2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award Winners

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) has named author Eiko Kadono (Japan) and illustrator Igor Oleynikov (Russia) winners of the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Awards.

Given every other year by IBBY, the awards recognize lifelong achievement and are presented to an author and an illustrator whose complete works have made an important, lasting contribution to children’s literature.

Kadono wrote Japanese classic Kiki’s Delivery Service, which was adapted for the screen by Studio Ghibli.

Here is the text of the citations:

Eiko Kadono from Japan

There is an ineffable charm, compassion, and élan in the work of this great Japanese author.  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.  And almost always fun. And always life affirming.

Although, Kadono has travelled widely throughout the world, her stories are deeply rooted in Japan and show us a Japan that is filled with all kinds of unexpected people.  Her female characters are singularly self-determining and enterprising; figuring out how to cope with all kinds of complications without suffering too many self-doubts – though some of these do creep in.  As such, they are perfect for this time when we are all seeking girls and women in books who can inspire and delight us with their agency. The language in her picture books is notable for its playfulness and use of onomatopoeia. And of course, the beautiful, but simple language in her novels makes them extremely readable.

Igor Oleynikov from Russia

This exceptional illustrator can bring the page alive in a way that must be the envy of his peers. Coming from an early career as an animator, Oleynikov is a master of design and composition.  Furthermore, he brings an extraordinary cast of characters to life –from young boys and girls, to witches and giants, to wolves and sharks, to fairies and trolls, to Joshua and Ruth from the Old Testament, to even a brilliant tiny mouse who goes to Harvard!  Though he claims not to like illustrating ‘cute’ children, he is more than capable of creating beauty – in his landscapes and in his characters.  Beautiful or not, human or not, they burst with life, movement and expression.

Oleynikov brings the great Russian artistic vocabulary, style and passion to his work.  He frequently illustrates the Russian masters, Pushkin, Gogol, Trotsky, Brodsky, bringing them to life and to our contemporary sensibility. His versions of the classics are always original and surprising, never obvious or what one might expect. He is equally brilliant with Andersen, Grimm, the Old Testament, and Lear. While he excels at the short form—poems, stories, traditional tales, he can also create fabulous picture books. His talent knows no bounds.

The award jurors were:

  • Lola Rubio (Argentina) – an editor and librarian
  • Yasmine Motawy (Egypt) – a professor of children’s literature
  • Eva Kaliskami (Greece) – a teacher
  • Yasuko Doi (Japan) – an international children’s librarian
  • Shereen Kreidieh (Lebanon) – a children’s publisher
  • Denis Beznosov (Russia) – an international children’s librarian
  • Andrej Ilc (Slovenia) – a publisher of adult and children’s books
  • Reina Duarte (Spain) – a children’s publisher
  • María Beatriz Medina (Venezuela) – director of the Banco del Libro and a professor
  • Junko Yokota (USA) – a children’s literature specialist

Also announced were winners of the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award:

Les Doigts Qui Rêvent (LDQR), which was created in 1993 as a response to the observation: a total lack of access to Tactile illustrated Books (TiBs) for visually impaired children in France, Europe and the world.

[Thanks to Chip Hitchcock for the story. This story will be scraped by Locus in 5…4….3…]

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