At the end of May, Candy Gourlay flew to the other side of the world to appear in the Singapore Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore and then in the Little LitFest in Manila. It was her second year to be invited to the AFCC – this year she was also a judge of the Sing-Tel Picture Book Awards.
Extracted from a rather good profile of Peter Sis:
Sis admits that his approach to storytelling — described by some as “cerebral” — has been a strength as well as a deficit, especially in the face of editors who weren’t sure that his sensibility was right for kids. He came over originally as an animator, and found this reaction to be a continuity between the two fields.
“I started to shop my own ideas, and very often I would be told that it’s too cerebral and it’s not American and lots of people told me to go back to Belgium,” he said. “Then the same thing started to happen in the books. They said your ideas are way too serious, too cerebral.”
The un-American quality of Sis’ work became a reason for some editors to attempt micro-managing, to the point where they were directing him to draw bigger eyes on faces, so his characters didn’t look as foreign. Eventually, Sis was able to adapt ordinary American aspects to his stories in a more natural way.
Sis adds at the end of this piece:
“All those houses that I used to know 25 years ago, now it’s down to three big corporations, which are merging and merging. It used to be seven different publishing houses, which had their own identity. In that sense it’s very difficult. Illustrators will be dealing with basically three art directors, who will have to decide if this fits the mainstream market.
“Maybe it’s because I’ve been around the block too long. Could be that when we get older, we get more skeptical. Maybe there will be some other new ways how to do it, but I don’t know at the moment. I’m in this situation where I feel a lot like Maurice Sendak, that there is no publishing left, there are only three editors.”
2013 English 4-11 Picture Book Awards – Winners announced
Established in 1995, these awards are presented annually by the English Association to the best picture books of the previous year, in four categories: Fiction 4-7 and 7-11 yrs, and Non-Fiction 4-7 and 7-11 yrs. The winning books are chosen by the editorial board of English 4-11 from a shortlist of 12-18 books selected by a panel of teachers, with input from children. The prizes are awarded at the English Association’s Annual General Meeting each May, and the winning and shortlisted books are featured in a full-colour poster in the summer issue of the journal. This poster is also circulated to libraries, children’s bookshops and other interested parties. English 4-11 is the only journal dedicated to English in the primary classroom. It is a joint publication of the English Association www.le.ac.uk/engassoc and the United Kingdom Literacy Association www.ukla.org
The Awards will be presented to the winning authors, illustrators and publishers at the English Association’s AGM on Wednesday 15 May at the British Academy in London.
This year’s Winners are:
- The Chronicles of Harris Burdick Chris Van Allsburg, Andersen Press
- Rabbityness Jo Empson, , Child’s Play (International) Ltd
- Who’s For Dinner Claire Freedman, illustrated by Nick East, Little Tiger Press
- Katie and the Starry Night James Mayhew, Orchard
- Mr Leon’s Paris Barroux, translated by Sarah Ardizzone , Phoenix Yard Books
- House of Horrors Nick Arnold, illustrated by Tony De Saulles, Scholastic Children’s Books
- In The Forest Sophie Strady, illustrated by Anouk Boisrobert & Louis Rigaud, Tate Publishing
- Jack and the Baked Beanstalk Colin Stimpson, Templar Publishing
- One Gorilla Anthony Browne, Walker Books
- Demolition Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock, Walker Books
- The Fact or Fiction Behind Urban Myths Paul Mason, Wayland