The Swiss Institute for Children’s and Youth Media SIKJM is a national center of excellence for children’s and youth literature. With its headquarters in Zurich (SIKJM) and two regional offices in Lausanne (ISJM) and Bellinzona (ISMR), it is the only institution in Switzerland that deals inclusively with children’s and youth literature, including literacy promotion projects.
SIKJM is supported by the Johanna Spyri Foundation. It is associated to the University of Zurich UZH and a member of the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Science SAGW.
The SIKJM activities include:
- Library: A unique library with an extensive collection of historical and contemporary children’s and youth books, ranging from the 17th century to the present day. Part of this collection are the former private children’s book collections of Bettina Hürlimann, Elisabeth Waldmann and Peter Keckeis. The library also offers a wide range of academic literature on the topic. The library’s collections are an important and valuable cultural heritage of Switzerland.
- Johanna Spyri Archive: The Johanna Spyri Archive represents the world’s largest collection on the Zurich author (1827-1901) and has been included in UNESCO’s “Memory of the World” registry in 2023. The archive includes the literary works of the author as well as more than 1000 handwritten documents and letters from Johanna Spyri and her family. In addition, there are personal photos and memorabilia, original illustrations, objects from the “Heidi” media network and an extensive collection of scholarly literature on the author and her contemporaries.
- Children’s Literature Experts: SIKJM offers advisory services, as well as book and media recommendations to teachers, librarians, parents and other interested parties. The Institute maintains “Ricochet”, a leading online database on French language children’s and youth literature (www.richochet-jeunes.org). A database with reviews on German-language children’s and youth media is available on the website www.sikjm.ch.
- Continuing Education: SIKJM gives courses and training programs in the field of literacy promotion, children’s and youth literature and related subjects. These continuing education courses are aimed at librarians, teachers, and other interested parties.
- Reading promotion projects: The Institute develops and manages reading promotion projects for babies, children and young people. SIKJM focuses especially on the early literacy promotion for families with migration background with its program “Tell Me a Story” (native tongue storytelling sessions).
- High Quality Literature Advocate: SIKJM also aims to strengthen children’s and youth literature, in particular the Swiss children’s and youth literature. With the Swiss Publisher and Booksellers Association SBVV and the Solothurn Literature Days, the Institute organizes the “Schweizer Kinder- und Jugendbuchpreis”, a Swiss children’s and youth book prize to recognize and celebrate Swiss authors and illustrators. It also represents Switzerland on international juries and coordinates Swiss nominations for the most prestigious international prizes for children’s and youth literature. The Institute furthermore organizes events, exhibitions and publishes the professional journals “Buch&Maus” (in German) and “Il Folletto” (in Italian).
- Research Center: In addition, SIKJM is also a research center. Its staff researches historical and contemporary children’s and youth media, addresses current topics and communicates the results to an interested public through publications and exhibitions. SIKJM is integrated into a national and international network of libraries, research institutions and interest groups with similar objectives. Since January 2007, SIKJM has been an associated institute of the University of Zurich.
Photo © Berner Zeitung / Raphael Moser
“Turning children into great readers”
Activities from Swiss Institute for Children’s and Youth Media SIKJM
Bookstart: Books for BabiesSchweizerisches Institut für Kinder- und Jugendmedien
Bookstart is a nationwide project for early literacy education launched in 2008. This book gifting program targets childre...read more
School Projects: School-Age Children Reading PromotionSchweizerisches Institut für Kinder- und Jugendmedien
The Swiss Institute for Children’s and Youth Media ISJM develops and runs various projects to promote reading among school...read more
Tell Me a Story – Family LiteracySchweizerisches Institut für Kinder- und Jugendmedien
“Tell Me a Story” is a family literacy program initiated in 2006 by the Swiss Institute for Children’s and You...read more
“Growing with Stories” and “My Child is Learning to Read”: Two Guides for ParentsSchweizerisches Institut für Kinder- und Jugendmedien
The Swiss Institute for Children’s and Youth Media SIKJM developed two informative and effective guides, which provide fam...read more
Training for Reading Promotion in Early ChildhoodSchweizerisches Institut für Kinder- und Jugendmedien
Since 2006 Swiss Institute for Children’s and Youth Media SIKJM runs a professional training program to teach how to foste...read more
Rhythm and Rhyme DatabaseSchweizerisches Institut für Kinder- und Jugendmedien
Nursery rhymes and songs are a wonderful way to experience the joy of language and rhythm from an early age. They form the...read more
Swiss Children’s and Youth Books AwardSchweizerisches Institut für Kinder- und Jugendmedien
The Swiss Children’s and Youth Book Award honors annually an outstanding publication in any literary genres: picture...read more
Training LiteraturLabor – Promotion of Children’s Literature in LibrariesSchweizerisches Institut für Kinder- und Jugendmedien
As a continuing education program, SIKJM teaches how to develop and implement stimulating and professional promotion progr...read more
Reading Aloud Day (Switzerland)Schweizerisches Institut für Kinder- und Jugendmedien
The Swiss Reading Aloud Day is the largest reading campaign in Switzerland that promotes the importance of reading aloud t...read more
Swiss Reading Aloud DaySchweizerisches Institut für Kinder- und Jugendmedien
The Swiss Reading Aloud Day is the largest campaign in Switzerland that promotes reading aloud to children and young peopl...read more
Swiss Storytelling NightSchweizerisches Institut für Kinder- und Jugendmedien
Swiss Storytelling Night takes place every year on the second Friday in November in venues all over Switzerland. The Swiss...read more