Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award to Isabelle Arsenault for Louis parmi les spectres

Louis parmi les spectres

HONOUR BOOKS: Eric Fan and Terry Fan for The Darkest Dark; Matt James for The Stone Thrower

IBBY Canada had announced the artists of the winning book and the two honour books for the 2016 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award / Le Prix Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver pour le meilleur livre d’images Canadien. The winner of the Cleaver Award receives $1,000. The winning book and the honour books demonstrate the Cleaver Award criteria of “fusion of words and pictures”, with art that “speaks to the child”, has “warmth and depth of emotion” and a “storytelling quality”.

The winner is Isabelle Arsenault for Louis parmi les spectres, a complex and mature graphic novel written by Fanny Britt (La Pastèque). The lives of Louis and his little brother are shadowed by the rift between their parents, and their father’s depression and alcoholism. Isabelle Arsenault portrays their world in charcoal and watercolour, with washes of black, grey and tan, ‘the blues’ lurking in many images, and delicate applications of chartreuse and red. The masterful visual storytelling speaks to the emotional depth of each character. Isabelle Arsenault previously won the Cleaver Award for Virginia Wolf, and is a three-time winner of the Governor General’s Award for Illustration.

The artists of the two honour books for the Cleaver Award are:

Eric Fan and Terry Fan for The Darkest Dark, written by Chris Hadfield and Kate Fillion (Tundra Books). It was during the seminal summer of the 1969 lunar landing that young Chris Hadfield knew he would become an astronaut. The Fan brothers work collaboratively in ink, graphite and digital composition, merging history with fantasy, weaving in cultural and historical references while illuminating the imaginative life of young Chris and his triumph over his fear of the dark.

Matt James for The Stone Thrower, written by Jael Ealey Richardson (Groundwood Books). The harsh reality of growing up in ‘the projects’ in a segregated community in Ohio is vividly depicted in Jael Ealey Richardson’s story of her father, Canadian Football League icon Chuck Ealey. With bold colours layered and then scratched to create gritty images and textures, Matt James naïve paintings juxtapose the light and the dark, echoing Chuck’s challenges and ultimate victory. Touchdown!

The jury members for the 2016 Cleaver Award were Lyne Rajotte (school librarian and board member of Corporation of Professional Librarians of Quebec), Camilia Kahrizi (marketing and website coordinator, Canadian Children’s Book Centre), and chair Allison Taylor McBryde (adjunct professor, University of British Columbia; librarian, youth collections, North Vancouver District Public Library).

IBBY Canada’s Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award/Le Prix Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver pour le meilleur livre d’images Canadien, established in 1985, honours one of Canada’s pre-eminent book illustrators. Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver left funds in her will to annually recognize outstanding artistic talent in Canadian picture books. A list of the winners of the past thirty years is available here.

IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People (www.ibby.org), founded in 1953, represents an international network of people in over 70 countries, committed to bringing books and children together. IBBY Canada (www.ibby-canada.org), founded in 1980, is a volunteer organization promoting quality French and English Canadian children’s literature nationally and internationally.

For more information, please contact:

Helena Aalto
IBBY Canada Promotion Officer
helena.aalto@rogers.com