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Two Korean children’s books receive Bologna Ragazzi Award

Feb. 25, 2022 - 15:02 By Kim Hae-yeon
Authors Lee Su-zy (top) and Choi Deok-kyu (BIR Publishing Co., YUN Edition)
Two Korean illustrated books, by Lee Su-zy and Choi Deok-kyu, respectively, won recognition in this year’s Bologna Ragazzi Awards for children’s literature

The prestigious annual international awards identify the best products in terms of graphic and editorial quality, innovation and communication with young readers. Evaluated by an international jury of experts, the categories are divided into four genres: fiction, nonfiction, opera prima (debut work) and comics.

Lee Su-zy’s “Summer” and Choi Deok-kyu’s “Father’s Big Hands” received this year’s awards for fiction and nonfiction, respectively.

The awards ceremony will be held at Italy’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair, which is expected to open March 21.

Lee’s “Summer,” published by BIR Publishing Co., is a book divided in three acts, inspired by composer Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” By scanning a QR code on the book’s dust jacket, children can access the writer’s own commentary through a video with Vivaldi‘s Summer theme playing in the background. The 148-page book can thereby solely focus on illustrations, with no text involved. 

An illustration from Lee Su-zy’s “Summer” (BIR Publishing Co.)
“I wanted to make a book that expresses music, and recalled my children had especially loved the summer and winter theme of Vivaldi’s tune,” Lee told local media upon hearing the award announcement. She added that the cool image of water splashing while kids were playing was the general tone of what she wanted to draw.

Choi’s ”Father’s Big Hands,” published by YUN Edition, is based on the author’s own story about a boy who grows up under his father’s care, then looks after his father when he becomes an adult himself. The switched roles in the father-to-son relationship warmed the hearts of many readers. Via word of mouth, the illustrated book came to be beloved by adults as well. Upon the announcement, Choi thanked readers for recognizing his book and letting others know about it. 

Choi Deok-kyu’s “Father’s Big Hands” (YUN Edition)
Meanwhile, Lee’s work has also been chosen for the final shortlist of the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Following her first in 2016, this is the Korean illustrator’s second nomination as a finalist for the prestigious award. She remains the only Korean finalist for the award since its establishment in 1956. The winner will be announced during the Bologna Children’s Book Fair period, following the ceremony for the Bologna Ragazzi Awards.

By Kim Hae-yeon (