4,700+ students ages three to eleven voted in the annual reader’s choice award. This year’s shortlists, curated by age group, share the theme “Humor”
New York, June 14, 2022 – The youth have spoken – in English and in French! How to Mash Monsters (Comment Ratatiner les Monstres) by Catherine Leblanc and Roland Garrigue (Insight Editions) and The Worst Book Ever (Le Pire Livre du Monde) by Elise Gravel (Drawn & Quarterly) have been awarded the 2022 Prix Albertine Jeunesse for children’s books available in both French and English.
An annual young readers’ choice award, the Prix Albertine Jeunesse encourages the practice and love of reading in both French and English. This year 4,741 children in the US and Canada, including but not limited to students enrolled in accredited French schools and public bilingual/dual language schools, voted for their favorite book among a shortlist of Francophone youth literature that is also available in English translation. The two winners each approach this year’s theme, “Humor”, with unique creativity, for a reading experience that is equal parts engaging and meaningful.
“It is a joy and honor to connect with so many young readers through the Prix Albertine Jeunesse. These students are the next generation of ambassadors for francophone literature and bilingualism,” said Gaëtan Bruel, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy. “Thank you to all who participated in this year’s prize, and congratulations to the winning authors for their wonderful work.”
About the winners:
3-5 years old: How to Mash Monsters / Comment Ratatiner les Monstres
By Catherine Leblanc and Roland Garrigue (Insight Editions)
Small monsters wish they were little kids, so that they could be bigger and stronger. All medium monsters want is some attention. Big monsters are afraid of their own faces, so to defeat them, show them a mirror. Some monsters will eat anything, including confetti. Shapeless monsters are the hardest to catch because they can slither through anything. There are many kinds of monsters: big ones, small ones, ones who drool, ones who sting, ones who growl . . . but all of them are weaker than they look!
Both 6-8 and 9-11 years old: The Worst Book Ever / Le Pire Livre du Monde
By Elise Gravel (Drawn & Quarterly)
Don’t take the title as a metaphor: it really is the worst book ever. The winner of the Governor General Literary Award and children’s book author and illustrator, Elise Gravel takes readers on an unexpected journey through the world’s most boring book in The Worst Book Ever. The characters and omniscient readers alike quickly become annoyed by the author’s bland imagination and rebel against her tired tropes and stale choices, spouting sass in an attempt to get her attention and steer the narrative in a more interesting direction. After all, you don’t even have to buy the book, but the characters? They’re stuck in there for an eternity, and they’re going to do their best to make the most of it, or at least have a little fun when they can.
The winning selection was announced today at Albertine, the French Embassy’s much-loved bookshop in New York City. To mark the occasion, 80 students who participated in this year’s prize gathered at Albertine for a special zoom call and Q&A with winning author Roland Garrigue. The young readers also participated in prize-themed educational workshops, including monster-drawing, story-writing, origami, and more.
The 2022 shortlist was selected by a committee of experts representing the book and educational departments of Villa Albertine, the Albertine bookstore, the AEFE network of North America (French Agency for Education Abroad). The 2023 Prix Albertine Jeunesse shortlist is now available at albertine.com/prix-albertine-jeunesse-2023. Voting will be open May 1-15, 2023.
The Prix Albertine Jeunesse serves 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 tool to develop links between both languages and encourage bilingualism and multilingualism for all. Educational resources and lesson plans for teachers are made available for free here.
The winners of this year’s prize are all available for purchase on the Albertine website, along with the other nominees.
Albertine is a bookshop that brings to life French-American intellectual exchange. A permanent venue for free events and debates, the space offers more than 14,000 contemporary and classic titles from over 30 French-speaking countries around the world.
About the Cultural Services of the French Embassy
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy, alongside Villa Albertine, promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, digital innovation, language, and higher education across the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the country, the Cultural Services brings artists, authors, intellectuals, and innovators to cities nationwide. It also builds partnerships between French and American artists, institutions and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. In New York, through its bookshop Albertine, it fosters French-American exchange around literature and the arts.
About the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE)
The Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE) is a government institution supervised by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Founded in 1990, it is responsible for monitoring and managing the network of French schools abroad. The AEFE is the guarantor of the French education system abroad. It plays a key role in expanding France’s cultural and linguistic influence throughout the world and serves to boost the appeal of French higher education.