44th Solothurn Literature Days – Johanna Schaible wins Swiss children’s and young people’s book prize – Culture


Johanna Schaible from Bern redefines the boundaries of the picture book – and takes the reader on a personal journey through time. With her picture book debut “Once upon a time there will be a long time”, she wins the children’s and youth book prize.

With the choice of Schaible’s picture book, the jury once again showed their flair for works whose artists are willing to experiment. Last year, the winning book was Martin Panchaud’s “The Color of Things” – a book filled with pictograms, infographics and symbols.

This year, it is a picture book about the concept of time that appeals to all generations and breaks new ground with its innovative design.

The Swiss Children’s and Youth Book Prize

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The Swiss Children’s and Youth Book Prize was awarded for the third time on Saturday at Solothurn Literature Days. It is endowed with CHF 10,000 and supported by the Swiss Institute for Children and Youth Media sikjm, the Swiss Association of Bookstores and Publishers SBVV and Solothurn Literature Days.

You zoom towards the now

The book “There was once and for a long time to come” begins with large pages about the past. Short texts can be read on large, colorful illustrations, such as: “The country was formed billions of years ago”. The next page says, “Millions of years ago, dinosaurs roamed the earth.” And then you turn to the present with smaller and smaller pages with a changing format.

You realize that the present is built on the past, and you zoom in on it, so to speak. Until you get to the middle of the book and read the query on a picture with a shooting star: “Send a wish now!” Then the pages get bigger again with questions about the future.

A book with universal themes

Johanna Schaible does not tell a classic story. Nor does she see herself as a classic storyteller: “I am interested in the universal themes that connect us humans.” She experiments until she finds a form that makes it possible to experience an abstract concept – and thus creates an opportunity to exchange ideas about it.

Artist and illustrator Johanna Schaible

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SRF / Lukas Maeder

38-year-old Johanna Schaible studied design and art at the art school in Lucerne. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 2013, she has worked as an artist and illustrator in Bern.

“I could not draw without writing. I have to treat them both in the same way right from the start, writing is also part of the picture. (…) Drawing and writing are not subject to linear development. The process is more like circling, until you have surrounded what you want. “

You can find more about Johanna Schaible on the views of the SRF literature platform.

In her now award-winning book, she has fully succeeded. The 38-year-old says: “I started with expressions like time and air, but I did not know where it would take me. Because I am also interested in formally unusual books, I played with the format right from the start. Over time, the idea arose about zoom and time travel. »

The interplay between image, text and material design convinced the five-man jury. Jury member Stefan Schröter states: “The fact that a book whose materiality is so important is honored reflects the spirit of the times. The material design distinguishes it from digitalism. “The winning book offers everything that makes good literature, Stefan Schröter continues: It stimulates our imagination and challenges our judgment.

From idea to finished book

For all generations

The varied, artistic images with some philosophical questions make this picture book attractive to all generations. Johanna Schaible says: “When a grandchild sees this story with his grandmother, it is different than when two children or two adults see it together.”

The dedication on the first page is coherent and beautiful: “For tomorrow’s adults and yesterday’s children.”

The other four nominated books

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  • “Astor”
    Marine biologist Tito Moccia combines image and non-fiction in this work. With black-and-white drawings and short texts, he conveys interesting facts about the importance of the sea in an entertaining way and without pointing a moral finger.
  • “Mr. Bert and Alfonso chase a thief”
    In bright, warm colors, Laura D’Arcangelo tells the hilarious story of Mr. Bert, who simply goes unnoticed by anyone. A very dynamic story, with great attention to detail in the illustrations.
  • “Moni is the name of my pony. Spoken Word and Cartoons»
    A collection of 20 short stories, close to the world of children and young people. Andrea Gerster and Lika Nüssli tell stories with great pleasure in the language and cheeky, flashy illustrations.
  • “Le Voisins”
    The story of a not so simple neighborhood between a rhino and a family of elephants. Walid Serageldine’s images are so precise that they do without text and focus exclusively on the characters.
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