The Klaus Flugge Prize 2024 shortlist announced

Posted on Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Category: Book Awards

The Klaus Flugge Prize 2024 shortlist announced

The shortlist for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2024 has been announced, celebrating the most promising and exciting newcomers to children's picture book illustration

From a longlist of 17 picture books by debut illustrators, the panel of judges have chosen six to shortlist, wiht the criteria including technical skill, the ability to tell a story and to create character, as well as originality and promise.  The winner will be announced in September.

This year's judges include illustrator Petr Horáček; Mariajo Ilustrajo, winner of the 2023 Klaus Flugge Prize; Olivia Ahmad, Artistic Director at the Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration; and Alex Forbes, founder of independent bookshop Fourbears Books. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, Director, Hay Children's Festival.

The six shortlisted illustrators have very different approaches and artistic styles, their subjects are as varied as the power and importance of the natural world; a little girl with the most amazing dreams; the purpose of art; and a mango tree full of surprises. This year there are two information picture books on the list, one shining a light on the lives of Black British people in history, the other telling the story of Victorian fossil hunter, Mary Anning.

The shortlisted books are:

The Crown illustrated by Emily Kapff (Walker Books)
Dramatically sketched in pencil, black and white illustrations changing to images flooded with colour, a little girl wearing a headdress made from discarded rubbish addresses us from the future, urging us to protect the beauty of the natural world and bequeath her a different kind of crown. The judges admire Emily Kapff's skill at drawing and the drama she conveys through her pictures. Children can spend a long time looking at this book, they said, and it will inspire people of all ages to pick up a pencil.

The Dream Book by Bia Melo (Templar)
Little Nina loves being asleep because that's when she dreams, and she has amazing dreams! She's desperate to capture them to enjoy in the morning; a camera won't work but drawing them will. The judges love the energy of Bia Melo's drawings and the sense of playful chaos she creates. This is a book that feels fresh and new and there's lots to involve young readers.

Henri and the Machine illustrated by Olga Shtonda, written by Isabelle Marinov (Templar)
Henri wants to go to the beach, not the art gallery, but his school trip turns out to be much more enjoyable - and eye-opening - than he expects when he learns what art is for! All the visual jokes land and they made the judges laugh. They admire the way the illustrations tell the story so well and the book really does explain the point of art.

Farah Loves Mangos illustrated by Sarthak Sinha (Flying Eye Books)
Farah loves the mangos that grow on the tree in her grandpa's garden but this year, no mangos grow. Farah is cross, until her grandpa shows her all sorts of other treats the tree contains. A sweet, funny story, say the judges, very well drawn and paced.

Bright Stars of Black British History illustrated by Angela Vives, written by J. T. Williams (Thames and Hudson)
This book takes us through Black British History from the Romans onwards via fascinating biographies of individual ‘stars' including Ignatius Sancho, composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and campaigner Claudia Jones. The judges find Angela Vives' illustrations delicate but bold and admire her skill at creating scenes and characters.

The Fossil Hunter illustrated by Kate Winter (Puffin Books)
Through atmospheric full-page illustrations and detailed vignettes, Kate Winter tells the story of Mary Anning, whose 19th century work discovering fossils in the cliffs of the Jurassic Coast paved the way for modern palaeontology. A beautiful book, say the judges, who admire its sense of freshness, the artist's observational skill and the strong sense of location.

Chair of the judges Julia Eccleshare said, "Our judges have selected a shortlist that fully represents the extraordinary variety of picture books on offer to children today. At a time when computers and software are as important tools for illustrators as brush and pen, our six shortlisted illustrators demonstrate exceptional skill at drawing, painting and observation. In a crowded market, they have developed their own style, creating characters and scenes we haven't encountered before.

She added, "When it is so hard for new talent to break through, Klaus Flugge's generosity in sponsoring the Prize and his lifelong support for authors and illustrators is vital."  Established in 2016, the prize was set up to honour Klaus Flugge, founder of Andersen Press and a leading light in the world of children's publishing and illustration.