The Klaus Flugge Prize 2020 for most exciting newcomer to children’s picture book illustration has been awarded to Eva Eland for When Sadness Comes to Call.
When Sadness Comes to Call (Andersen Press) tells the story of a young child who 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.
The book is beautiful in its simplicity with a message that will resonate with all who read it. Whether you have experienced sadness or not, this story will enable understanding about an emotion which can be difficult to deal with, especially for young children. Each spread evokes empathy through minimal use of narrative, colour and line drawing.
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 prestigious 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.”
Chair of the judges Julia Eccleshare said “It is very much a book for today when so many children will be experiencing sadness, struggling to understand why and how to express themselves. Yet it also has the makings of a classic, a perfect meeting of intention and delivery, and an example of how much picture books can do.”
On receiving the prize, Eva Eland said: “When Sadness Comes to Call started as a
personal exploration of difficult emotions in images and text during my studies at the MA Children’s Book Illustration in Cambridge and when I took my first version of this book to the Children’s Book Fair in Bologna, displayed on the stand of the Cambridge School of Art, I thought I had made something very peculiar and niche and had very little expectations of getting any serious interest. So when Andersen Press approached me and wanted to publish the book, I could hardly believe it. 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.”
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 published by Puffin. Mini Grey, also on the judging panel, said: “It’s a work of ingenious inspiration that is able to take a complicated idea and make it visually simple, and that’s what On the Origin of Species does. Elegant illustrations help us venture deeper into the concepts and work on many levels.”
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. Alongside Julia Eccleshare, who is director of the Children’s Programme at the Hay Festival, this years judges are last year’s recipient Jessica Love, illustrator Mini Grey, Meera Ghanshamdas, bookseller at Moon Lane Ink; children’s book consultant Jake Hope; and Pam Smy of Anglia Ruskin University.
Congratulations to the winner and all those shortlisted for the Prize! To find out more visit www.klausfluggeprize.co.uk.