The shortlist for the 2020 Klaus Flugge Prize was announced today by Jessica Love, winner of the 2019 prize for Julian is a Mermaid. This award was founded in 2016 to highlight the most promising and exciting newcomers to picture book illustration and honours Klaus Flugge, the founder of Andersen Press and winner of the Eleanor Farjeon Award for outstanding contribution to children’s books.
Five books have been selected from the original longlist of sixteen by the panel of judges comprising award-winning illustrator Mini Grey; Jessica Love, 2019 Klaus Flugge Prizewinner; Meera Ghanshamdas, bookseller at Moon Lane Ink; children’s book consultant Jake Hope; and Pam Smy of Anglia Ruskin University.
The breadth of subject matter depicted in the shortlisted books indicates how varied picture books are at the moment. Illustration can convey emotions and thoughts that children are unable to articulate themselves but will recognise and identify with; picture books are able to stretch a child’s imagination and display the complexity of the world in a manner they can understand and for these reasons and many more picture books matter. It is wonderful to see contemporary picture books being celebrated by this award. These five shortlisted books include an exploration of emotions, a reworking of the traditional counting book, a magical adventure full of family love, a funny dash through a department store and a quality reference book.
The Klaus Flugge Prize 2020 Shortlist
When Sadness Comes to Call, Eva Eland, editor Libby Hamilton, designer Rebecca Garrill (Andersen Press)
What the judges said: ‘beautifully simple and pared back; the page layouts seem sparse and crisp but the work the illustrations are doing is quite extraordinary in terms of the message that sadness is something we might have to live with.’
The Star in the Forest, Helen Kellock, editor Anna Ridley, designer Aaron Hayden (Thames & Hudson)
What the judges said: ‘few books these days use light and tone or traditional watercolour skills to tell stories; it’s worked into something quite magical here.’
Where is Your Sister?, Puck Koper, editor Suzanne Carnell, designer Jo Spooner (Two Hoots)
What the judges said: ‘goes at a wonderful pace, with laugh out loud moments. It’s stylish and feels very sophisticated for a first book’.
On the Origin of Species, Sabina Radeva, editor Anna Barnes Robinson, designer Keren Greenfeld (Puffin)
What the judges said: ‘It’s full of detail and really reflects the beauty of nature. A feat of managing that amount of detail without it feeling cluttered. A wonderful reference book, a real companion for a child.’
One Fox: A Counting Thriller Book, Kate Read, editor Suzanne Carnell, designer Jo Spooner
What the judges said: ‘Visually stunning. There’s real drama here and the way the story is told is joyous. She’s done a very clever thing and created a counting book while keeping within the beats of a story.’
This selection provides a taste of the gift offered to readers of all ages through the world of illustration. Picture books are fundamental to a child developing a love of reading and these particular titles are shining examples of how this happens. Chair of the judging panel, Julia Eccleshare summed up their appeal:
‘Our shortlist demonstrates the vibrancy of contemporary illustration for children. Here are five very different books – the illustrators have different styles, use different techniques and have different intentions, but each achieves exactly what they set out to do with pictures that perfectly tell their stories.’
The winner will be revealed on Wednesday 16th September 2020 and will receive a cheque for £5,000. There is more information about the award on the official website.