After two years, the Second Feng Zikai Chinese Children's Picture Book Award came to the fore. The seven judges engaged in the shortlist assessment come from different countries and regions. They are professors in children's literature and childhood education, experts in picture book, a picture book illustrator, and a picture book editor. For the final assessment, the congregation of the judging panel keeps multiple views of artistic value on the basis of following the picture book's general artistic rhythm. We tried our best to enlist works with varieties in creativity, genre, way of expression, and artistic style.
Entries for the award this year are Chinese children's picture books published between January 2009 and December 2010. The executive committee has received 205 qualified entries. There are 82 works from Mainland China, 99 from Taiwan, and 24 from Hong Kong. After the primary assessment, 46 works are shortlisted.
There are fewer entries this year comparing with entries published over five years last time. Nevertheless, judges are pleased to find the pursuit of art and the awareness of linking to the world's picture books in original Chinese children's picture books remains. Works of better artistic quality are mostly vivid. There are also works with satisfactory artistic presentation, and we look forward to their possibilities in the future. Upon reviewing the entries, judges also find the editors'prerequisite role in the creation and publication of picture books. Our analysis points out that the shortlisted top ten works are mainly published by certain publishers, which probably concerns to their editors'more mature ideas in the making of picture books. As for potential works that fail to present their artistic level, the editors may more or less account for this. Therefore, we believe it is a priority to elevate the quality of picture book editors for the development of original Chinese children's picture books.
Due to the short history of the original Chinese picture book, its lack of experience is transparent. There is a huge gap between the quality of entries and that of works from developed countries. For example, some works are weak in creativity and imagination, thus their illustration lacks the sense of “design” in picture books. The words and images do not have nuanced interactive blank, let alone the synergy in between. Some works should have been refined or deepened. Some works have to put more efforts in the artistic presentation of transforming adults'valuable experience into childlike pleasure, and settle themselves on children's ground.
To make the final review rational, orderly, and efficient, the judging panel this year has made thorough, careful assessment process and regulation, which is strictly abided by. The judges have detailed reading and discussion of the shortlisted works. The profound discussion on the idea of picture books, the rhythm of creation, the aesthetic pleasure, and the reading expectation of entries makes collision, exchange and interaction among judges with different research positions and aesthetic viewpoints. It fully presents the panel's professional level.
The judging panel has shortlisted the top ten entries in the end, from which there are five “Judging Panel's Recommended Awards.” According to the condition of entries and the continual, serious discussions, the judging panel refrains from giving out the best award. All members of the judging panel agree that when there is no work worthy of the honor, the omission of the best award may maintain its artistic level and shield the authority of Feng Zikai Children's Picture Book Award. It appears that there is still room for the artistic improvement in original Chinese children's picture books. We have more and better prospects of the morrow, and heartily wish original Chinese children's picture books a wonderful and splendid future.