Francesca Sanna has won the 2017 Klaus Flugge Prize (awarded to the most exciting and promising newcomer to children’s picture book illustration) with The Journey (Flying Eye Books), which tells the story of a mother and her two children fleeing war to find a new life.
Sanna was inspired to create the book after meeting two young girls in a refugee centre in Italy and then interviewing many more refugees.
‘The shortlist featured five skilful and talented illustrators but The Journey is the most inventive and original of all the entries,’ said judge Axel Scheffler. ‘The fear the family experiences is strongly expressed in the graphic language of the book which is beautifully designed. The stylish drawings are varied and yet consistent.’
The Klaus Flugge Prize (awarded for the first time last year) was founded to honour publisher Klaus Flugge, a supremely influential figure in picture books. Flugge set up Andersen Press in 1976 and discovered and has nurtured many of today’s most distinguished illustrators including Chris Riddell, Tony Ross, and David McKee.
Chair of the judges, Julia Eccleshare said: ‘Francesca’s subject in The Journey is war and its devastating effect on families caught up in it. Through words and pictures working perfectly together she tells her story in a way that will move all readers whatever their age.’
Francesca Sanna said: ‘I was incredibly honoured to see The Journey shortlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize, together with the other four stunning books. To learn that my book had been chosen as the winner was really overwhelming. I am so grateful to the jury for this prize, which will help me continue doing the work I love, focusing on topics I deeply care about.’
Mark Hendle, Managing Director of Andersen Press said: ‘Though only in its second year, the Klaus Flugge Prize already feels an established and important part of the children’s book world and we are delighted at the interest and support it has received. We were pleased too that this year’s shortlist was so international, with illustrators from three different continents represented. Klaus has always sought out talent from across the world, and that is part of what makes him such a successful and influential publisher.’
Francesca Sanna received her award in London last night and was presented with a cheque for £5,000 by Axel Scheffler.
This other judges were Nicolette Jones, writer and children’s books editor at the Sunday Times; Tamara Macfarlane, owner of Tales on Moon Lane bookshop; and 2016 Klaus Flugge Prize winner Nicholas John Frith.