by Brenda Dales
The Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava (BIB), is one of the most prestigious and long-standing international competitions for children’s book art. Held every other year in Bratislava, Slovakia, the 28th BIB took place in October, 2021, with virtual participation by the international jury. The BIB awards to illustrators and their books include a Grand Prix, 5 Golden Apples, 5 Plaques, and Honorable Mentions to Publishers.
Participating illustrators are selected by national organizations such as IBBY national sections, and according to BIB criteria the illustrators submit original art from recent picturebooks to the organization in Bratislava. A committee of USBBY members worked with the outstanding and accomplished Raul Colón to submit art from Child of the Universe (written by Ray Jayawardhana, Random House, 2020), and Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine (written by Heather Lang, Calkins Creek, 2016).
The BIB jury selected Elena Odriozola of Spain to receive the Grand Prix for Mixed Feelings. All award winners and additional information can be found in the BIB Press Release. Images from the winning illustrators/books can be found here, along with additional awards such as the Children’s Jury Award and images from previous winners.
The 2021 jury was given the enviable task of examining 2700 illustrations from 380 illustrators representing 42 countries. While the U.S. did not take a prize this time, just being among the competitors was a significant honor for Raul Colón and a shining exemplar of talent from the U.S. Plus, Colón’s illustrations continue to be displayed in subsequent international events (although the main venue, Bratislava Castle, is currently closed for epidemiological reasons).
The BIB is organized under the auspices of IBBY, UNESCO, and with support of the Ministry of Culture, Slovakia, and this year also including the President of the Slovak Republic Zuzana Čaputová.
USBBY looks forward to participating again in 2023.
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