The shortlist for the Klaus Flugge Prize was announced today (Wednesday 19 May). 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.
This year there is an emphasis on joy, safety and reassurance and although the books could not be more different in illustration style each of them, countering our experiences of the past year, find creative ways to portray love and friendship, security and comfort to the very young. Solace in the form of picture books is important for every age and I have a feeling these will appeal to adults too. One of these lovely books is already in my own collection and I will be adding the others very soon.
The five shortlisted books are:
Child of Galaxies, Charlotte Ager, written by Blake Nuto, editor Emily Ball, art director Lilly Gottwald (Flying Eye Books)
What the judges said: ‘an impressive interpretation of really big, abstract ideas; the images leap off the page to stimulate young imaginations; beautiful use of colour and pace’.
While You’re Sleeping, John Broadley, written by Mick Jackson, editor Neil Dunnicliffe, designer Sarah Crookes (Pavilion)
What the judges said: ‘Original and interesting; the details are so comforting; his handling of sea and sky is excellent, very muscular and with lots of theatrics; he’s had fun creating this!’
Gustavo the Shy Ghost Flavia Z Drago, editors Tanya Rosie and Maria Tunney, art Director Anne-Louise Jones (Walker Books)
What the judges said: ‘A visual treat and the text and illustrations work very well together; it’s full of detail but never cluttered; pace is cleverly controlled; just the right balance of fun and fright!’.
I’m Sticking with You, Steve Small, written by Smriti Halls editor Helen Mackenzie Smith, designer Jane Buckley (Simon and Schuster)
What the judges said: ‘Really well crafted, particularly in the relationship between the characters; lovely deadpan humour with lots of clever touches in the illustrations; love the pace and the way the story moves.’
My Red Hat, Rachel Stubbs, editor Denise Johnstone-Burt, designer Charlie Moyler (Walker Books)
What the judges said: ‘Really impressive use of colour and the characters are really alive; the hand-lettered typography works very well as do the compositions; there’s a wonderful sense of looseness to the pictures, which is very hard to accomplish; there’s a special tension in the final pages before a happy ending.’
Chair of the judges Julia Eccleshare said: “It is always fascinating to examine the books that make up the shortlist for the Klaus Flugge Prize. These five superb books provide a creative counter to the anxieties of the past year, the illustrations conveying a strong sense of comfort, reassurance and joy that even those too young to read will understand. The shortlist is testament to the illustrators’ skill as artists and to the special ability of picture books to define a young child’s world.”
Mat Tobin, senior lecturer at Oxford Brookes University and one of this year’s judges, has created a wonderful presentation of the shortlisted books with links to further information such as publisher and illustrator websites and social media which can be accessed here The long list was a cause of celebration in itself with all the wonderful books selected worthy of further exploration and Mat has also provided a presentation of the longlist too. These would be fabulous to share in schools and are a great way of highlighting and promoting new illustrators to teachers, children and families.
The winner will be announced on Wednesday 15 September 2021 and will receive a cheque for £5,000. You can find out more about the award itself and the past winners on the official website.
You can watch the official announcement via You Tube below: