SEOUL, March 24 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean children’s books are gaining worldwide attention.
Children’s book illustrator Suzy Lee on Monday became the first South Korean to win the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Awards (HCAA).
She is the only Korean to ever win a prize or be nominated at the HCAA.
Last month, her latest book “Summer” also won a prize at this year’s Bologna Ragazzi Awards. In the Non-Fiction section, “Father’s big hands” by Choi Deok-kyu was also selected as a Special Mention piece.
Baek Heena, one of the most renowned picture book artists in South Korea, has won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s largest children’s book award, in April 2020.
She is the first South Korean author to win the prize, established by the Swedish government in 2002 to honor the Swedish children’s author Astrid Lindgren, who wrote “Pippi Longstocking” (1945).
The Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea showed that 2,142 publication licenses were exported in 2020, among which 54.1 percent were for children’s books.
The worldwide success of Korean children’s books is attributed to their unique aesthetics and inclusive tone that embraces cultural diversity.
Picture books, in particular, come with lower language barriers, and are easily accessible to worldwide readers who are able to understand the story through illustrations.
“Writers who are well-informed about the cultures of the East and the West are carrying on with their experiments,” said Kim Ji-eun, a literary critic.
“Picture books lead the story through illustrations, and writers are on a constant lookout to discover a unique style of portrayal. The stories are also very inclusive, all of which have led to the worldwide success of Korean children’s books.”
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)