Finally, the winners have been announced! After winning the Nienke van Hichtum Prize (best children’s book ages 13 and up) and the Golden Tulip (best non-fiction book), The Mystery of Life has now been awarded both the Golden Pencil (best literary children’s book) and the Golden Paintbrush (best illustrated children’s book). jpgriffelWinning both the Golden Pencil and the Golden Paintbrush is very extraordinary – this has happened only three times before, the last time being in 1984 for Els Pelgrom and Thé Tjong-Khing’s Kleine Sofie en Lange Wapper.


Pencils are the prizes awarded in the Netherlands each year by an independent jury for the best literary children’s books. This summer, Silver Pencils (Griffels) were handed out to nine books in five different categories: ages up to 6, ages 6 to 9, ages 9 and up, non-fiction and poetry. There were Honourable Mentions (Vlag & Wimpels) for twelve books.  Last night, at the Children’s Book Ball – the official opening of the Dutch Children’s Book Week – author Jan Paul Schutten was awarded the coveted Golden Pencil for his self-called ‘magnum opus’ The Mystery of Life. The judges were unanimous in their decision.


From the Golden Pencil Jury Report:


“Jan Paul Schutten has delivered us a rare piece of art: we will have to wait for a long time before another book like this will come along, with such grand ambitions, carried out with such splendour. (…) The way in which Schutten succeeds to captivate his readers in such a difficult matter is a great achievement.”



Paintbrushes are the prizes awarded for the best children’s book illustrations. Seven books received prizes this year. This summer, two illustrators (amongst which Floor Rieder) received a Silver Paintbrush (Penseel) for their work. Two foreign illustrators received a Silver Palette (Palet) for their illustrations, and there were three Honourary Mentions (Vlag & Wimpels). Last week, the Golden Paintbrush was awarded to Floor Rieder for her magnificent drawings in The Mystery of Life during a celebratory gathering in the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum.



From the Golden Paintbrush Jury Report:


“Rieder’s illustrations are of an astonishing combination of qualities. They are elegant, funny, refreshing and informative – all together a rare combination in children’s book illustrations. The Mystery of Life is the ultimate proof of Rieder’s talent – it is a true artwork.”