English Key Facts on Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur (AKJ)

The Association for Children’s and Youth Literature – Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur – was founded on January 22, 1955 as an umbrella organization for children’s and youth literature in Germany. Among the founding members were Erich Kästner and Jella Lepman. Since its founding, the Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur has been the German Section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). 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.

Currently, 59 member associations as well as over 260 individuals, have joined together in this nationwide lobby. The aim is to strengthen and promote children’s and youth literature as well as the literary-aesthetic education of children and young people in Germany.
The Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur is financially supported by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

In its quarterly journal "JuLit" and other publications the Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur 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.

German Children's Literature Award - Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis

DJLP 2024_Plakatmotiv
Poster for the award 2024 by Benjamin Gottwald

The Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur is responsible for awarding the German Children's Literature Award (Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis), a state-sponsored prize endowed with a total of € 72,000, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women, and Youth. The prize aims to encourage the development of children’s and young adult literature, to foster and sustain public interest, and to stimulate discussions within this literary domain. Its objective is to empower children and young adults in their personal development and to provide guidance in the expansive German book market.

Since 1956, the German Children's Literature Award has been conferred by a Jury of Critics. Currently, they evaluate books in four categories: Picture Book, Children's Book, Young Adult Book, and Non-Fiction. Additionally, since 2003, an independent Young Adult Jury presents its own prize. Each category carries a value of €10,000. From its inception, the German Children's Literature Award has been an international prize, welcoming submissions not only in the German language but also from foreign-language authors, provided their works have been translated into German.

Furthermore, two Special Awards are alternately presented to German authors, illustrators, or translators. The Special Award for Lifetime Achievement is valued at €12,000, while the Special Award for New Talents is set at €10,000. Both are also financed by the Federal Ministry.

The nominees are presented at the Leizig Buchmesse in March, the prize announcement and ceremony for all these awards take place in October at the Frankfurter Buchmesse.


Other Main Projects

Author Promotion

Together with the Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur, the German Literature Fund is annually awarding the Kranichsteiner Youth Literature Scholarships to four young German-language authors. All scholarships last six months and are endowed with 18,000 Euro each.


Reading Promotion

With the Literanauten, a nationwide reading promotion project, the Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur invites young people to get active and to become reading promoter themselves. The programme focuses on the peer-to-peer approach: young people with an affinity for reading who are organised in reading clubs, literature juries or writing groups are first trained and then become active in trying to inspire their peers with numerous creative concepts for books and reading.


Translator Promotion

Since 2010, the Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur has been organising the annual international translators’ workshop "Kein Kinderspiel!”. It is aimed at professional translators from all over the world who translate children’s and youth literature from German into their respective mother tongues. The goals of the workshop are to make the art of translation and the important role of translators as mediators between cultures more visible, to contribute to the exchange and networking between translators and to intercultural understanding and to increase the volume of translations of German-language children’s and youth literature, especially into "smaller languages".


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