Shaun Tan has become the first non-white person to win the Kate Greenaway medal.
The artist of Australian, Chinese and Malay heritage, was announced as the winner of the Kate Greenaway medal for illustrated children’s books, first established in 1956. Previous winners include Edward Ardizzone, Helen Oxenbury and Raymond Briggs.
Shaun Tan was chosen as winner by a panel of children’s librarians for his illustrated short story book Tales from the Inner City. The book explores the problmeatic relationship between humans and animals in a surreal city setting.
He is the first BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) person to win in the prize’s 64-year history.
Chair of judges Julia Hale said that each detail of Tales from the Inner City confirmed it “as a masterwork of illustration that generates an outstanding experience for the reader” also saying it is “a stunning book that should be widely shared and celebrated”.
She added: “Never have the bonds between us and the beautiful creatures we share the Earth with been so exquisitely rendered.”
Tan called the book “a strange book for strange times” and said he was “surprised, delighted and then deeply honoured” to win and to be “in the fine company of so many brilliant artists and authors, many of whom inspired my own love of illustrated stories as a young Western Australian scribbler”.