The 2023 Bilingual ‘Prix Albertine Jeunesse’ Winners

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The annual Prix Albertine Jeunesse winners are chosen by bilingual French- and English-language students in North America.

French children’s author Richard Marnier reads to kids at the announcement event of the Prix Albertine Jeunesse’s 2023 four winning titles, June 6. Image: Villa Albertine

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

Prix Albertine Jeunesse: New Shortlist This Month
As many Publishing Perspectives readers know, Albertine Books is a New York bookstore and its associated site, a project of the cultural services department of the French Embassy, that specializes in French and English books, carrying more than 14,000 contemporary and classic titles from 30 Francophone markets.

And this week (June 6), the program’s “Villa Albertine” cultural institution announced four titles selected as winners of this year’s Prix Albertine Jeunesse competition. That contest uses the votes of children aged 3 to 14 and enrolled in accredited French schools and public bilingual language schools in North America.

The selected books are divided into four age-defined groups:

  • 3 to 5 years
  • 6 to 8 years
  • 9 to 11 years
  • 12-14 years
A Shortlist Read in Both French and English

The announcement was made in an event in with 70 children, representatives of the more than 11,500 youngsters who reportedly cast as many as 6,000 votes from 518 participating classrooms in Canada and the United States, all having read French children’s literature in their original editions and/or English translation.

During the course of the event, one of the winning authors, Richard Marnier, was on-hand to read from his work, Who Left the Light On? (La lumière allumée), co-authored with Aude Maurel and translated by Emma Ramadan. The children made small birdhouses in highly individualized styles to represent the message of diversity, creativity, and individuality represented in that book.

Bird houses made in purposefully individualized styles by children invited to the June 6 Prix Albertine Jeunesse.  Image: Villa Albertine

In getting the vote from a pool comprising 11,500 children, the Villa Albertine developed a shortlist with representatives of the Agency for French Education Abroad network in North America.

That approach will again be used in creating the 2024 shortlist–to be listed on the Albertine site later this month–and schools will begin registering their interest in participating in the program in September. Once more, the young voters in the program will be judging “the quality of each book in both languages.”

Children attending the Prix Albertine Jeunesse event on June 6 work on projects representative of the winning books. Image: Villa Albertine

Publishing Perspectives understands that 70 schools have formally integrated Prix Albertine Jeunesse books into their curricula, using these texts as a way “to develop links between the two languages and encourage bilingualism and multilingualism.”

You can have a look at the various elements of the program and its presentational materials for schools here, in sections clearly produced and presented in elements of the 2023 selection, the voting process, archives, and productions created around groups of children engaging and participating in the program.

The 2023 Prix Albertine Jeunesse Winners

Here are the four winners of the 2023 Prix Albertine Jeunesse, in each of the program’s four age-driven categories:

Category: 3-5 years
Who Left the Light On? / La lumière allumée
By Aude Maurel and Richard Marnier
Translated by Emma Ramadan

Category: 6 to 8 years
365 Penguins / 365 pingouins
By Jean-Luc Fromental and Joëlle Jolivet

Category: 9 to 11 years
By Jean-Claude Mourlevat
Illustrated by Antoine Ronzon

Category: 12 to 14 years
The Last Giants / Les derniers géants
By François Place
Translated by William Rodarmor

More from Publishing Perspectives on the myriad book and publishing award programs in the international marketplace is here. More on French-language work in publishing is here. More on the Albertine suite of programs is here, more on children’s literature is here, and more on translation 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.