Jon Klassen has become the first Canadian to win the U.K.’s prestigious CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, awarded for “distinguished illustration in a book for children.” The Winnipeg-born author won the prize for his 2012 book, This Is Not My Hat.
The prize comes with a gold medal and £500 of books to donate to the library of the winner’s choice.
Winning this award is hugely encouraging. Making a book, you’re kind of going out on a limb in the belief that what you think of as a satisfying story is the same as what other people think of as a satisfying story. This doesn’t mean everything in the story turns out alright for everybody, but you, as a storyteller, try and make sure it ends the way the story should end. Any audience, children included, take reassurance from that. Storytelling is an act of community, of looking at one another afterward and agreeing that we enjoyed it or not. Whether the story itself portrays happiness or doom, the hope is found when we agree we liked it, and I’m so glad you liked this one.
Klassen was a double nominee for this year’s medal. He was also nominated for The Dark, on which he collaborated with Lemony Snicket.