On March 26, 2018, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) awarded the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing to Eiko Kadano, the author of such works as Kiki's Delivery Service and Grandpa's Soup. Compared in prestige to the Nobel Prize in Literature, the annual award seeks to recognize authors and illustrators whose work represents an "important, lasting contribution to children's literature."
IBBY describes Eiko Kadono's accomplishments as follows:
There is an ineffable charm, compassion, and élan in the work of this great Japanese author. Whether in her many marvellous and funny picture books, or her great series of novels about the witch Kiki, or her novel set during World War II about a brave girl who must walk through a terrifying tunnel of trees to get to school, Kadono’s books are always surprising, engaging, and empowering. And almost always fun. And always life affirming.
Although, Kadono has travelled widely throughout the world, her stories are deeply rooted in Japan and show us a Japan that is filled with all kinds of unexpected people. Her female characters are singularly self-determining and enterprising; figuring out how to cope with all kinds of complications without suffering too many self-doubts – though some of these do creep in. As such, they are perfect for this time when we are all seeking girls and women in books who can inspire and delight us with their agency. The language in her picture books is notable for its playfulness and use of onomatopoeia. And of course, the beautiful, but simple language in her novels makes them extremely readable.
The original Kiki's Delivery Service novel was published in Japan in 1985 by Fukuinkan Shoten. Kiki's Delivery Service was adapted into a 1989 theatrical anime film with direction by Hayao Miyazaki and animation by Studio Ghibli, and the film is currently released on home video in North America by GKIDS. A live-action film adaptation with direction by Takashi Shimizu was also published in 2014.
The 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration was awarded to Russia's Igor Oleynikov.
Official International Board on Books for Young People home page (English language version)
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