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Quotes of the classics

  Drink me! Illustration by John Tenniel, 1865.

So many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.

Lewis Carroll,

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


The ABCXXI - All of Poland Reads to Kids Foundation announced the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Literary Competition for Contemporary Books for Children and Young People in March 2006.

The competition, under the patronage of then-Minister of Culture and National Heritage, Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski, was organized in cooperation with the Swedish Embassy and publishing houses Publicat, Stentor and Świat Książki, with financial support from the PZU Foundation and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

There were 978 works entered in the competition. Under the rules, the works had to be interesting for the child, impart significant content, inculcate rational thinking and principles for proper interpersonal communication, and convey a message of respect for the child, other beings, nature, the country, law, tradition, and the most important human values. The winning works were to help tell good from bad, teach how to resolve problems and conflicts, respect the child's sensitivities, and build up a positive attitude toward the world and other people. All these criteria are met by the works of the best-known writer of children's books, Astrid Lindgren, in whose honor the competition is named.

The panel of judges was chaired by Prof. Joanna Papuzińska, a literary scholar and writer. The other judges included the children's literature critic Dr. Grzegorz Leszczyński, Teresa Marciszuk of Stentor publishers, Monika Mielke of Świat Książki publishers, Anna Sójka-Leszczyńska of Publicat publishers, and, representing the "ABCXXI - All of Poland Reads to Kids" Foundation, Foundation President Irena Koźmińska and Program Director Elżbieta Olszewska.

Works could be entered in the competition in three age categories: for children below age 6, age 6 to 10, and age 10 to 14. In each category the first prize was PLN 15,000, second prize PLN 10,000, and third prize PLN 5,000. Works receiving honorable mention were awarded prizes of PLN 1,000 each. The Grand Prize in the competition was a sculpture of Pippi Longstocking lifting a horse, made by the renowned sculptor Dorota Dziekiewicz-Pilich.

"The most entries, and also the most honorable mentions, were in the category of books for children age 6 to 10," said the chairperson of the judges' panel, Prof. Joanna Papuzińska. "After opening the envelopes and 'decoding' the winning authors" - works were submitted to the jurors identified only by a symbol, not the authors' names - "it turned out that the winners included prominent authors, as well as authors early on in their careers and completely new writers making their literary debuts. That's exactly what the originators of the competition had in mind."

The awards ceremony, combined with a press conference announcing the results of the competition, was held on 23 April 2007 at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. The ceremony featured an address by Swedish Ambassador Tomas Bertelman and reading of a letter marking the occasion from Minister of Culture and National Heritage Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski. The prizes were awarded by the chairperson of the awards panel, Prof. Joanna Papuzińska, and the artistic side of the ceremony featured a performance by the Swedish group Visby Brass from Gotland. The ceremony also served as an occasion to thank the cultural attaché at the Swedish Embassy, Mika Larsson. In honor of her many years of cooperation, she received an "ABCXXI - All of Poland Reads to Kids" Foundation statuette.


The award-winning books were published in the second half of 2007, on the 100th anniversary of Astrid Lindgren's birth. On 30 October 2007 a promotional event devoted to the published books was held at the Akwarium Jazzarium club in Warsaw. The event drew an array of journalists and reviewers of children's books as well as librarians from the Warsaw area. The event featured a speech by the chairperson of the competition judges panel, Prof. Joanna Papuzińska, interviews with the award-winning authors by the popular television journalist Maciej Orłoś, and a recital by one of the winners, Basia Stępniak-Wilk - best-known so far for her outstanding performances of literary and cabaret songs.

In December 2007 one of the award-winning works from the competition, Pozłacana rybka ("The Gilded Fish") by Barbara Kosmowska, was recognized by the Association of Friends of the Book for Young People - the Polish section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) - as the Book of the Year for 2007.

Awards and honorable mentions in the competition

Project implemented with the financial support of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage Website graphic design: Anita Głowińska; webmaster: Inforpol NET