The Klaus Flugge Prize for most exciting newcomer to children’s picture book illustration awarded to Eva Eland for When Sadness Comes to Call
In When Sadness Comes to Call (Andersen Press) a young child opens the door to an unexpected visitor, Sadness, personified as a semi-transparent amorphous shape. As the two spend time together, the child comes to know and understand Sadness, and then one day wakes up to find the visitor has left. Described by the judges as “a masterpiece of minimalism”, it is a sensitive and profound exploration of a complex emotion in a story that will speak to every child, no matter how young.
Eva Eland grew up in Delft, Netherlands. She studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the School of Visual Arts in New York as well as at the Cambridge School of Art, where she received a distinction in children’s book illustration. She started working on the book while on the Cambridge MA course and originally planned to feature other ‘difficult emotions’ such as anger and fear. However, she says: “Sadness was the one that most resonated with me, as it’s a feeling that has frequently visited me since childhood, and one that has become very familiar, almost like an old friend.”
Calling When Sadness Comes to Call “wise and simple, economical yet powerful”, Klaus Flugge Prize judge, illustrator Mini Grey said: “When Sadness calls there are things you can do. Eva’s book has the power to be a source of comfort and practical help. It gives you a map, it tells you of things you can do when uncomfortable feelings overwhelm you. Many people may need this book. I certainly do.”
Now in its fifth year, the Klaus Flugge Prize was founded to honour publisher Klaus Flugge, a supremely influential figure in picture books. Flugge set up Andersen Press in 1976 and has discovered and nurtured many of today’s most distinguished illustrators including David McKee, Tony Ross, Satoshi Kitamura, Ruth Brown and Susan Varley.
On receiving the prize, Eva Eland said: “When Andersen Press approached me and wanted to publish the book, I could hardly believe it. I didn’t think I was ready at all to publish my debut book as I was still studying and learning a lot, but I was gently reminded by my tutors that this was a great opportunity I shouldn’t let pass – and working with my publisher has been a wonderful, uplifting experience. To be shortlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize was such a delightful surprise and a huge honour, and now I’ve learned I won the award as well! It’s very encouraging to receive recognition like this and it will also help me to dedicate more resources to developing my work further. And I can’t help but smile at the fact that this often unwanted guest, called sadness, is now finding its way and being welcomed by so many more people and children, with a little help from my book and the Klaus Flugge Prize.”
The judges also chose to award Highly Commended to Sabina Radeva for her book, On the Origin of Species, an illustrated retelling of Darwin’s famous book.
Alongside Mini Grey and Jessica Love, the judges were Meera Ghanshamdas, bookseller at Moon Lane Ink; children’s book consultant Jake Hope; and Pam Smy of Anglia Ruskin University. Julia Eccleshare, director of the Children’s Programme at the Hay Festival, was Chair of the Judges.
AOI’s Derek Brazell reviewed the Shortlist of books here.