Monday, November 10, 2014

In which the crocodiles go to Mexico

My crocodiles have been getting around lately... they travel much more than I do! This time they were spotted in Mexico City, at the Museo Franz Mayer (home of the largest collection of decorative arts in all of Latin America!).  I am thrilled to bits...

As you can see by the poster, it was an exhibit of the winning artwork from the Nami Island Illustration Concours (where Crocodile Shoes won an honorable mention in 2013, as you may recall). Nami Island, the sponsor of the Andersen Awards, holds this competition every two years. There is an annual and an exhibit which first opens in Korea, then goes on tour around the world — ending up wherever the IBBY Congress is held, I think.

As you can also see by the poster, the exhibit closed over a month ago. But for those of us who didn't get a chance to catch it, here are a few items to give a sense of it.  First, a little animated video...

...then some photos from the gallery:
Hey...that's me!
The museum also hosted another children's illustration show at the same time,  Dibujando El Mundo, featuring many of my illustration heroes — Kveta Pacovska, Shaun Tan, Sara Fanelli, Javier Zabala, Isol and many others. 
Between the museum's lovely ambience and the art on display, I really wish I could have been there! 

Both of the illustration shows were timed to coincide with the IBBY Congress — a bi-annual shindig bringing together all kinds of people from the world of children's books. It's held in countries all over the world, a different one each time.  I would so love to go one day! (The next one's in New Zealand, in 2016... plenty of time to save up!)

IBBY (the International Board on Books for Young Readers) is a fantastic organization — an NGO, in fact, with official status in UNICEF and UNESCO. With chapters in 72 countries worldwide, IBBY plays a role in policy-making regarding children's books, as well as recognizing and awarding excellence, playing a crucial part in the Bologna Children's Book Fair since its inception.

I've been reading this book about Jella Lepman — the gutsy, outspoken, imaginative woman who founded both IBBY and the International Youth Library in Munich, a wonderful place from the sounds of it. It's well worth a read.  At the request of the American government, she returned to her native Germany after having fled the Nazis nine years previously. Arriving in 1945 just after the shooting had stopped, the grim rubble of postwar Europe she describes (not unlike The Third Man) is where she did her work of helping children starved for stories and hope. What she started is still thriving today! You can read more about that here, if you can't find the book...

Lastly, this year's Nami Concours is in progress— here's the shortlist of illustrators for the final round. So happy to see friends and acquaintances included here... well done, everybody!

PS. A shout out to Ana Aranda who took the photos in Mexico City — she's a wonderful illustrator I met at the SCBWI Conference, where she won the Mentorship Award for her excellent portfolio.  Merci, Ana!!

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