59th edition
21-24 March 2022
Bologna - Italy

POETRY - 2021 Special Category

Winner

Cajita de fósforos. Antología de poemas sin rima

Edited by Adolfo Córdova
Illustrations by Juan Palomino
Ediciones Ekaré, Venezuela, 2020

What the jury said:
Cajita de fósforos is an anthology of great quality, full of astonishing Iberoamerican, free verse poetry. Adolfo Córdova conducted extensive research for this book which resulted in an immaculate selection of poems that children are likely to understand and enjoy, despite some of them not specially written for the young, and partly achieved by careful placement in the best possible order. Juan Palomino’s stunning artwork both complements and enhances the verse, while his colourful, dramatic illustrations still leave space for the young reader’s imagination. This beautifully designed book, features some of the greatest writers from Argentina, Mexico and Chile, such as Borges, Fuentes and Mistral, as well as lesser known poets of the past and present from many different countries as María José Ferrada, Jorge Luján and María Teresa Andruetto. Córdova’s own feeling for poetry and understanding of young readers is quite inspirational; combined with Palomino’s sensitive and beautiful interpretation of the text made this book an outstanding winner. 

Special Mention

Love Letter

Poems and illustrations by Animo Chen
Locus Publishing, Taiwan, 2020

What the jury said:
This tender, tense and somewhat mysterious series of poems is accompanied by exquisite illustrations by the Taiwanese illustrator and author, Animo Chen. The book opens with several double page spreads of a stunning landscape of mountains, trees, sea and houses before the words begin.  After that, on most pages, each poem is accompanied by an evocative and striking illustration which does not simply reflect the text but encourages the reader to think and wonder. The quality of the art work almost takes your breath away. The series of poems have an enigmatic, Japanese, haiku/tanka type quality and there is no clear line of narrative. Readers’ expectations are likely to be challenged when the surprise ending is revealed. It should be noted that the poetry is written in Taiwanese, the mother language for many people in Taiwan but not recognised as an official language. 

Special Mention

Niños

Poems by María José Ferrada
Illustrations by María Elena Valdez
Alboroto ediciones, Mexico, 2020

What the jury said:
Niños by María José Ferrada is dedicated to 34 Chilean children who disappeared or were killed during Pinochet’s regime. Literature is surely the place where collective memory lives and is able to make those who were lost immortal. In Niños, Ferrada’s sensitive and moving writing brings those Chilean children to life through a tender, respectful and thought-provoking poem for each child. The gentle, nature-centred poems are tenderly illustrated by María Elena Valdez, using a subtle, muted colour palette. Despite the heaviness of its theme, the illustrations contribute greatly to the sense of lightness this book conveys, in harmony with the poems.

Special Mention

The Girl Who Became a Tree. A Story Told in Poems

Poems by Joseph Coelho
Illustrations by Kate Milner
Otter-Barry Books, Great Britain, 2020

What the jury said:
A most original, dark, verse novel by Joseph Coelho with playful graphic typography, tells a powerful story. Coelho establishes a link with the Greek myth of Daphne, the nymph who asked to be turned into a tree to flee from Apollo. In the dark forest of a contemporary public library, many of which are closed or under threat in Great Britain, the central character goes back and forth between the past and present, myth and reality, while the author explores different styles, forms and voices. The dramatic, empathetic, black-and-white line drawings by Kate Milner work effectively with the text and demand the reader’s attention, as does the overall graphic conception of the book, making it attractive to the audience it is aimed for - and beyond. Coelho’s use of the myth of Daphne and Apollo with the struggle of the protagonist who tries to make sense of loss and suffers typical teenage trauma, offers readers an immersive narrative on the liberating power of stories and reading and the necessity of libraries.

Special Mention

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright!  

Edited by Fiona Waters
Illustrations by Britta Teckentrup
Nosy Crow, Great Britain, 2020

What the jury said:
Tiger Tiger, Burning Bright is an anthology of burning ambition, huge in size and scope, with animal poems for 365 days of the year. Edited by the distinguished British anthologist Fiona Waters, this volume covers every base from the diversity of the selected poems and poets, the range of forms, moods and styles, to the way they interact on the page, making this book a treasure chest for any young person who wants to explore poetry from English-speaking authors, traditional and modern, and translated works, too. The astonishing illustrations by the award-winning German picturebook artist, Britta Teckentrup, superbly match the poetry, and make this an unmissable volume. It is fitting that the well known opening line of Tiger, from Songs of Innocence and Experience, by the great eighteenth century English poet, William Blake, provided the title poem for this book. His spirit shines through the pages, paying homage to a man who was one of the first and best poets to write, illustrate, design and print books for children, in many ways laying the foundation for the contemporary picturebook.