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Korea’s Diverse Children’s Literature Awards

Children wishing for a happy world

 

2020.05.04

 

illustrator

 

 

As children are referred to as the “future” of a generation, the emotional experience children get from books is very important. The Caldecott Medal, Newbery Medal, and Hans Christian Andersen Award are the most famous children’s literary awards in the world, but there are also ones given to excellent children’s literature in Korea as well. In particular, as Children’s Day is in May, the winners of many children’s literary awards are announced this month.
While there are various children’s literary awards ranging from those named after famous literary people in history to those held by children’s book publishers, let’s touch upon the winners of the awards.

 

The emotional experience children get from books is very important.

 

 

Children’s Literary Awards carrying on the spirit of renowned writers

 

<Picture Kid>

<Magic Ttakgi>

<One Day, a Refugee>

Picture Kid, Magic Ttakgi, One Day, a Refugee

 

Bang Jung Hwan Literary Award

 

The Bang Jung Hwan Literary Award was established in 1991 to discover outstanding children’s book writers continuing the literary spirit of Bang Jung-Hwan. Bang Jung-Hwan was a children’s book writer who took the lead in spreading children’s literature and protecting children’s rights who also designated a children’s day in Korea. Winners of the Bang Jung Hwan Literary Award are announced every May which is the month containing Children’s Day. Picture Kid (Cheongeoram Books) about aging and death won the 29th Bang Jung Hwan Literary Award in 2019.

 

Ma Hae Song Literary Award

 

The spirit of Ma Hae Song Literary Award is to honor the achievements of Ma Hae-Song, who wrote the first children’s story in Korea Bawuinari and the Little Star. He left his mark on children’s literature in Korea with works reflecting the independent spirit and identity of the Korean people during the dark years of the Japanese occupation. The Ma Hae Song Literary Award chooses the winners from children’s books unannounced that year and provides publication of the winning book along with the opportunity to visit Bologna Children's Book Fair. The winner of the 16th Ma Hae Song Literary Award set to open a ceremony this May is Purple Cat written by Song Eun-Hye, and the winner of the 15th award published in June last year was Magic Ttakgi (Munji Publishing).

 

Kwon Jung Saeng Literary Award

 

Writer Kwon Jung-Saeng who became widely known with Doggy Poo (Gilbut Kid) and Mongsil (Changbi) showed love for marginalized small and weak main characters. The Kwon Jung Saeng Literary Award aims to encourage works that follow his noble will. The award chooses the winners from works announced during the previous two years and sees whether the book has literary values and also whether the career of the author matches the spirit of Kwon Jung-Saeng. The Award ceremony is in May when a commemorative event for him is held; the 10th Kwon Jung Saeng Literary Award in 2019 went to One Day, a Refugee (Pyo Myeong-Hee).

 

 

Children’s Literary Awards named after regional places

 

<Teacher-AI 0526>

<Travel of Blue>

Illustration from <Travel to the Moon>

Teacher-AI 0526, Travel of Blue, Illustration from Travel to the Moon

 

Changwon Children’s Literary Award

 

Changwon Children’s Literary Award was established alongside Changwon International Children's Literature Festival in 2011. Organized by Changwon City, the award aims to contribute to the development of children’s literature in Korea by discovering creative new writers and supporting competent professional writers in the children’s literature industry. Eligible participants are poets, critics, and writers that have less than 15 years of career, and can apply or recommend children’s books that were published within 2 years. Since 2019 when the 9th Changwon Children’s Literary Award was held, the category was divided into two: fairy tale & picture books and children’s poems & critiques. Teacher-AI 0526 (Changbi) won the former category, while Travel of Blue (Munhakdongne) was the winner of the latter category.

 

Nami Concours

 

Nami Concours is held in Nami Island, a tourist destination in Korea. Its full name Nami Island International Picture Book Illustration Concours was named after the island. Nami Island has been hosting Nami Island International Children’s Book Festival since 2005, and Nami Concours began to be held every other year since 2013. Being a contest for picture book illustrators across the world, Nami Concours provides an opportunity for writers to promote their works to the world and aims to support creative activities that pioneer a new world of children’s picture books. Picture book illustrators from around the world participated in the contest in 2019 as well; among Korean participants, Kim Ji-Young won the Green Island Prize with her Travel to the Moon. This book is currently undergoing production.

 

 

Children’s Literary Awards from publishers specializing in children’s literature

 

<Pings>

<My Summer>

<Days of the Tunnel>

Pings, My Summer, Days of the Tunnel

 

Woongjin Junior Picture Book Award & Literary Award

 

Woongjin Junior is a sub-publisher of books for preschoolers, children, and teenagers that belongs to Woongjin Thinkbig. It aims to have joyful communication with children through healthy content and create diverse and specialized content that help children to lead the world brightly and courageously. Woongjin Junior hosts two awards: the Picture Book Award for creative picture books and the Literary Award for full-length and short children’s stories. For this year, the application for the 4th Picture Book Award and 13th Literary Award is open until July 31st. The 3rd Picture Book Award did not have a winner for the grand prize, while The Fish Goes Dangdang written by Yoo Mi-Jung won the excellence award; Before I Knew written by Kim Sun-Young won the grand prize at the 12th Literary Award.

 

BIR Storyking

 

Established in 1994 as a publisher specializing in children’s books, BIR has been making literally “fun” books that children can enjoy that are not limited to educational effects and books that can understand and show the minds of children. BIR hosts various children’s literary awards: the Golden Dokkebi Award for picture books and children’s stories, the BIR Literary Award for books for lower grades, the Blue Fiction Award for teenager’s literature, the Comics King for children’s comics, and the Storyking that children judge the winners.
Amongst all, Storyking runs a system in which children participate as the judging panel for the first time in Korea. Regardless of the genre such as horror, fantasy, and SF, children pick the authors and works that dare to stand before the children only with the power of their story. Anybody can apply including new and professional writers and those interested in stories; the application is open until December 12th every year, and winners are announced in February the following year. Recent winners of Storyking were: Pings (BIR) by Lee You-Ri (the 6th Storyking, 2018), Poong-Woon Tak, the Ghost Supervisor (BIR) by Choi Joo-Hye (the 7th Storyking, 2019), and Monster School MS by Cho Young-Ah (the 8th Storyking, 2020).

 

Borim Books’ Borim Picture Book Studio

 

From 1999, the Borim Picture Book Contest was held for 12 years until it changed its name to Borim Picture Book Studio and the operational method in 2013. The Studio differs from the existing style of contests where participants submit completed works, Instead Borim Books matches a mentor writer for each participant where they finish the work together throughout the whole year and receives the final version of the work after going through an interim evaluation, etc. Fruit-like books published until today are: My Summer (Borim), Days of the Tunnel (Borim), Story of Veggies (Borim), Hello (Borim), and A Guide for a Wise Boar (Borim).

 

Various children’s literary awards are widely popular among overseas readers as well.

 

<Cloud Bread>

Cloud Bread

 

Korea’s children’s literature that has literary value verified through various children’s literary awards are widely popular among overseas readers as well. Recently, Cloud Bread (HanSolSooBook), a picture book by Baek Hee-Na who won the 3rd Changwon Children’s Literary Award, also won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award – the Nobel Prize for children’s literature. As it was the first time a Korean writer won the award, may there be more chances for Korea’s children’s literature to have its values recognized across the world.

 

 


Written by Choi Ha-Yeong

kbbok

Choi Ha-Yeong

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