59th edition
21-24 March 2022
Bologna - Italy

OPERA PRIMA 2021

WINNER

Neighbors

Text and illustrations by Kasya Denisevich
Chronicle Books, USA, 2020

 

What the jury said:
“How is real respect cultivated? This stunning, thoughtful, and necessary book considers how it often takes a child’s reflections to show us. Neighbors shows the tensions, moments of compassion, hesitation, and sincere curiosity about the Other that come with having neighbors. The pandemic has made the use of a building as a metaphor for the world, and an appropriate one to bridge the gulf of ideas of differences between people who live in close physical proximity. The book uses black ink in a novel way, to conjure thoughtfulness rather than darkness, as its gradations allow for the light to come through. The artfulness of the book involves the use of symmetry, symbols, and fantastical elements that are produced in the child’s imagination. These overturn the extreme realism of the city setting and remind the reader that utopian thinking is always possible.”

SPECIAL MENTION 

Guide de Survie Dans La Jungle

Text and illustrations by Hao Shuo            
Éditions 2024, Strasbourg, 2020

What the jury said:
“This wordless metatextual book is a visual delight and parody, that shows the limitations and creative possibilities inherent in following guidebooks. Presented as a classically cloth bound jungle guide book, it physically mimics authoritative texts to contrast with the modern graphics with clean lines and solid colors within. Hilarity ensues when a strange creature finds a guide book on surviving the jungle in which he lives, and attempts to follow its guidance.”

  

SPECIAL MENTION 

Pion i Poziom 

Text by Bartosz Sztybor
Illustrations by Łukasz Golędzinowski
Wydawnictwo Dwie Siostry, Poland, 2020

 

What the jury said:
“A humorous board book that allows the reader to stretch characters out when they open the page. Pion i Poziom plays on the instability surrounding the basic concepts usually presented very confidently in board books, because in reality: things can be both horizontal and vertical. The book is interactive and playful and forces the reader to rotate the book in order to see more, for as in life so in this book: perspective is everything.”

SPECIAL MENTION 

So much snow 

Text and art by Hyunmin Park
Dalgrimm (Yellowpig Publisher), South Korea, 2020

 

What the jury said:
“This is a visually innovative book that positions readers variously on each page, making a point to confuse and destabilize, forcing them to wonder if they cannot understand what is happening because they are standing in the wrong place. Flexible perspectives, patience, and attentiveness allow the reader to eventually understand where the book is taking them. This is a book that makes the reader think critically and question how much clarity is owed to a reader at all.”