The covers of Lee Myung-ae’s “Tomorrow Will Be a Sunny Day,” left, and Kim Hyo-eun’s “I am the Subway” / Courtesy of Munhakdongne Publishing
By Park Han-sol
Two critically-acclaimed Korean picture books ― Lee Myung-ae’s “Tomorrow Will Be a Sunny Day” and Kim Hyo-eun’s “I am the Subway” ― have been named as the winners of this year’s major international illustration awards, their publisher Munhakdongne announced Friday.
Lee’s “Tomorrow Will Be a Sunny Day” received the Golden Apple prize at the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava (BIB) in Slovakia, an event held with the support of UNESCO and the International Board on Books for Young People.
It remains one of the most prestigious awards for children’s book illustrations since 1967, along with the Bologna Ragazzi Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award.
Published in January of last year, Lee’s picture book follows constantly-changing yellow shapes, which form a bus stop on one page, a crosswalk on the next and later, waves lapping on the shore. Through such a rhythmic mix of interesting visuals, it offers a glimpse of the lives of busy pedestrians, hard-working laborers, athletes and even astronauts.
“Just like the scene depicted at the last page of my book, I hope the day when everyone can enjoy their free time with their loved ones at the park without worries will come soon,” the author remarked upon hearing the announcement of the prize.
An illustration from Lee Myung-ae’s “Tomorrow Will Be a Sunny Day” / Courtesy of BIB
Meanwhile, it was Kim’s “I am the Subway” that won this year’s World Illustration Awards (WIA) in the Children’s Publishing category. Hosted by the UK-based Association of Illustrators, the event, which began as an annual competition called Images in 1975, now awards original illustrations in 10 categories ― including Children’s Publishing, Alternative Publishing, Book Covers and Design, Product & Packaging.
The picture book, first published in 2016, tells its story through quiet, slice-of-life portraits of Seoulites aboard the city’s iconic subway line 2. It was translated into English last year by Deborah Smith, who became the co-winner of the Man Booker International Prize for her translation of Han Kang’s “The Vegetarian.”
U.S. literary news magazine Publishers Weekly wrote, “Graceful, luminous watercolors convey strength and delicacy; Kim handles with equal skill the workings of the train, the architecture of the stations, and the figures and expressions of the passengers.”
“I’m both happy and surprised to hear that the story of subway passengers in the city of Seoul resonated with those in other parts of the world after all this time and distance,” Kim said.Internet Explorer Channel Network