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  • Editorial
  • Sylvia Vardell (bio) and Catherine Kurkjian (bio)

Dear Bookbird Readers,

This issue highlights the 2010 winning illustrator and author of the Hans Christian Andersen Award along with the four authors and four illustrators who are finalists for this prestigious award. Every other year IBBY presents the Hans Christian Andersen Award to a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to literature for young people. National sections of IBBY make the nominations, and a distinguished international jury of children’s literature specialists selects the recipients.

This year’s jury, chaired by Zohreh Ghaeni, selected from among 55 candidates that were submitted by 32 national sections. Ten finalists were shortlisted, including five nominees for the author award and five nominees for the illustrator award. One winner was selected from among the group of writers and one from among the group of illustrators. This year’s five author finalists were David Almond (United Kingdom), Ahmad Reza Ahmadi (Iran), Bartolomeu Campos de Queirós (Brazil), Lennart Hellsing (Sweden), and Louis Jensen (Denmark). The five illustrator finalists were Jutta Bauer (Germany), Carll Cneut (Belgium), Etienne Delessert (Switzerland), Svjetlan Junakóvić (Croatia), and Roger Mello (Brazil). David Almond from the United Kingdom was selected as the winning author and Jutta Bauer from Germany was selected as the winning illustrator.

In this issue our readers will learn more about the body of work of the winners and finalists, as well as gain insights from behind-the-scenes of the evaluation process. The first set of articles focuses on the winners. First off, we learn about the winning author David [End Page ii] Almond in Nolan Dalrymple’s insightful article about the role of magical realism and the darker side of life in Almond’s writing for young people observing that “young characters must learn to navigate via their sense of the mystical and creative rather than the rational and knowable.” Next, Mareile Oetken paints a picture of Jutta Bauer, the winning illustrator, as an artist who infuses joy, humor, optimism, and her own real life experiences into her work. Oetken eloquently notes that Jutta Bauer’s art can sometimes be a reflection of “the seismographic record of the roads and by-ways taken…” in her own life. Bauer is portrayed as someone who is not content to establish herself as a “visual trademark,” but instead is courageously open to change and experimentation.

The next trio of articles describes the art of the finalists and the complex process by which they were selected. In the first piece, A glimpse into the process of a hard decision: Selecting the Andersen author finalists, Hans Christian Andersen juror Helene Schär depicts the difficult issues involved in winnowing down the author nominees to five finalists and then selecting just one winner. She brings to light a variety of multifaceted political, societal, and economic factors that come into play and argues that all five finalists met the criteria as winner, but in the end, only one could be chosen. Schär argues for the expansion of the IBBY Honor List by privileging both quality and diversity. Less controversial, but just as interesting is Annemie Leysen’s Four impressive nominees: Analyzing the Andersen illustrator finalists. In this piece, Leysen systematically describes the illustrations of Carll Cneut (Belgium/Flanders), Etienne Delessert (Switzerland), Svjetlan Junakóvić (Croatia), and Roger Mello (Brazil). Leysen etches precise descriptions of the finalists’ works and compels the reader to seek out the art included in each of the described books. The last in this trio of articles is written by Jury President, Zohreh Ghaeni. In “Not letting the words lose themselves:” The Hans Christian Andersen Jury experience, she outlines how the jury deliberated via blog in an open forum for nine months prior to the selection of the finalists. She notes that the casting of votes was not merely an arithmetical exercise, but the result of nine months of deliberate discussion. In this article, Ghaeni highlights what captured the juror’s imagination about the finalists and conveys the daunting task and mitigating concerns that framed the discussions and final selections.

Finally, the last two articles veer from a focus on the Hans Christian Andersen...


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