Swiss Illustrator Wins Children's Book Prize

(MENAFN- Swissinfo) 46. Solothurner Literaturtage:“Collections” gewinnt Schweizer Kinder- und Jugendbuchpreis 2024.

This content was published on May 21, 2024 - 11:00 5 minutes Britta Spichiger, SRF
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The poetic book by Victoire de Changy and Fanny Dreyer inspires us to dream, discuss and philosophise.

Victorie de Changy (born 1988) lives in Brussels. She writes novels, poetry and essays for adults, as well as picture books. Her books have already been nominated for several prizes.

Fanny Dreyer (born 1987) was born in Fribourg and lives in Brussels. She is an illustrator, graphic designer and decorator. In addition to her work as a children's book illustrator, she works in the cultural sector, for newspapers and graphic design agencies.

The book Collections tells the story of one artist and seven children and their individual collections: Lucien, for example, collects pebbles, Lise collects horse figurines and Pio flowers.

One child's collection: horse figurines. The award-winning book“Collections” explores our emotional relationship with objects LA PARTIE

Behind every collection there is a story, tracing where the children began their collections and how they found the various collection pieces, what they do with them and how their collections reflect a part of their personality. Louise, for example, expresses her deep longing for the sea with the shells she collects.

The collection connection

The author and the artist don't just touch on the uniqueness of the children's collection. Collections is also about the deeper meaning that collecting has for us humans.

The picture book shows collecting as a human need – and the associated emotional connection with objects:“We can be fascinated by their beauty, we can experience them as a source of identity or associate them with specific people and memories,” says Kathrin Jakob, a member of the jury for this year's Swiss Children's and Youth Book Prize.

Pressed against transience: collecting always means preserving. LA PARTIE

According to Jakob, the book also has a philosophical aspect to it:“Collecting is an attempt to counteract transience to a certain extent. For example, one of the children's family has been trying for generations to pass on the art of creating hand sculptures. This collection of hands stands for stability, among other things. The book offers a lot of room for reflection.”

Delicate colours, poetic texts

Like last year's winning book Le Colibri (The Hummingbird), Collections is also a touching and artistic work. It is presented in delicate shades of pink, purple, brown and green. A strong coral red provides contrasts at certain points and emphasises individual picture elements. Attention is often drawn to simple objects that might be overlooked.

Plenty of room for thought:“Collections” offers a contrast to the hectic pace of everyday life LA PARTIE

The illustrations are painted and drawn, small figures are set in wide landscapes. The texts are short and poetic, leaving plenty of space for imagery.

A treasure on the bookshelf

Collections invites you to immerse yourself in the worlds of these little collectors, but also offers insights into landscapes in which you can lose yourself. Or even enrich them with your own thoughts and stories.“The book is sensitive, philosophical, timeless in its subject matter, original and distinctive in its aesthetics,” says Jakob.

Despite these qualities, the winning book does not break new ground in children's literature. But with its subject matter, it draws nostalgia for many readers young and old. The loving design makes it a book that you will be pleased to have on your bookshelf – and might find yourself pulling it out again and again. There is always something new to discover and linger over. A pleasant change from hectic everyday life. For young – and old.

The following books were also nominated for the Swiss Children's and Youth Book Prize 2024:

In the textless picture book Alula Garten/Urwald by Reto Crameri, two children go on an adventurous expedition: the garden becomes a wild jungle. Reality, play and fantasy become blurred.

The graphic novel Learning to Fear by Nando von Arb tells of anxiety disorders, panic attacks and how to deal with them. Impressive, explosive images set the scene for topics that many young people have to deal with.

The non-fiction book Insektorama (book of insect collections) by Lisa Voisard introduces even the youngest children to the world of insects. Biologically precise pictures are complemented by profiles, observation tips and lots of interesting facts about the life of insects. The young adult novel Kurz vor dem Rand (close to the edge) by Eva Rottmann addresses current social issues – gender norms, mental illness – but also very personal ones such as first love or the feeling of freedom on a skateboard.

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