The selected titles provide summer reading fodder for children and parents seeking educational entertainment during the restricted COVID-19 reopening period across the U.S.
New York, June 25, 2020 – The Cultural Services of the French Embassy is pleased to announce the winners of its annual Prix Albertine Jeunesse, a reader’s choice award for children ages 3 to 14 years who chose their favorite book from a selection of works of Francophone youth literature available in English. Nearly 2000 students enrolled in accredited French schools and public bilingual/dual language schools in North America voted for stories centered on the theme of “Growing Up”. From a wolf who learns how to control its emotions to a little girl forced to grow up too fast during the Holocaust, this year’s laureates feature characters that tackle both universal and historically significant topics that push young readers to reflect while preparing them for the adult world.
The four laureates of this year’s Albertine Prix Jeunesse, with one per age group, are as follows:
- 3-5 years old: The Wolf Who Learned Self-Control | Le Loup qui Apprivoisait Ses Emotions by Orianne Lallemand & Eleonore Thuillier (Auzou, 2018)
Wolf lives in a beautiful forest with all his animal friends. He has just one problem: he’s way too emotional! Happy, sad, angry, excited… his mood changes like the wind. Luckily, Wolf’s friends have a plan to help him master his emotions and get his life back on track. But how exactly will this work out?
- 6-8 years old: My Dad at the Zoo | Mon Papa au Zoo by Coralie Saudo & Kris Di Giacomo (Frimousse, 2015)
In My Dad at the Zoo, Coralie Saudo subverts the traditional family dynamic and puts the kid in charge. During a trip to the zoo, Dad starts acting like a baby: he throws tantrums for no reason, whines, and impatiently drags his son from exhibit to exhibit. It’s up to his son to save the day and get Dad’s excitement under control.
- 9-11 years old: Hidden | L’enfant Cachée by Loïc Dauvillier & Marc Lizano (Le Lombard, 2012)
In this heartwarming graphic novel, Grandma Dounia tells her granddaughter the story that has remained secret for so long. As a young Jewish girl in Paris, Dounia was hidden from the Nazis by friends who risked their lives to protect her after her parents were sent away to concentration camps. Now, she must tell her granddaughter about her painful childhood: the roundup, the betrayals, and the yellow star she was forced to wear.
- 12-14 years old: Through A Life | À travers by Tom Haugomat (Thierry Magnier, 2018)
All his life, Rodney has dreamed of becoming an astronaut. In À Travers, Tom Haugomat follows Rodney’s journey to outer space, from childhood to death. The graphic novel encourages readers to look at life from unexpected perspectives—through keyholes, magnifying glasses, windows, and screens—and to find beauty in our everyday lives here on Earth.
“We want to congratulate the winners of this year Prix Albertine Jeunesse. Not only does this unique prize nurture a love of reading in children, but it also highlights the talent of French writers and illustrators who tell beautiful, universal stories, now accessible in both languages. In the current context, we are proud to be able to provide such great resources to children, teachers and parents alike, and promote the bilingual curriculum which is at the cornerstone of the Cultural Services’ mission” says Gaëtan Bruel, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the US.
Aimed at fostering a love of reading among both French- and English-speaking children, the Prix Albertine Jeunesse has served as a resource for school children and teachers across the United States and Canada. A network of 70 accredited French schools and public bilingual/dual language schools in North America have integrated the selected books into their curriculum, as a means for developing links between both languages and encouraging bilingualism and multilingualism for all. Educational resources and lesson plans for teachers are made available for free here. The four winning titles were selected by young readers from an initial shortlist of 10 titles chosen by a committee including booksellers at Albertine Books in New York City, the AEFE (French Agency for Education Abroad) network of North America, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S., and the French Embassy in Canada.
The winners of this year’s prize are all available for purchase on the Albertine website, along with the other nominees.