Yesterday, out lesbian Jacqueline Woodson, who lives with her partner and kids in Brooklyn, added to her huge list of prizes -- among them, two National Book Awards, three Newbery Awards, three Coretta Scott King Honors, and two major lifetime achievement awards -- a finalist of the Hans Christian Andersen Awards. Chosen from a longlist of fifty-eight writers from thirty-three countries, the six on the shortlist are:
· Ted van Lieshout from the Netherlands. Lieshout uses a dialogue of words and images. With his original and visual writing style he observes the world with a different perspective every time. He is always looking for new styles and techniques to shape both words and pictures.
· Houshang Moradi Kermani from Iran. Kermani has been writing creative humanistic works for children and adults for over four decades. Nature, village, family, and poverty together with self-respect, peace and mutual understanding are the most frequent subjects of his work.
· Mirjam Pressler from Germany. “Without books the world remains a confining place and limits what we can imagine and consider doing,” says Pressler. “We need many different books. Books provide us with perspectives. A certain book can acquire an important, world-changing meaning.”
· Nahoko Uehashi from Japan. Uehashi tells stories that are replete with imagination, culture and the beauty of a sophisticated process and form. Her literary subjects are based on ancient Japanese mythology and science-fiction fantasy that are deeply rooted in human reality.
· Renate Welsh from Austria. Welsh focuses on children’s social reality therefore enabling them to cope with their own lives. Family crisis and social injustice, illnesses, social exclusion, violence at home and at school, isolation and identity conflicts are depicted with remarkable honesty.
· Jacqueline Woodson from the USA. Woodson often features African-American characters in her books because she feels strongly that children need to see themselves reflected in books. Each book she writes is a new experience, a way to learn something new or engage with a different subject that matters to her.