Decision made: German Children's Book Prize 2023: The winners and runners-up

Bookworms are a dying species.

Decision made: German Children's Book Prize 2023: The winners and runners-up

Bookworms are a dying species. And things look bleak for the future too. According to the international primary school reading survey (Igloo) from 2023, one in four primary school students has problems with reading. Accordingly, there is less and less reading aloud in children's rooms in this country. The bedtime story is increasingly left on the shelf. The stories are more colorful, exciting and imaginative than ever for bookworms big and small. In 2022, Stephanie Schneider and Stefanie Scharnberg won the German Children's Book Prize with the title "Grimm and Möhrchen".

For the German Children's Book Prize 2023, a jury selected ten titles, which then had to face the expert eyes of 32 children from all over Germany. The prize totaling 100,000 euros was donated for the finalists by Jasmin Schröter, owner of the Zeitfracht Group. She launched this prize in 2021. The winners were announced on October 14th in the Nuremberg Tafelhalle. In her speech, Schröter particularly praised the creative ideas of the authors and illustrators. "I am very impressed by the imagination of the authors and their ability to convey important messages about friendship, cohesion or the importance of dreams or imagination in a way that is both child-friendly and powerful."

And here are the three winners who impressed both adults and children the most this year:

For many children, a holiday on the farm is the best holiday fun ever. But the city children Alban and Pippa have absolutely no desire for country life. And they don't like animals either. There must be something to be done, thinks little Karl and gives the two of them a little help. But the well-intentioned batch of stink bugs and the pot-bellied pig Umberto only get her into trouble with her mother. How can Karlchen take away her guests' fear of animals? A fun and beautifully illustrated reading adventure for children ages 5 and up. The book is available here.

Because mom and dad often argue at home, nine-year-old Emma moves out. Your new home is a cherry tree. One day she receives a visit from Mrs. Honig. Together the two think about what to do with arguing parents. Sabine Bohlmann's book is intended to give first-time readers a lot of fun browsing. The children are always rewarded with small stickers and wonderful illustrations. It's about a topic that many children know from their own four walls. Here's the book.

ABC shooters know how exciting the first day of school can be. Things are even more chaotic in director Lernegern's zoo school. Skottie accidentally ends up in penguin class. On school day, the little gorilla boy Gonzo loses sight of his excited parents in the hustle and bustle. And in general, a lot goes wrong in Jochen Till's famous zoo school. Will Gonzo's parents show up again? And what is there to eat in the zoo canteen? Questions upon questions in an animal-comic reading book for first graders and their parents. Here's the book.

These titles made it onto the shortlist, i.e. among the ten finalists:

Toys that are passed down through generations are now a rarity. Which child today still takes care of the worn-out teddy bear that great-grandmother held in her arms every night 80 years ago? Things are different with Alfred, the wooden elephant. In 2022, the same Alfred will celebrate his 90th birthday. In nine decades, the colorfully painted wooden board with a trunk and ears has experienced many adventures, survived two world wars and brought a smile to the faces of many children. This is how the anniversary in Kristina Heldmann's picture book becomes a colorful children's party. Here's the book.

Ghosts are wrapped in white sheets and scare little children? What a crap. Huuu-Berta prefers to wear colorful clothes and scaring people is not her thing at all. That's why she is the smallest in her family. It's just stupid that Huuu-Berta still has a gap right there in her ghost ID card. So she has to surpass herself. Colorful illustrations, ghost recipes and stick-on stickers make "Huuu Berta - The Littlest Ghost of All" by Annette Laugen an ideal book to fall asleep and read for the first time. Here's the book.

After "Metti Meerschwein", Madlen Ottenschläger and Stefanie Reich send the camper van Otto on an exciting holiday trip to Sweden in their new book. The children Juli and Gusti go on board with their parents, dog Anni and countless cuddly toys. No problem for jack-of-all-trades Otto, who also acts as a storyteller in Bullerbü to comfort little Juli. Otto and his guests experience an unforgettable summer holiday between cinnamon rolls, mysterious trolls and blueberry bushes. The book is available here.

There should be many more who love reading like little Valerie. With her dog Sunday, the girl devours one story after another in her favorite books. During a reading night, Valerie meets the cuddly but somewhat clumsy book girl. He's actually supposed to make sure that the book characters stay where they are, namely in the books. But two fairy-tale characters escape him - and Valerie is off on a fantastic adventure with her new friend. Double the fun for reading aloud and for the first reading exercises. Here's the book.

Wildlife biologist Sophia Kimmig is sending a wild city safari to take part in in the race for the German Children's Book Prize 2023. In her nature hands-on book, young and old get to know the wilderness on their doorstep. How many wing beats does a bumblebee manage in one second? What's on the menu at bats? Small puzzle games, stickers and surprising building instructions are sure to make many children's hearts beat faster. Here's the book.

Wilma's world is wild and bustling. The happy and fidgety girl stumbles through life full of good spirits. She tackles small and large adventures, spoons green Jell-O and whizzes around with her cat Watson. 32 colorful pages with imaginative rhymes and great drawings. A festival for bookworms and those who want to become one. In an extra, teacher and podcaster Saskia Niechzial gives parents a few little everyday tips. The book is available here.

Kilian Leypold focuses on one of the saddest topics of our time in his new book. The siblings Zari and Nivaan have to leave their homeland headlong and try to find a new one with their uncle. Like millions of people around the world, they are embarking on the most dangerous journey of their lives. "The Story of an Escape" is a sophisticated and at the same time courageous children's book about the loss of one's homeland and the departure into a new life with an uncertain outcome. Nice: In a dictionary appendix, some terms are translated into different languages ​​of war-torn countries. Here's the book.

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