First Vietnamese author honored at Yoto Carnegie
For the first time, the Yoto Carnegie Prize was awarded to a Vietnamese artist, as the painter Jeet Zdung won in the illustration category.
Vietnamese painter Jeet Zdung has been awarded the Yoto Carnegie Medal for his illustration of Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear.
Written and inspired by the real life of Vietnamese wildlife conservationist Trang Nguyen, Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear features 120 watercolor paintings produced by Jeet Zdung. The pictures result from a two-month field trip taken into the wild.
|Vietnamese painter Jeet Zdung and the book Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear. Photo: Tran Kim Long/The Hanoi Times
The book follows the journey of Chang, a young girl with big dreams of saving endangered wildlife, and tells the story of animals on the brink of extinction.
Chang's adventure begins when she meets Sorya, a sun bear rescued from poachers by the Bear Rescue Center. After their meeting, she is determined to return Sorya to the wild.
Through their stories, Chang and her new friend Sorya take readers on a journey to discover the beauty of nature and the lives of wild animals.
The chair of the judges, Janet Noble, praised Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear: "A delicately crafted emotional story that contains a valuable perspective on conservation while creating a powerful inspiration from the true story of a young girl (author Trang Nguyen) who has persistently pursued a career in wildlife conservation from a very young age".
|Winning books of the Yoto Carnegies.
Artist Jeet Zdung, whose real name is Nguyen Tien Dung, was born in 1988. He has won awards for his illustrations, and his work was featured at the Cartoon Festival organized by the Wallonia-Bruxelles Delegation in Vietnam in 2012.
According to independent.co.uk, Zdung dreamed of drawing cartoons as a child. The process of creating the book "was a journey to satisfy the child's longing," he said, and he had to create an immersive film on paper with influences from comics and manga.
To create vivid paintings in the book, artist Jeet Zdung did field research in the forests. Going into the field and volunteering at the bear rescue center helped Dzung gain more experience to enrich the characters' lives and bring them closer together.
"We hope the work will help raise public awareness about wildlife conservation by sharing our insights and passion with readers. This is a long and enduring journey. Winning the Carnegie Medal for Best Illustration is a great honor for me. We hope this will have a broader impact and draw the public's attention to the lives of sun bears and wildlife in general," he said.
|Vietnamese and English versions of the book. Photo courtesy of Kim Dong Publishing House
In 2021, the book beat hundreds of works and won Prize A - National Book Award, one of the top book awards in Vietnam. Its copyright has been sold to many countries and territories around the world, such as the UK, USA, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Norway, Turkey, Russia, Sweden, and Japan.
The Carnegie Medal for Writing, established in 1936, is a British literary award recognizing an outstanding new English-language book for children or young adults each year. It is conferred upon the author by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), which calls it "the UK's oldest and most prestigious book award for children's writing".
The Yoto Carnegies celebrate excellence in children's writing and illustration. They are judged by a panel of children's and youth librarians, including 12 from CILIP, the Library, and the Information Association's Youth Libraries Group.
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