Francesca Sanna has won the Klaus Flugge Prize for most exciting newcomer children’s picture book illustration for her tale of a family escaping conflict, inspired by an Italian refugee centre she visited.
Sanna received her award for The Journey, published by Nobrow children's imprint Flying Eye, at a ceremony in London on Wednesday (13th September) with a £5,000 cheque presented by one of the judges Axel Scheffler.
Sanna was inspired to write the story of a mother and her two children fleeing war after encountering two young girls in a refugee centre in Italy. She interviewed many more refugees afterwards and incorporated their stories into the book, which was published in April last year.
The other judges included writer and the Sunday Times children’s books editor Nicolette Jones, owner of Tales on Moon Lane bookshop Tamara Macfarlane as well as last year’s prize winner Nicholas John Frith.
The Journey beat Little Red (Macmillan Children’s Books) by Bethan Woollvin, along with Tate’s The Museum of Me by Emma Lewis and two books from American pubishers: First Snow (Chronicle Books) by Bomi Park and Hannah and Sugar (Abrams) by Kate Berube. The shortlist, revealed in May, featured illustrators from Korea, Italy, and the United States as well as the UK.
Francesca Sanna and Klaus Flugge
Scheffler described The Journey was the “most inventive and original of all the entries”. He said: “The fear the family experiences is strongly expressed in the graphic language of the book which is beautifully designed. The stylish drawings are varied and yet consistent.”
Chair of the judges, Julia Eccleshare said: “Through words and pictures working perfectly together she tells her story in a way that will move all readers whatever their age. Over his long career, Klaus Flugge has always been ready to publish ground-breaking books, and many of those, though deemed challenging on publication - Not Now Bernard by David McKee for example - are today recognised as classics."
She added: "It is fitting that the prize in his name is this year going to Francesca for The Journey and we are all excited to see what she does next.”
Sanna said she was "incredibly honoured" to wi the award and the prize money would help her "continue doing the work I love, focusing on topics I deeply care about.”
The Klaus Flugge Prize was founded last year to honour publisher and Andersen Press founder, Klaus Flugge.