France’s Prix Albertine Jeunesse Honors Children’s Book Translations

In News by Porter Anderson

The reader’s choice Prix Albertine Jeunesse is selected by students, this year in more than 700 classes in accredited bilingual programs.

Image: Villa Albertine

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

Almost 17,000 Students Participated This Year
France’s Albertine Books in New York City has announced the winners of its 2024 Prix Albertine Jeunesse, an award that this year had the participation of 16,848 students in 754 classes—a record for the program—in Canada and the United States.

In a thematic approach this year, the concept of togetherness was stressed “with a unique literary and artistic perspective,” according the media messaging organizers have sent for today’s (June 13) report.

This is the sixth year for this annual readers’ choice award that selects Francophone children’s books in English translations. The program is an Albertine initiative in concert with the French embassies in Canada and the United States, in cooperation with the Agence pour l’enseignement français à l’étranger, the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE).

Access to the students who participate in the program is gained through a network of 70 schools in North America. These schools’ curricula have embraced the Prix Albertine Jeunesse as part of their schoolyear programming. Participating schools receive educational resources and lesson plans for teachers. A series of 38 online events with authors was organized by Villa Albertine in March, as well.

In the Prix Albertine Jeunesse,  voting for various titles is done by students aged 3 to 14, youngsters who are enrolled in accredited French schools and public bilingual language schools in North America. The winning books are divided into three age-defined groups:

  • 3 to 5 years
  • 6 to 8 years
  • 9 to 11 years
Winners of the 2024 Prix Albertine Jeunesse

Category: 3 to 5 Years

Inside the Box
(C’est dans la boîte )

By Édouard Monceau
Published by Kane Miller (Éditions Nathan)

This book, published in August 2022, is classified as a comic “without designed text” for the youngest readers.

In descriptive text, we read, “Little ones naturally enter books through images: without the support of the text, the images carry all the stages of the story without narrative ellipses. Without text, everyone is free to tell the story as they wish: from the images, the child goes orally and makes sentences to tell you the story.”

In this story, the question is what is hidden in each box. One has a cat inside, another has a rabbit, and so on.

Category: 6 to 8 Years

The Brothers Zzli
(Les frères Zzli)

By Anne-Lise Boutin and Alex Cousseau; translated by Vineet Lal
Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (Éditions Les Fourmis rouges)

From the publisher’s descriptive text: “One day, the brothers Zzli come to the doorstep of a little girl named Welcome. Welcome has plenty of room in her big, empty house, and the travelers—who have come from far away—make good pancakes and even better company.

“But others in the forest find this new family strange, even dangerous. When the bears invite their neighbors to a big party, only Welcome’s friend the bat shows up. Soon after that, a policeman knocks on their door, threatening to destroy the brothers’ beloved beehives.

“Maybe Welcome and her friends need to find someplace that might accept three bears, a bat, and a girl like her: somewhere to call home at last.”

Category: 9 to 11 Years

A Sea of Love
(Un océan d’amour)

By Wilfrid Lupano and Gregory Panaccione
Published by Magnetic Press (Éditions Delcourt)

Like Inside the Box, the youngest group’s winner, this book is classified with comics and graphic novels.

Descriptive text: “Every morning, the fisherman borrows his small boat and goes to work at sea.

“But this morning, it is he who is fished. Carried away by an industrial trawler, his canoe crosses the Atlantic. On the shore, his wife is waiting. The gossips are already predicting the fisherman’s death, but the old witch who reads pancakes saw him in Cuba.

“Convinced that her man is still alive, the Bigoudène sets out alone on an improbable rescue mission.”

More about the Prix Albertine Jeunesse is available here.

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.