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Kathleen Vereecken wins Boekenleeuw, Kaatje Vermeire wins Boekenpauw 2019

On 30 October the Boekenleeuw and Boekenpauw were presented at the Antwerp Book Fair. These awards recognise, respectively, the best and most beautifully illustrated children’s or young adult book in the Dutch language area. The prizes are worth 2,500 euro each.

Historical and topical

The Boekenleeuw went to author Kathleen Vereecken for Everything Will Be Fine, Forever. The book was illustrated by Charlotte Peys and was the recipient of the Woutertje Pieterse Prijs earlier this year.

Photo's of the author and the book

'Everything Will Be Fine, Forever' is set during World War I. Protagonist Alice is growing up amongst falling bombs, soldiers and refugees. In the end, she herself is forced to flee. The title is taken from something her mother says, a little white lie.

The jury selected “a book that can leave us profoundly touched, a book that displays a wide range of emotions, that is both historical and topical, that is written in flawless language and, above all, that generates a great sense of empathy.”

An illustrator who keeps challenging herself

The Boekenpauw was awarded to Kaatje Vermeire for her illustrations in Ans & Wilma Are Lost. The text, written by Alice Reys en Ariane van Vliet, started off as a theatrical performance, which is reflected in the humorous dialogue and sharp, staccato lines.

Photo of the author and the book cover

The bright colours in the illustrations complement the theatrical story exceptionally well. A pleasure to look at, with vivid colours, comical characters and imaginative details. The jury came to the same conclusion: “there was one book that took us all by surprise and that only got better on re-reading. A book in which we see an illustrator at work who does not keep rehashing previous successes, but who really throws herself into each new challenge. A book in which the illustrations reflect the cheerful complexity of the text, supports it and adds a own distinctive touch. If only there were more books like this.”