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

Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis 2023 - Plakatmotiv
Poster for the award 2023 by Bianca Schaalburg

The Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur is responsible for awarding the German Children's Literature Award (Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis), which is a state-sponsored prize endowed with a total of 72,000 Euros and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. The prize is intended to encourage the development of children’s and young adult literature, to arouse and maintain public interest and to stimulate discussions in this field of literature. The goal of the award is to strengthen children and young adults in their personal development and to offer guidance to the vast German book market.

Since 1956 the German Children's Literature Award is awarded by a jury of literature specialists and critics. As of now they award books 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. From the very beginning, the German Children's Literature Award has been an international prize: in addition to German-language children's and youth books, titles by foreign-language authors can also be submitted - provided they have been translated into German.

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

The prize announcement and ceremony for all these awards takes place in October at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Download the shortlist 2023 (PDF)


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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