We're thrilled to announce that Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan has won the Kate Greenaway Medal for 2020.
Author and illustrator Shaun Tan, who is of Australian, Chinese and Malay heritage, is the first illustrator of colour to win the Kate Greenaway Medal. Tales from the Inner City, a collection of 25 illustrated stories, was borne out of Tan’s life-long love of animals and deals with the separation and tension between the natural and artificial world. Tan believes that many of the problems we face today may have something to do with the distance from nature in a post-colonial and post-industrial world, especially within urban spaces. Throughout the book, Tan reminds readers that we are all interconnected with nature.
Shaun Tan said:
'I am surprised, delighted and then deeply honoured – what a wonderful thing to be! I am especially thrilled to receive the Kate Greenaway Medal in the fine company of so many brilliant artists and authors, many of whom inspired my own love of illustrated stories as a young West Australian scribbler.
Tales from the Inner City is a strange book for strange times, suggesting that human frailty might well find expression in dreams of tigers, bears, frogs and lungfish reclaiming our cities. To know that I am not alone in enjoying such speculation – maybe even a bit too much – is no small thing. It is profoundly consoling, to feel part of a larger conversation about our relationship to this planet, particularly with younger readers, in whose imagination the future is already taking shape.'
With relatable stories that show children a range of perspectives and lived experiences, the 2020 Medal winners reflect the Awards’ mission ‘to celebrate and represent a diverse range of experiences'.
Julia Hale, Chair of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals judging panel, commented:
'Every detail of the Kate Greenaway Medal winning Tales from the Inner City mark it as a masterwork of illustration that generates an outstanding experience for the reader in every detail. In a collection of 25 surreal short stories set in a semi-dystopian dreamscape where the boundaries between urban and wildlife are close to collapse, Shaun Tan conveys the tangled, intimate relationship between humans and animals with breath-taking technique and awe-inspiring invention. Double page spreads of oil on canvas give pause for necessary reflection and contemplation. Never have the bonds between us and the beautiful creatures we share the earth with been so exquisitely rendered with such prescience. The judging panel were moved, amused and astonished by the artistry and imagination of a stunning book that should be widely shared and celebrated.'
The Kate Greenaway and the CILIP Carnegie Medals are the UK's oldest book awards for children and young people. The winning books were chosen by 14 volunteer Youth Librarians, from a total of 162 nominations this year, as the very best in children's writing and illustration published in the UK.