By Hannah Johnson | @hannahsjohnson
Searching for ‘Diverse and Outstanding’ Picture BooksWhile many book prizes and awards are focused on creators and titles from particular regions or languages, Vietnamese children’s book publisher Ehomebooks has set out to offer a truly global prize in the field of illustrated children’s books by launching the International Children’s Picture Book Award.
Trịnh Minh Tuấn, CEO of Ehomebooks, told Publishing Perspectives that the more limited eligibility of other prizes means that “many authors and illustrators want to introduce their works but hardly find any chance.” His goal with the International Children’s Picture Book Award, which Tuấn said “welcomes submissions from people of all nationalities,” is “to find more diverse and outstanding picture books to introduce to young readers.”
This timely message comes as publishers in many countries are responding to demands from the communities they serve and looking for authors from more diverse backgrounds and with a wider range of perspectives.
The award is also very much based on values, something Ehomebooks strives to achieve with its own publishing program, which the company site describes as being driven primarily by compassion.
Ehomebooks should be a familiar name to many people working in the children’s book field. Founded in 2010, it’s grown to be one of the leading kids’ book publishers in Vietnam, publishing classics and modern bestsellers, as well as bilingual editions to help young readers learn English.
“The award is one of our efforts to join and contribute to the global publishing industry,” said Tuấn. “By holding this award, we would love to draw more awareness of and interest in picture books, first among authors and illustrators, then in various communities of readers. Picture books and their creators deserve more attention and better recognition.”
Submissions: ‘All Nationalities Are Encouraged’
Launching under the theme “Celebrating Childhood Dreams,” this new biennial award is open to all unpublished children’s picture books. Submissions are open until November 30, and authors and illustrators older than 18 and of all nationalities are encouraged to enter.
Complete eligibility requirements and submission guidelines are available at the International Children’s Picture Book Award site here.
The award will be given in three categories: Best Picture Book Award (a purse of US$6,000), Best Story Award (US$3,000), and Best Illustrations Award (US$3,000).
In addition to the categories’ cash awards, each winner will also receive an extra US$1,000 to buy and donate books to an organization of their choice, as well as a publishing contract with Ehomebooks.
These contracts will include world rights, Tuấn said, and international publishers are encouraged to acquire subsidiary rights and to “help the books and their creators gain better recognition, spread wider, and reach more people.”
Submissions will be evaluated on a number of factors, Tuấn said. “As this year’s award is themed ‘Celebrating childhood dreams,’ we are looking for the books that can spark childhood dreams, empowering kids and even adults to dream and live their dreams.
“Of course, we will consider a book comprehensively, both its text, illustrations, and their combination in telling the story,” he said. “The winning books should be committed to the core human values while remaining interesting to kids. All the books should express a deep understanding of and respect for children. We also expect some new perspectives, some different styles, or uniqueness in submissions.”
A Boost for ‘Unknown Talents’
When asked why the award focuses on unpublished work, Tuấn made it clear that helping up-and-coming creators gain a foothold in publishing is a big part of the mission.
“I know that there are many passionate and talented authors and illustrators,” he said, “but it’s hard for them to find the opportunities to get their work published. Published authors and illustrators are recognized at some levels, so they’re in a better position to win a contract. However, it’s not the case for the new and unpublished.
“For me,” Tuấn said, “it’s worth our effort to find the unknown talents and make them well-known. There are many new voices, new perspectives, new stories, new styles, and so on waiting for us.”
More from Publishing Perspectives on children’s books is here, more on publishing and book awards is here, more from us on Vietnam’s market is here, and more on the publishing industry in Asia is here.