Hans Christian Andersen Award

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Hans Christian Andersen Award
A golden medallion with an embossed image featuring a bust of Andersen.
Awarded forOutstanding and lasting contribution to children's literature
Presented byInternational Board on Books for Young People
First awarded1956; 65 years ago (1956)

The Hans Christian Andersen Awards are given by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) every two years to an author and an illustrator whose complete works have made an important, lasting contribution to children's literature".[1] The writing award was first given in 1956, the illustration award in 1966.

The awards are named after Hans Christian Andersen, the 19th-century Danish author of fairy tales, and each winner receives the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, a gold medal with the head of Andersen, and a diploma. Medals are presented at the biennial IBBY Congress.


The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) was founded by Jella Lepman in the 1950s.[2] The Hans Christian Andersen Award was first proposed in 1953 and awarded three years later, in 1956.[3] It was established in the aftermath of World War II to encourage development of high-quality children's books. The award was set to be given biennially and was initially awarded for individual works that had been published in the preceding two years.[4] By 1962 the award's formal criteria were amended "to a living author who is judged to have made a lasting contribution to good juvenile literature by the outstanding value of his or her work. The author's complete works, in particular those in fiction, will be taken into consideration in awarding the medal."[5]

Runners up were listed in 1960, 1962, and 1964. In reflection of what IBBY considered to be a trend of increasing quality in picture books,[5] the award was expanded to include illustrators in 1966.[3] From 1966 to 1996 runners up were named as "Highly Commended". In 1998 this was replaced with a list of three to four "Finalists".[5] The patron of the awards is Queen Margrethe II of Denmark[6] and the awards are sponsored by Nami Island Inc. A special issue of Bookbird, a journal published by IBBY, is published as the award is given out.[7]


The winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Awards is selected by a jury which is put together by IBBY's executive committee. The Jury's president is elected by IBBY's General Assembly. There were initially seven jurors,[5] but this was increased to eight and in 2000 to ten. The jurors are specialists in children's literature and represent a diverse group. It generally takes nine months to review candidates and select a winner.[8]

Jella Lepman served as Jury President for the first three Andersen Awards, 1956, 1958 and 1960, and remained on the jury until her death in 1970. Current four-year terms cover two award cycles. Other notable presidents have included Virginia Haviland (1970-1974), Patricia Crampton (1982-1986), and Ana Maria Machado (1986-1990).[9]

Selection process[]

The award's regulations read: "The Hans Christian Andersen Award is presented every two years by IBBY to an author and to an illustrator, living at the time of the nomination, who by the outstanding value of their work are judged to have made a lasting contribution to literature for children and young people. The complete works of the author and the illustrator will be taken into consideration in the selection process". The selection criteria include the aesthetic and literary qualities of writing and illustration as well as the ability to see things from the child's point of view and the ability to stretch the child's curiosity and imagination.

Every IBBY member nation has its own organization, known as a "national section", that is active across the country. All national sections can nominate candidates for consideration in the Hans Christian Andersen Awards.[10] Some national sections repeatedly nominate the same author or illustrator, others nominate a new candidate each time.[11] To nominate a candidate, a dossier is prepared that provides information including a list of works, appreciative essays, interviews or articles and biographical sketch. The dossier, including digital copies of five books is submitted electronically and three hard copies of the selected books are sent to the IBBY Secretariat. The Jury interacts online and then meet in person, usually in January of the award year to review the physical books and select the finalists and Award winners. There are sixty-two nominees from thirty-three countries for the 2022 Hans Christian Andersen awards.[12]

The winners are announced at the International Children's Book Fair in Bologna. Each winner receives the Hans Christian Andersen Medal and a diploma,[2] which are presented at the biennial IBBY Congress.[1]

Writing award winners[]

Eleanor Farjeon received the first award in 1956
Gianni Rodari, who received the 1970 award
Jacqueline Woodson (2020 recipient), in 2018
Winners of the writing award[13]
Year Winner Country
1956 Eleanor Farjeon (for The Little Bookroom)[4]  United Kingdom
1958 Astrid Lindgren (for Rasmus på luffen)[4]  Sweden
1960 Erich Kästner (for  [de])[4]  Germany
1962 Meindert DeJong  USA
1964 René Guillot  France
1966 Tove Jansson  Finland
1968 James Krüss  Germany
José Maria Sanchez-Silva  Spain
1970 Gianni Rodari  Italy
1972 Scott O'Dell  USA
1974 Maria Gripe  Sweden
1976 Cecil Bødker  Denmark
1978 Paula Fox  USA
1980 Bohumil Říha  Czechoslovakia
1982 Lygia Bojunga Nunes  Brazil
1984 Christine Nöstlinger  Austria
1986 Patricia Wrightson  Australia
1988 Annie M. G. Schmidt  Netherlands
1990 Tormod Haugen  Norway
1992 Virginia Hamilton  USA
1994 Michio Mado  Japan
1996 Uri Orlev  Israel
1998 Katherine Paterson  USA
2000 Ana Maria Machado  Brazil
2002 Aidan Chambers  United Kingdom
2004 Martin Waddell  Ireland
2006 Margaret Mahy  New Zealand
2008 Jürg Schubiger   Switzerland
2010 David Almond  United Kingdom
2012 María Teresa Andruetto  Argentina
2014 Nahoko Uehashi  Japan
2016 Cao Wenxuan  China
2018 Eiko Kadono  Japan
2020 Jacqueline Woodson  USA

Illustration award winners[]

Farshid Mesghali, the 1974 recipient
Květa Pacovská, the 1992 recipient
Winners of the illustration award[13]
Year Winner Country
1966 Alois Carigiet   Switzerland
1968 Jiří Trnka  Czechoslovakia
1970 Maurice Sendak  USA
1972 Ib Spang Olsen  Denmark
1974 Farshid Mesghali  Iran
1976 Tatjana Mawrina  Soviet Union
1978  [Wikidata]  Denmark
1980  [Wikidata]  Japan
1982 Zbigniew Rychlicki  Poland
1984 Mitsumasa Anno  Japan
1986 Robert Ingpen  Australia
1988  [Wikidata]  Czechoslovakia
1990 Lisbeth Zwerger  Austria
1992 Květa Pacovská  Czechoslovakia[a]
1994  [Wikidata]   Switzerland
1996  [Wikidata]  Germany
1998 Tomi Ungerer  France
2000 Anthony Browne  United Kingdom
2002 Quentin Blake  United Kingdom
2004 Max Velthuijs  Netherlands
2006 Wolf Erlbruch  Germany
2008  [Wikidata]  Italy
2010 Jutta Bauer  Germany
2012 Peter Sís  Czech Republic[b]
2014 Roger Mello  Brazil
2016 Rotraut Susanne Berner  Germany
2018  [Wikidata]  Russia
2020 Albertine Zullo   Switzerland

See also[]


  1. ^ Pacovská received the award one year before Czechoslovakia dissolved into its constituent states.
  2. ^ Sis was nominated by the extant Czech Republic. He was born in the former Czechoslovakia and educated there in Applied Arts. He has been a U.S. citizen from 1982.


  1. ^ Jump up to: a b "Hans Christian Andersen Awards". International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). Retrieved 2012-08-20.
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b Glistrup 2002, p. 14.
  3. ^ Jump up to: a b Ellis 1973, p. 20.
  4. ^ Jump up to: a b c d Glistrup 2002, p. 15.
  5. ^ Jump up to: a b c d Glistrup 2002, p. 16.
  6. ^ Latrobe, Kathy (2001). "Childern's[sic] Literature: International Perspectives". World Literature Today. 75 (3/4): 98–102. doi:10.2307/40156756. ISSN 0196-3570.
  7. ^ Glistrup 2002, p. 21.
  8. ^ Glistrup 2002, p. 17.
  9. ^ "Hans Christian Award jury members". Glistrup, ed., pp. 119–24. Retrieved 2013-07-12.
  10. ^ Tomlinson, Carl M. (2003). "The International Children's Literature Movement". World Literature Today. 77 (1): 68–70. doi:10.2307/40157788. ISSN 0196-3570.
  11. ^ Glistrup 2002, p. 19.
  12. ^ Kantor, Emma (9 December 2020). "Candidates for the 2022 Hans Christian Andersen Awards Announced". Publisher's Weekly. Retrieved 24 February 2021.
  13. ^ Jump up to: a b "Hans Christian Anderson Award". International Board on Books for Young People. Retrieved 24 February 2021.


External links[]

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