Bologna Children’s Book Fair’s 2021 Ragazzi Award Winners

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The contest drew 1,577 entries from 41 countries. Seven nations are represented among the winners, the United Kingdom with two wins.

A detail from author-illustrator Neil Packer’s ‘One of a Kind,’ winner of the Bologna Ragazzi Award in the nonfiction category. Image: Walker Books

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

Eight Categories
What the Bologna Children’s Book Fair is calling “a symbiotic network of children’s content” has to do with an emphasis on the human body, “all shapes and sizes, ages and gender,” as an organizing metaphor. Organizers say that this year’s 1,577 submitted titles from 41 nations included many comparative references in terms of “similarities and differences” in “plants, animals, and objects.”

Another point of emphasis perceived by jurors in the competition is a broad use of fluorescent color, which to many may feel like a throwback to the era when the trademark term Day-Glo was popular.

As Publishing Perspectives readers will recall, Bologna released its winners’ list in this year’s “special” category of poetry in late May. We’re told that the listings we have today (June 7) will complete the 2021 Ragazzi competition winners’ rosters, including its “cross-media award”—formerly known as the digital award and renamed to reflect the importance of developing book content from its native medium into various visual media.

More awards are included in the annual programming, of course, most notably the Bologna Prize for the Children’s Publisher of the Year. That one is organized in coordination with both the Italian publishers’ association (Associazione Italiana Editori, AIE) led by Ricardo Franco Levi, and the International Publishers Association. Winners of the Publisher of the Year competition are announced during the trade show.

And as you’ll remember, the online edition of the fair is to run June 14 to 17.

The traditional categories in the Ragazzi Awards are:

  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Opera Prima (debut work)
  • Comics Early Reader
  • Comics Middle Grade
  • Comics Young Adult
  • New Horizons (innovation)
  • Cross-Media (formerly the digital category)

The Bologna Ragazzi Award’s jury this year comprised:

  • Chiara Basile, founder of the Lèggere Leggére bookshop and organizer of the Junior Poetry Festival (Italy)
  • Ana Garallon, literary critic, researcher, and guest professor (Spain)
  • Izabella Kaluta, author, publisher and cultural manager (Poland)
  • Yasmine Motawy, scholar, critic, translator, editor, consultant and children’s literature writing tutor (Egypt)
  • Caterina Ramonda, author, translator, expert in paper and digital children’s publishing (Italy)

In the comics category, those jurors were joined by:

  • David B., author, co-founder of L’Association, a publishing house on the new French comics scene (France)
  • Matteo Stefanelli, scholar, journalist and cultural organizer working in comics and media (Italy)
  • Virginia Tonfoni, author and independent comic book researcher (Italy)
Bologna Ragazzi Award 2021 Winners

There are many special mentions listed by jurors as well as winners. For the complete list, we direct you to the Ragazzi Awards’ spot on the Bologna site.

Category Title Author Illustrator/Visual Medium Publisher Market
Fiction Home Lin Lian-En Lin Lian-En Yes Creative Ltd
Papa Publishing House
Taiwan
Nonfiction One of a Kind Neil Packer Neil Packer Walker Books United Kingdom
Opera Prima Neighbors Kasva Denisevich Kasva Denisevich Chronical Books United States
New Horizons Mesto pro kazdeho Osamu Okamura David Bohm, Jiri Franta Labirynt Czech Republic
Comics: Early Reader Iparapa Yamooyamoo Lee Gee Eun Lee Gee Eun Sakyejul Publishing Ltd. South Korea
Comics: Middle Grade Memet Isabella Cielli Noemie Marsily L’employé du moi Belgium
Comics: YA Le Discours de la Panthere Jérémie Moreau Jérémie Moreau Editions 2024 France
Cross-Media The Snail and the Whale Julia Donaldson Axel Scheffler Book: Macmillan Children’s Books
3D film short: Magic Light Pictures
United Kingdom

Comments from jurors are available here.

The trade show’s organizers this year are using the term BRAW for the Bologna Ragazzi Awards, and you may see that term on the company’s site. Those references are to the same contest, the Bologna Ragazzi Awards.

A detail from author-illustrator Neil Packer’s ‘One of a Kind,’ winner of the Bologna Ragazzi Award in the nonfiction category. In this panel, Arvo works on which tools are best to fix the puncture in his bicycle tire. Image: Walker Books


More from Publishing Perspectives on Italy and its book publishing industry is here. More on Bologna Children’s Book Fair is here, more from us on children’s books is here, more on publishing and book awards is here, and more on world publishing’s trade shows and book fairs is here

More from Publishing Perspectives on the coronavirus pandemic 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 2019 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 also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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