Author/illustrator Chris Haughton's Shh! We Have A Plan (Walker Books) was among five winners of the Chen Bochui Picturebook Awards in Shanghai, China, earlier today (Thursday 12th November).
The UK title, which also won the 2014 Association of Illustrators' Award for Children's Books, triumphed in the category of Best International Children's Picturebook awards, winning 20,000 RMB (£2,000). Jury member Piet Grobler, a South African illustrator, praised Shh! We Have a Plan for its "unique and joyful" approach, saying Haughton "understands the world of his young readers."
Winning alongside Haughton were US title Special Delivery by Philip C Stead, illustrated by Matthew Cordell (Roaring Brook Press) and, from France, a translation of a Chinese legend about a female warrior, La Ballade de Mulan, translated by Chun-Liang Yeh, and illustrated by Clemence Pollet (HongFei Cultures).
Also named winners at the awards were picturebooks Pao Pao Zhen by Ya Dong, illustrated by Mai Ke Xiao Hui (Hsin-Yi Foundation, Taiwan), and Smoke by Cao Wenxuan, illustrated by Yu Rong (21st Century Publishing Group, China).
Meanwhile Best Children's Author of the Year was named as Danish illustrator Hanne Bartholin, much of whose work, which includes Frida and Bear, written by Anthony Browne (Walker), is very popular in China.
The Chen Bochui Award, first given in 1981, was opened up to international publishers in 2014. The award aims to promote excellence in children's publishing, as well as cultural diversity. Over 100 titles from more than 50 publishers, including from the UK, US, Germany, France, Spain and Brazil, were submitted this year.
Winners were chosen by an international jury which as well as Grobler included children’s literature consultant Maria Jesus Gil from Spain and children’s literature specialist Nathalie Beau from France.
The jury said it had awarded the prize to "five superb titles that showcase the very best in storytelling, illustration and presentation."
“The Chen Bochui Awards are very influential in China as they are a hallmark of quality and so attract great interest from bookstores, libraries, schools as well as parents. I am sure that as a result, the winning titles will continue to be enjoyed by many, many children around the country and beyond for along time to come,” said a jury spokesperson.
Chen Bochui, who died in 1997, is said to be considered the father of modern children’s literature in China. He translated Pushkin's Children's Tales, The Wizard of Oz and Don Quixote into Chinese for the first time in the 1940s, and donated his life savings to establish a children’s literature award.
The awards were made just ahead of the Shanghai International Children's Book Fair, which opens tomorrow (13th).