Shortlist 2021

Luise Bornkessel, Contact, homepage and jury statement

The book convinced the jury because the vivid coloured pencil drawings, the story and the book design – including a map on the cover – are inextricably linked. The juror Dr Dagmar Gaußmann writes: ‘Alongside the many virtuoso submissions that we had to sort out because there was virtuosity of drawing skill but no story to go with the pictures, Luise Bornkessel’s entry stands out for its ambitious design of the book medium, drawing skill and a great love of storytelling. Her grandfather’s story is given a fitting stage by Luise Bornkessel’s work in the medium of the picture book.”

Hanna Brückner, Contact, homepage and jury statement

With a reduced colour spectrum, the book opens up a world of its own in its very broad format,” says Anjuscha Gabain, a member of the jury for Carlsen Verlag. “A child sets off, just like that, without asking. In the yellow-coloured home, the pet is still wondering, but Juri has already set off. The pictures in soft yellow, blue or purple, contrasted with black, show the child’s discoveries. The wide format is constantly restaged: we see the path the child takes over a roof, a winding tunnel whose length offers space for various animals and found objects or even the “long grandma”, who needs the entire width to fit in the picture.”

Ann-Katrin Eckert, Contact, homepage and jury statement • 

WATER by Ånsken Eckert
Anjusch Gabain writes: “Ånsken Eckert plays with structure in calm, two-dimensional pictures. A wood grain or a chequered paper are the basis. In the play of structures, chequered paper becomes tile and wood becomes water, sand, an evening sky. Different structures lie on top of each other, with a few lines or figures painted into them, the result is a swimming pool or a lake.” Annika Siems, chairwoman of the illustrators’ organisation, also praises the “beautiful colour mood and an almost poetic atmosphere”.
“WATER” is a competition entry that is not only aimed at children and subtly enriches the aesthetic spectrum of non-fiction picture books.

Caspar David Engstfeld, Contact, homepage and jury statement •

BOA, WHAT KIND OF BIKE by Caspar David Engstfeld

Professor Martin tom Dieck writes: “The book is a punchy little digression on creativity. Based on the urgent question of a young person – what is a “cool bike”? – the plot portrays an urban sociotope of nerds who are consulted by the central character in search of inspiration and help. But it is not the bicycle that is actually the subject here. Instead, the story tells of an energy, a naturalness of youthful creativity, of neighbourhoods and loners and of things that can be important, even if they are not fully understood. The story is also told in a language of enthusiasm that is not at all well-dosed, but at the same time very conscious of form, which rotates across the double pages as a somewhat overdriven, colourful graphic – a book as a bundle of energy.”

Enikö Gömöri,Contact, homepage and jury statement •

I AM A LION AFTER ALL by Einikö Gömöri
The book tells the story of a child who assumes different identities in the course of a day. “The book is constructed as a repeating sequence of double pages. On the left-hand page we see a complex illustration depicting a realistic situation. On the right, the illustrator juxtaposes this with a powerful, minimalist portrait of a single animal, which looks like a poster and results associatively from the previous illustration. The visual language is simple, bold and original and the colour scheme conveys an authentic joie de vivre. The clear compositions ensure that you never lose sight of the narrative link between the two halves of the picture,” says Professor Yirmi Pinkus, explaining the jury’s decision.

Benjamin Gottwald, Contact, homepage and jury statement •

SPINNE SPIELT KLAVIER by Benjamin Gottwald

“Spider plays the piano” is a picture book that manages without any text. Nevertheless, it cannot be described as quiet by any stretch of the imagination.
On one hundred and forty brightly coloured pages, you can see things, situations and figures that make noises. Some noises are unmistakable and you can easily imagine what it sounds like when someone knocks on a wall or sneezes, for example. – You see the image and hear the familiar sound.
Other sounds are quieter or less frequent and you don’t immediately hear them, so you are involuntarily tempted to imitate the hissing of a broken bicycle tyre and the hissing of a snake to compare them with each other. The jury also made more or less tentative attempts at various illustrations.
In this way, the book can both cause some noise at a children’s birthday party and, if you are perhaps alone with the pictures, sharpen the reader’s awareness of subtle differences between noises and very quiet sounds.
Benjamin Gottwald succeeds in creating images that reach the ears via the eyes and, the longer you look between the ears, revitalise acoustic perception. Completely without words.

There are double pages in this book with juxtapositions of sounds, with narrative contexts and there are pictures where you can’t be sure at first glance what you’re hearing.
What does it sound like when a deer secretly observes two walkers in the forest? Or when a paper aeroplane whizzes over a double-page spread? You can already tell you want to try.
“This book is simply a joy,” writes Elsa Klever about SPINNE SPIELT KLAVIER. “A book I would buy. A book that I wish existed.”
This was clearly felt by all jury members on the last day. We spent three days expertly endeavouring to describe the different characteristics of illustrations and picture book concepts and weighing up the qualities, but in the end we were looking for a book that we ourselves would like to hold in our hands.
The clever, multi-layered and original concept of this picture book, the lively, confident and amusing drawings and the expressive use of colour unanimously impressed the jury. The decision was unanimous.
The Verein Neues Bilderbuch awards the Hamburg Picture Book Prize 2021 to Benjamin Gottwald for his picture book concept SPINNE SPIELT KLAVIER with a celebratory toot.

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