Strength and vibrancy of contemporary illustration for children brilliantly demonstrated by the shortlist for the 2020 Klaus Flugge Prize

  • Fifth year of the award founded to highlight the most promising and exciting newcomers to picture book illustration
  • Award-winning illustrator Mini Grey and 2019 winner Jessica Love among judges
  • Strong showing for graduates of Anglia Ruskin Cambridge School of Art

The shortlist for the Klaus Flugge Prize is announced today (Tuesday 19 May). 2020 is the fifth year of the prize, which was set up to honour Klaus Flugge, founder of Andersen Press and an extremely influential figure in children’s picture books. It is awarded to the most promising and exciting newcomer to children’s picture book illustration.

From a longlist of sixteen picture books by debut illustrators, the panel of judges comprising award-winning illustrator Mini Grey; Jessica Love, 2019 Klaus Flugge Prize winner; Meera Ghanshamdas, bookseller at Moon Lane Ink; children’s book consultant Jake Hope; and Pam Smy of Anglia Ruskin University, have chosen five to shortlist.

Feisty chickens, falling stars, family, Darwin and the deepest emotions – all are subjects for the shortlisted books, which amply demonstrate the extraordinary strength of current picture book publishing. Their illustrators rework traditional styles such as the counting book, information book, search and find; they reinvigorate traditional illustration techniques; explore complex emotions for the very young; and one takes us on a high-drama dash through a department store. This year, three of the five shortlisted illustrators are graduates of the Children’s Book Illustration MA at the Cambridge School of Art. The five shortlisted books are:

When Sadness Comes to Call, Eva Eland, editor Libby Hamilton, designer Rebecca Garrill (Andersen Press)

What the judges said: ‘beautifully simple and pared back; the page layouts seem sparse and crisp but the work the illustrations are doing is quite extraordinary in terms of the message that sadness is something we might have to live with.’

Eva Eland’s examination of sadness, represented by a misty little monster, simply and unforgettably conveys a sophisticated message in a masterpiece of minimalism.

The Star in the Forest, Helen Kellock, editor Anna Ridley, designer Aaron Hayden (Thames & Hudson)

What the judges said: ‘few books these days use light and tone or traditional watercolour skills to tell stories; it’s worked into something quite magical here.’

Helen Kellock uses light and composition to create an atmospheric starry adventure, that glows with family love.

Where is Your Sister?, Puck Koper, editor Suzanne Carnell, designer Jo Spooner (Two Hoots)

What the judges said: ‘goes at a wonderful pace, with laugh out loud moments. It’s stylish and feels very sophisticated for a first book’.

Using a limited palette, Dutch artist Puck Koper creates a frantic dash through a department store which is both a search and find story, and an accurately observed and very funny family adventure.

On the Origin of Species, Sabina Radeva, editor Anna Barnes Robinson, designer Keren Greenfeld (Puffin)

What the judges said: ‘It’s full of detail and really reflects the beauty of nature. A feat of managing that amount of detail without it feeling cluttered. A wonderful reference book, a real companion for a child.’

A one-time molecular biologist, Sabina Radeva utilises her passion for science to retell Darwin’s famous work, mining the depths of inventiveness to convey information through few words and wonderful pictures.

One Fox: A Counting Thriller Book, Kate Read, editor Suzanne Carnell, designer Jo Spooner

What the judges said: ‘Visually stunning. There’s real drama here and the way the story is told is joyous. She’s done a very clever thing and created a counting book while keeping within the beats of a story.’

Kate Read uses bold colours, composition and collage to tell the story of one famished fox’s encounter with some angry hens, making this counting book a real thriller.

Chair of the judges Julia Eccleshare said: “Our shortlist demonstrates the vibrancy of contemporary illustration for children. Here are five very different books – the illustrators have different styles, use different techniques and have different intentions, but each achieves exactly what they set out to do with pictures that perfectly tell their stories. The Klaus Flugge Prize has already highlighted many talented illustrators and in the fifth year of this important award, we’re delighted to have another extremely strong and eye-catching shortlist.”

The shortlist was due to be announced at a live event at Foyles Charing Cross Road on Tuesday 19th May. Instead, judge and 2019 winner Jessica Love will announce the shortlist live via social media. The winner will be revealed on Wednesday 16th September 2020 and will receive a cheque for £5,000.

Klaus Flugge Prize shortlist 2020 photo

For more information, interview requests and images contact Andrea Reece
020 8889 1292/ 07807893369


The Klaus Flugge Prize is funded personally by Klaus Flugge and run independently of Andersen Press.

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