's and Youth Literature provides orientation as well as valuable selection and evaluation aids for the wide market of children's and youth literature. It organizes national and international workshops and conferences to encourage interaction among those working on a daily basis in the field of children's and youth literature. Furthermore, it supports reading promotion projects and programmes for authors and translators.