Klaus Flugge Prize 2023 – Winner Announced!

14 September, 2023

Cover image of Flooded by Mariajo Ilustrajo, winner of the Klaus Flugge Prize 2023Congratulations to Mariajo Ilustrajo whose playful but powerful picture book Flooded (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books) was crowned the winner of this year’s Klaus Flugge Prize at a ceremony in London on Wednesday 13th September.

Already the winner of the English Association 4-11 Picture Book Award 2023 and the UK Literacy Association Picture Book Award 2023, Flooded tells the story of the animal inhabitants of a city who attempt to carry on with business as usual while their streets are slowly inundated. Eventually, they listen to a voice of reason and work together to find a solution in a positive and upbeat ending. Mariajo’s restrained colour palette – restricted to a grey wash and just two colours – draws the reader’s attention to the sea-green water as it rises, and to the yellow tail of the little tamarin monkey who is alert to the problem from the very start.

Judge and 2022 Klaus Flugge Prize winner Joseph Namara Hollis said, “Flooded has it all! It absorbs you into a world teeming with life. The character details are captivating, drawing you closer. Each page is dynamic with plenty to discover as the drama unfolds. And whilst it is a fun story, it delivers an important message with warmth and humour. This is a book to enjoy again and again.”

Commenting on her win, Mariajo Ilustrajo said, “It’s difficult to describe with words the joy of winning this prestigious prize. I’ve been an illustrator for a long time but becoming a children’s book illustrator and author seemed like just a dream. This recognition makes me feel that I’m heading in the right direction and encourages me to keep exploring new ways of creating new stories. I am ‘flooded’ with happiness and proud to know my book touched the Klaus Flugge Prize judges amongst such an amazing shortlist.”

Mariajo is the eighth winner of the Klaus Flugge Prize, which was set up in 2016 to honour Klaus Flugge, founder of Andersen Press and one of the most influential figures in children’s publishing. The prize is awarded to the year’s most promising and exciting newcomer to children’s picture book illustration and is recognised as one of the most important children’s book awards.

Chair of the judges, Julia Eccleshare commented: “Picture book illustration is in a robust state of health and the submissions for this year’s Klaus Flugge Prize were very strong. Our five shortlisted illustrators have enormous technical skill as well as an exceptional understanding of how illustration carries story and meaning. Huge congratulations to Mariajo on winning this year’s Klaus Flugge Prize; Flooded is a book that speaks both to now and of universal themes.”

The four other shortlisted titles for this year’s Klaus Flugge Prize were:

Lost in the City by Alice Courtley (Orchard Books)

Mildred the Gallery Cat by Jono Ganz (Tate)

Saving the Butterfly illustrated by Gill Smith, written by Helen Cooper (Walker Books)

The Baker by the Sea by Paula White (Templar Books)

Find teaching notes, author videos and other resources to help explore this year’s shortlisted titles with your pupils here.

Cover images of the four other titles shortlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2023

Logo for Klaus Flugge Prize