Bologna Children’s Book Fair Names 2019 Ragazzi Award Winners

In News by Porter Anderson

The more than 1,500 titles submitted for the Bologna Ragazzi awards program this year represent the work of authors and illustrators in key trends and issues.

At BolognaFiere, jurors work over submissions for this year’s Ragazzi awards. Image: BCBF

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

New Categories, 43 Countries
Winners of the 2019 Bologna Ragazzi Awards have been announced today (February 18), with the emphasis, once again this year, on picture books published worldwide. The awards are organized by the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, which this year runs April 1 to 4.

The prize recognizes what organizers describe as “the quality of the graphic [and] editorial project of the submitted books.”

After decades of operation, the winners and recipients of honorable mentions generally can be expected to gain traction in the rights markets of the world, because of the added visibility of their recognition from the fair’s program.

This year, 1,558 titles were submitted from 43 countries for consideration. That’s 100 titles more than the 2018 award cycle. The categories into which award attention is channeled are:

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Opera Prima for debut authors
  • Toddler, a special category for 2019 which drew 305 applications and is dedicated to books for children younger than 3
  • New Horizons, a category created to allow jurors to explore “extraordinarily innovative works”

This year’s jury includes:

  • Gillian Engberg (USA), advisor for children’s literature
  • Jorge Silva (Portugal), designer and art director of the newspapers Independente and Público and founder of the Silvadesigner studio
  • Maria Vedenyapina (Russia), director of the Russian State Library for Children
  • Elena Giacomin (Italy), co-founder of the bookstore La casa sull’albero and member of the Association of Independent Children’s Bookshops managing committee

In addition, there are jurors added for the new Toddler category:

  • Nives Benati, librarian and founder of the Osservatorio Editoriale Nati per Leggere
  • Marco Dallari, writer and editor of essays, narrative texts, and children’s books, and an associate professor at the SUPSI University of Locarno, the University of Trento, and the ISIA at Urbino
  • Silvana Sola, a founder of the children’s bookshop Giannino Stoppani and of the Accademia Drosselmeier, plus an instructor in illustration with the ISIA at Urbino
  • Manuela Trinci, a child psychotherapist, essayist, and a scholar of children’s literature

The jurors met at the exhibition park, BolognaFiere, to evaluate submitted candidates and identify trends in the industry. Among trends they’re seeing are an increase in nonfiction, as well as improved quality in submitted books, both in concept and graphics. In terms of content, “knowledge books” seem to be gaining traction, in disciplines including science, art, design, and history.

In fiction, among the most developed trends involve many biographies of famous women and insights into art.

In the Toddler section, France and Poland are mentioned for special quality and high output.

Bologna Ragazzi 2019: Fiction


Panáček, pecka, švestka, poleno a zase panáček (Puppet, Plum Pit, Plum, Plank, and Back to Puppet) by Vojtech Masek with illustrator Chrudos Valousek (Baobab, 2017), Czech Republic

Honorary Mentions 

  • À travers by Tom Haugomat (Éditions Thierry Magnier, 2018), France
  • Et puis by Icinori (Albin Michel Jeunesse, 2018) France
  • The Moon over the Apple Orchard by Kwon Jeong-saeng with illustrator Yoon Mi-sook (Changbi Editores , 2017), South Korea
Bologna Ragazzi 2019: Nonfiction


Atlas das viagens and dos exploradores: As viagens de monges naturalistas e outros viajantes de todos os tempos e lugares by Isabel Minhós Martins with ilustrator: Bernardo P. Carvalho (Planeta Tangerina, 2018), Portugal

Honorable Mentions 

  • OrbisSensualiumPictus:El mundo en imágenes by Johannes Amos Comenius with illustrator Paulo Kreutzberger (Libros del Zorro Rojo, 2018) Spain 
  • Chaque seconde dans le monde by Bruno Gibert (Actes Sud Junior, 2018), France
  • Kvinner the kamp: 150 års kamp for frihet, likhet og søsterskap by Marta Breen with illustrator Jenny Jordahl (Cappelen Damm, 2018), Norway
  • Rue des Quatre-Vents by Jessie Magana with illustrator Magali Attiogbé (Les Éditions des Éléphants, 2018), France
Bologna Ragazzi 2019: Debut Authors


Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love (Candlewick Press, 2018), USA 

Honorable Mentions 

  • A Shadow by Chae Seung-yeon (Bandal, 2018), South Korea
  • Everest by Sangma Francis by Lisk Feng (Dlying Eye Books, 2018), UK
Bologna Ragazzi 2019: New Horizons


A History of Pictures for Children byDavid Hockney and Martin Gayford with illustrator Rose Blake (Thames & Hudson, 2018), UK

Honorable Mention

  • Museo Media Vaca by31 Illustratores, edited by Vicente Ferrer (Media Vaca, 2018), Spain
Bologna Ragazzi 2019: Toddler


A dormir, gatitos by author and illustrator Bàrbara Castro Urío (Zahorí Books, 2018), Spain

Honorable Mentions 

  • Mes animaux tout doux du jardin by Xavier Deneux (Bayard, 2018), France
  • We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp with illustrator Julie Flett (Orca Book Editores , 2016) Canada
  • Kominiarz-Piekarz (Chimney Sweeper-Baker) by Dominika Czerniak-Chojnacka (Wydawnictwo Dwie Siostry , 2017), Poland

Lifetime Achievement in the Toddler Category 

Author and illustrator: Attilio Cassinelli (Lapis Edizioni, 2017), Italy

  • I tre porcellini
  • Topo di campagna e topo di città
  • Riccioli d’Oro
  • I musicanti di Brema
  • Cappuccetto Rosso
  • Il principe Ranocchio
  • Il leone e il topo
Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award

The fair partners with the Children’s Technology Review (USA) on a Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award for publishers and app developers who have distinguished themselves in the field of children’s content, integrating “the fun aspects of the digital experience with its concrete educational value.” Four groups are awarded in this eighth edition of the prize: fiction, education, AR (Augmented Reality) and content libraries.

In this edition the four members of the international jury are:

  • Warren Buckleitner (USA), director of the Children’s Technology Review
  • Lucy Gill (UK), founder of Digills Consulting, digital products developer
  • Sylvia Van Ommen (the Netherlands), illustrator, interactive design specialist and founder of the company Fruitcocktail
  • Roberta Franceschetti (Italy), journalist and content creator, co-founder of the site Mamamò

Submissions included 104 applications from 26 countries.

Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award: Fiction


The Gardens Between (The Voxel Agents) by the Voxel Agents with illustrator Soft Science, Australia

Honorable Mentions 

  • Affamato Come un Lupo by Silvia Borando, Anna Beozzi, Paulo Chiarinotti, Amedeo Perri, with illustrator Silvia Borando (Minibombo, 2018), Italy
  • Spitkiss by Morten Brunbjerg with illustrators Anne Sigismund and Murray Somersville (Playdius/ Triple Topping, 2018), Denmark
  • Fiete World by Ahoiii Entertainment UG, 2018, Germany
Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award: AR 


Wonderscope/A Brief History of Amazing Stunts by Beth Garrod with illustrator Preloaded (Preloaded/Within, 2018), UK

Honorable Mention

  • Ghost-O-Matic by Japhet Asher (Carlton Books, 2018), UK
Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award: Education


Montessori Preschool, Edoki Academy, 2017, France

Honorable Mentions 

  • Lexi’s World by Josh On (Pop Pop Pop, 2018), USA
  • MixerPiece by Giuseppe Ragazzini, 2018, Italy
Bologna Ragazzi Digital Award: Content Libraries


Bayam by Bayard, Tobo Studio (Bayard Presse, 2017), France

Honorable Mention

  • Kidomi (Fingerprint Digital Inc., 2018), USA

More from Publishing Perspectives on children’s books is here and more on Bologna Children’s Book Fair is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.