"A House of the Mind: Maum", written by Kim Hee-Kyung and illustrated by Iwona Chmielewska, has received the main award in the Non Fiction category in the Bologna Ragazzi Award 2011 competition.
The jury described A House of the Mind: Maum, published by Changbi Publishers in Korea, as a short, elegant poem which
resounds with the silence beloved by Italian Metaphysical painters. Abstract geometrical forms are executed with pictorial mastery. Allusive constructions trigger philosophical dialogue with the figures. 16th century trompe l'oeil allow us to peek into recesses and closed chambers. Everything in this remarkably different, unaffected book - gestures, dreams, memories and quotations - is imbued with a "vision of the world". It is a vision as intense and rarefied as the interiors portrayed, and like them take time to contemplate and absorb. Books like this one do honour to children's literature. They demonstrate how Bachelard's Right to Dream is made up of hard work, great clarity and exhaustive research.
An honourable mention in the same category went to Co z ciebie wyrośnie? / What will Become of You by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizieliński (ed. Dwie Siostry). The jury said of the book:
Throughout its long history, children's literature has always strived for a lasting alliance with Art. Examples are rare, but this book is one of them. Here a completely pictorial work becomes a story. The narrative flows in signs, highlighting allusions, line-work and the mix of colours. It gives more than a nod to the Mexican murales. The typography creates a rich narrative pace; the images have the evocative force of a written text. This is a rare achievement sustained by the illustrators' passion for artistic excellence.
The Opera Prima category is a new category devoted to the works of new authors and illustrators with the aim of acknowledging the publishers' efforts in seeking new talent. The honourable mention in this section went to Słoniątko / Little Elephant, written by Adam Jaromir and illustrated by Gabriela Cichowska (ed. Muchomor). The book was also praised by the jury for its "masterly graphic technique that has tapped into a wealth of cultures" and its sensitive take on the narrative:
The book tells its story as a child would: ready to take everything on board and assign it a place in a sort of 'Dawn of Creation' world. Behind this light-hearted approach, however, lies the more serious attempt to rekindle and renew the age-old animal fables from Phaedrus and Aesop to La Fontaine. The stories also celebrate the city as seen through a child's eyes: a graphic invention of multiple lines and intersections, bridges, trains and roads. The book is a light-hearted but serious tribute to the mystery of childhood perception in those years when everything is larger or smaller than life. It is as if, imbued with a sense of sheer happiness, the two artists had Gulliver by their side to show them the way.
The winner of the Fiction category was a French edition of Aesop's Fables adapted by Jean-Philippe Mogenet, with illustrations by Jean-François Martin, published by Éditions Milan in Toulouse.
Bolognia Fiere, the organisation behind the award, is also responsible for putting together the Bologna Children's Book Fair, which takes place this year between March 28 - 31, 2011. It is among the most important international events dedicated to the children's publishing and multimedia industry. Each year the Fair proposes to all exhibitors and visitors alike special initiatives that offer excellent opportunities to increase contacts and hone ones' skills in various sectors of the children's copyright market, while strengthening professional relationships, discover new business opportunities, discuss and debate the latest sector trends. A full programme of events is in store for attendees: meetings, debates and lectures, an awards ceremony, the inauguration of the illustrators' exhibit, as well as interesting engagements in the Fair district and downtown are all on the agenda.
Polish exhibitors at the 2011 Bologna Children's Book Fair:
- Ameet Sp. z o.o - Pad. 30 Stand D/37
- Babaryba. Pl Pad. 30 Stand B/3
- Bajka Sp. 20.0 - Pad. 30 Stand B/3
- Bellona - Pad. 30 Stand B/3
- Dwie Siostry - Pad. 30 Stand B/3
- Edycja Swietego Pawla - Pad. 25 Stand B/12
- Egmont Polska sp.Z.O.O. - Pad. 25 Stand A/75
- Firma Ksiegarska Olesiejuk - Pad. 30 Stand A/41
- Hokus-Pokus - Pad. 30 Stand B/3
- IBBY Polish Section - Pad. 30 Stand B/3
- Jerzy Mostowski Publishing - Pad. 29 Stand D/1
- Liwona - Pad. 30 Stand A/39
- Muchomor - Pad. 30 Stand B/3
- PWM - Pad. 30 Stand B/3
- Prószynski I S-KA - Pad. 30 Stand B/3
- Publicat - Pad. 30 Stand B/3
- The Fryderyk Chopin Institute - Pad. 30 Stand B/3
- Polish Book Institute - Pad. 30 Stand B/3
- Wytwórnia - Pad. 30 Stand B/3
- Znak - Pad. 30 Stand B/3
For more information on the award and the Bologna Children's Book Fair, see: www.bookfair.bolognafiere.it