Children’s author Eiko Kadono has won the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award for writing.
An official of the Switzerland-based International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) informed Kadono, 83, on Monday that she had won the award.
Kadono, known for “Majo no Takkyubin” (“Kiki’s Delivery Service”), about a young witch in training, is the third Japanese to win the writer’s award, after Michio Mado in 1994 and Nahoko Uehashi in 2014.
The Hans Christian Andersen Awards, named after the famed 19th-century Danish children’s author, are presented every other year to an author and an illustrator whose “complete works have made an important, lasting contribution to children’s literature,” according to the IBBY.
The author’s award is often called the Nobel Prize for children’s literature.
The illustrator award for 2018 will be given to Russia’s Igor Oleynikov.
Kadono started to write fairy tales and children’s books after working for a publishing company.
“Majo no Takkyubin” was made into an animated movie by renowned director Hayao Miyazaki. A live-action film was also produced.
Kadono’s books are “always surprising, engaging and empowering,” and her female characters are “singularly self-determining and enterprising,” the IBBY said.
The language in her picture books is “notable for its playfulness and use of onomatopoeia,” the organization said. “The beautiful but simple language in her novels makes them extremely readable.”