IBBY Canada Cleaver Picture Book Award to illustrator Isabelle Arsenault

IBBY Canada is pleased to announce that illustrator Isabelle Arsenault is the winner of the IBBY Canada Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award for Virginia Wolf, written by Kyo Maclear (Kids Can Press, 2012). Virginia Wolf is loosely based on the writer Virginia Woolf (who suffered from depression) and her sister the painter Vanessa Bell. 

The Cleaver Award was presented to Isabelle Arsenault on Wednesday, April 24 at 12:45, at the Père Ambroise Library, 2093 rue de la Visitation, 3rd floor, in Montreal.

Isabelle Arsenault’s first illustrated children’s book received the Governor General’s Award in 2004. She has illustrated many children’s books since then, and received her second Governor General’s Award in 2012 for Virginia Wolf. Isabelle lives and works in Montreal.

The Cleaver Award jury was made up of Lina Gordaneer, a Montreal librarian; Melanie Fishbane, Online Merchandiser and Editor for Kids and Teen books at Indigo Books and MFA candidate at the Vermont College of Fine Arts Writing for Children’s and Young Adults program; and Susane Duchesne, IBBY Canada President and Responsable du secteur jeunesse, Librairie Monet. The jury’s comments on Virginia Wolf:

“An un-precious treatment of depression that never diminishes its poignancy. Isabelle Arsenault’s illustrations illuminate the story. She begins with a touch of red and blue here and there. Then the sadness, embodied in blacks and greys that encroach on the page in a messy cloud, surrounds and engulfs Virginia as she becomes a dark shadow of herself. When Virginia starts painting and as the spirit changes, more colours begin to subtly appear as the darkness recedes. Arsenault reminds Virginia and the readers that the world is full of beauty.”

The IBBY Canada Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award, established in 1985, honours one of Canada’s pre-eminent book illustrators. Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver left funds in her will to annually recognize outstanding artistic talent in Canadian picture books; the winner receives $1,000.

IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People (www.ibby.org), founded in 1953, represents an international network of people committed to bringing books and children together. IBBY Canada is one of over 70 national sections worldwide. IBBY Canada is a volunteer organization promoting quality French and English Canadian children’s literature nationally and internationally. For more information, please visit www.ibby-canada.org.