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Korean picture books receive special mention at BolognaRagazzi

March 7, 2023 - 17:43 By Hwang Dong-hee
“Moving Away" (left) and "The Blue: Bench" (Bologna Children's Book Fair)
"The Shadow Theater" (left) and "House of Dracula" (Bologna Children's Book Fair)

Four Korean picture books received special mention at the BolognaRagazzi Award this week, as part of the Bologna Children's Book Fair held in Italy.

“Moving Away,” written and illustrated by Lee Ji-yeon, was given special mention in the Fiction category. “This exquisitely designed leporello … invites the reader to follow a magnified ant trail through the garden where a child is playing,” said the jury.

"The Blue: Bench" written and illustrated by mia was recognized in the Opera Prima category for its “unique format” and “creative design layout.” The Opera Prima category is open to authors and illustrators who are published for the first time.

"The Shadow Theater," written and illustrated by Kim Kyu-ah, and "House of Dracula," written by 5unday with art by Yun Hee-dae, received special mention in the middle reader subcategory under Comics.

The jury said that “the soft tones of Kim’s colored pencils lure the reader unsuspectingly into the shadow theater of this book,” while Yun’s work was noted as “a wonderful work of wordless storytelling enriched by a wise use of narrative framing and of graphic design.”

The awards ceremony was held Monday and Tuesday during the book fair.

The BolognaRagazzi Award has been presented by the book fair since 1966, and is regarded as one of the three biggest awards for children’s books, along with the Hans Christian Andersen Awards and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

The annual award recognizes books of “the finest illustrated children’s books worldwide.” The top prize and two to three “special mention,” or runner-up prizes are given in six categories.

"Everything That Happened Before You Arrived" by Yael Frankel of Argentina won the top prize in Fiction while "Art of Protest" written by De Nichols of the UK won in the Nonfiction category. "Mariedl. A Gigantic Story" by Laura Simonati of Belgium won in the Opera Prima category.

Under the Comics category, "Whose Sock?" by Sun Jun of Taiwan won the early reader award, while "One Morning" written by Jerome Dubois with art by Laurie Agusti of France and "Planetarium Ghost Travel" by Sakana Sakatsuki of Japan won the middle grade and young adult awards, respectively.

The Special Jury Prize went to "The Purse" by Maria Jose and Ana Palmero Caceres of Mexico.

"Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams’s Photographs Reveal about the Japanese American Incarceration" by Elizabeth Partridge and Lauren Tamaki of USA was honored in this year’s special category dedicated to photography.

Korean books have won awards almost every year since 2004.

In 2022, “Summer” by Lee Suzy and “Father’s big hands” by Choi Deok-kyu won special mentions in the Fiction and Nonfiction category, respectively.

Lee, who also won a Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2022, will speak Wednesday at the book fair.