Without Readers, a Book Remains Silent

Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Honoured Banco del Libro, Ladies and Gentlemen,

When the Swedish Government and Parliament established the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, it was to emphasise the importance of literature for children and the great value that should be attached to it.

Sweden is a country rich in books and readers; we uphold the right of all children to encounter books and libraries. Consequently this, the world’s largest award for children’s literature, is intended to strengthen children’s right to culture on a global level.

The fact that the award is for the first time going to an organisation dedicated to the promotion of reading is a signal that it’s just as important to make books available as it is to write them. Without readers, a book remains silent. It’s also a tribute to everyone fighting to give children access to books.

For nearly fifty years, Banco del Libro has been working to bring children and books together in Venezuela. Using buses, river boats and mules, literature reaches shanty towns, rural schools, jungle communities and mountain villages. With educative skill Banco del Libro increases knowledge and with enthusiastic force it attracts people willing to spread children’s books all over the country.

Their work has left its mark on activities that promote reading, the building of libraries and the development of children’s literature throughout Latin America.

To our friends from Banco del Libro, and to their colleagues back home in Venezuela, I would like to say: In the spirit of Astrid Lindgren, you are making a difference. You are influencing the futures of children and young people and inspiring people around the world to follow your example.

Thank you.

Minister for Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljroth