Kadono and Oleynikov win Hans Christian Andersen Award

Kadono and Oleynikov win Hans Christian Andersen Award

Japanese author Eiko Kadono and Russian illustrator Igor Oleynikov have won the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Patricia Aldana, chair of the judges for the Hans Christian Andersen Award of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), revealed the winners on Monday (26th March) at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

Considered to be the “Nobel of children’s books”, the award is sponsored by Nami Island in the Republic of Korea.

Kadono’s work was described by the judges as having “ineffable charm, compassion, and élan”.

“Whether in her many marvellous and funny picture books, or her great series of novels about the witch Kiki, or her novel set during World War II about a brave girl who must walk through a terrifying tunnel of trees to get to school, Kadono’s books are always surprising, engaging, and empowering,” a prize spokesperson said.

“Exceptional” illustrator Oleynikov originally trained as an animator and “brings an extraordinary cast of characters to life”. A spokesperson said that while the artist “claims not to like illustrating ‘cute’ children, he is more than capable of creating beauty – in his landscapes and in his characters”. 

The judges emphasised the high quality of many of the submissions, especially those on the shortlist revealed in January, which is why they created a list of “15 outstanding books” considered to be of the highest quality which should be widely translated.

The shortlist also included authors Marie-Aude Murail from France, Farhad Hassanzadeh from Iran, Joy Cowley from New Zealand and the last Ulf Stark from Sweden.

On the illustrators’ shortlist, Pablo Bernasconi from Argentina featured along with Linda Wolfsgruber from Austria, Xiong Liang from China, Iwona Chmielewska from Poland and Albertine from Switzerland.

For more information, visit www.ibby.org.