2020-2021 Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest Winners Announcement

Astra International Picture Book Writing Contest kicked off in October 2020. We received a total of 1,688 manuscripts from 68 countries on six continents.

The entrants ranged from novice writers to established authors, from 21 years old to 90 years old. Teachers, librarians, doctors, accountants, actors, designers, engineers, gardeners ... from different countries, with different identities and experiences expressed their love for children and children's literature through their stories.

For six months, our jury composed of 7 international experts has reviewed the manuscripts and selected 24 winners.We are pleased to announce the winners list:

Gold Prize
Author:Yun Dai
Title:Sherjahaan
Language:English Country:China
Statement of the Jury (by Leonard S. Marcus):
  Listen closely as the Earth speaks for itself in a lyrical reflection on humankind's troubled relationship with the environment and on the possibility that past harm can still be repaired. Based on a true story, the powerful mythic voice of this vivid narrative describes a once beautiful region of India where tigers roamed free and shows how over-farming unended the ecological balance. Amazingly, the work of two knowledgeable, dedicated individuals was enough to reverse the damage and bring tigers and other wildlife back. A happy ending that is sure to energize and inspire young environmentalists across the world.
Silver Prize(3 winners)
Author:Freda Lewkowicz
Title:Songs of the refugee
Language:English Country:Canada
Statement of the Jury (by Leonard S. Marcus):
  "Sometimes small things are magical": these are the opening words of a beguiling historical-fiction narrative set in Europe before and during the Second World War. A mother takes a sewing needle found in the street as a sign from heaven that her son Marek should become a tailor. A wild sequence of events later, Marek's skill with a needle and thread actually does prove to be the thing that saves his life. From this artful story, readers will see for themselves that history is made not only by great heroes and monumental events but also by ordinary people taking chances that sometimes have life-and-death consequences for themselves and others.
Author:Sandra Markle
Title:Hope is home
Language:English Country:United States
Statement of the Jury (by Leonard S. Marcus):
  In this touching story based on real events, a young school-aged boy whose family has fled their war-torn country for America scrambles to learn English and adapt to a very different way of life. Yousif's love of drawing and gardening become his lifelines as a caring teacher and others in the community give him just the encouragement that he needs to transform a hard situation into a hopeful one and to feel at home again.
Author:Teresa M. Robeson
Title:Clear and bright: the Ching Ming festival
Language:English Country:United States
Statement of the Jury (by Leonard S. Marcus):
  In our over-busy world of flickering computer screens and families scattered across vast distances, how can people--and especially children--still feel close and connected? This buoyant story recounts one family's celebration of the annual Chinese holiday for visiting the graves of one's ancestors, sharing festive meals, and taking time out to catch up with one another. For wide-eyed Lily, the day comes with a revelation: the realization that she herself will always be part of a nurturing age-old tradition that links past, present, and future.
Finalist Prize(20 winners)
Author Title Language Country
Glenda Ann Armand While you are sleeping English United States
Myren Duval Backwards boy
(L'enfant à l'envers)
French France
Laurent Gautier The first day
(Le premier jour)
French France
Cynthia Ann Grady Run, river English United States
Nicole Groeneweg Rollie-pollies: animals that curl up to protect themselves English United States
Lorraine H Himmel Waiting for Kai English United States
Guichai Huang The visible and the invisible
(看得见的与看不见的)
Chinese China
Udai Kumar Jain Siya’s grandpa English India
Janine Jargow Oh rubbish, that doesn’t matter!
(Ach quatsch, das ist doch egal!)
German Germany
Marine Joris Epi, a little king
(Epi, petit roi)
French France
Barbara W. Kimmel Day care for Nana and me English United States
Unt' Margaria I won’t be scared
(Je n’aurai pas peur)
French France
Laurence Melin The seven wonders of the world
(Les sept merveilles du monde)
French France
Shuo Pang If I became a little house
(如果我变成了小房子)
Chinese China
María de los Ángeles Quinteros The opposite of things
(El revés de las cosas)
Spanish Chile
Joyce Anne Ray Shanta and the calling eyes English United States
Roni Joanne Schotter The other side of the wall English United States
Lisa Beth Schulman The sound of stars English United States
Patrice Teisseire-Dufour The Russian dog
(Le chien russe)
French France
Karen Beth Winnick When Chetan comes… English United States

*The names of the winners are arranged in alphabetical order of their last names.

After "blind" judging, that is, the judges read the manuscripts without knowing the authors’ identities, Chinese author Ms. Yun Dai won the Gold Prize. She was very delighted for being recognized by the experts from different languages and cultures, "When a jury made up of English, Chinese, French, German and Spanish speakers agreed to give this honor to a story based on something that happened in India, it really showed that, as human beings, we do share some common feelings. This sense of togetherness is beautiful." She is looking forward to seeing her story being read by people in different countries.

The video of the online award ceremony will be released on November 22. The "Golden Pinwheel Young Illustrators Competition Astra Award" will also be announced on the same day.

(All entrants will be notified by email about the results of the contest. Please note that the email might be delivered to the spam.)