HÀ NỘI – The Vietnam News Agency’s Thể Thao & Văn Hóa (Sports & Culture) daily have announced the five winners of the Dế Mèn (Cricket) awards.
The awards ceremony was held to celebrate the International Children’s Day (June 1) in Hà Nội.
The winning works are: Cơ Bản Là Cơ Bản (Basic is Basic), Biệt Đội Thám Tử (Detective Team), Emma Thảm Họa (Disaster Emma), Đu Đưa Trên Ngọn Cây Bàng (Swing on Indian Almond’s Branch), and a short story collection and picture book Chiếc Dép Thất Lạc (The Lost Sandal).
The annual non-profit awards were launched in 2020 to honour the best works by and for children.
The award title is taken from the main character in Dế Mèn Phiêu Lưu Ký (Diary of a Cricket) by Tô Hoài, one of the most well-known Vietnamese children’s books.
The awards include one grand prize called Hiệp Sĩ Dế Mèn (Cricket Knight) and five others called Khát Vọng Dế Mèn (Cricket Desire).
The Hiệp Sĩ Dế Mèn award was not given out this year as no entry met the criteria. The 90 entries included poetry, animation films, novels and short and long stories.
“All the shortlisted entries deserve to be recognised and celebrated,” said Ngô Văn Giá, PhD in literature, one of the jurors.
“The works are easy-to-read stories written exclusively for children and capture a child’s point of view. They also make adult readers think.”
The award-winning long story Cơ Bản Là Cơ Bản is written by Phạm Huy Thông, who wrote the story while self-quarantining.
Nguyễn Hoàng Diệu Thủy won the award for Đu Đưa Trên Ngọn Cây Bàng. She is a veteran editor and has just begun to write. Last year, her first work was in shortlist for the Dế Mèn Awards.
Belgian writer Geralda De Vos and Swedish illustrator Sofia Holt are the first foreign winners with their bilingual picture book Chiếc Dép Thất Lạc. They are living and working in Việt Nam. The book was translated into Vietnamese by Kim Ngọc and published by the Kim Đồng Publishing House.
The author of the two long stories Biệt Đội Thám Tử (Detective Team) and Emma Thảm Họa (Disaster Emma) is Quyen Gavoye. She is a heritage expert living in France. The stories are set in France but the author is skilful in popularising Vietnamese culture.
Quyen Gavoye said: “I wrote these two works with the wish of providing children a pleasant and happy time when reading. Through witty and funny stories, I would like to help them build up their dreams and enrich their knowledge of daily life.”
Her books have won favour with a wide range of readers, which is a great inspiration for other authors to create quality and valuable works for children.
Meanwhile, Belgian writer Geralda and Swedish illustrator Sofia Holt said they were “super happy” and “super honoured” to receive the award.
Sofia, who spoke from Sweden, said that all the illustrations in the book were drawn from her experiences and fascination with the beautiful country of Việt Nam.
A short stories collection earned Nguyễn Vũ An Băng the award. She is nine years old from the Quỳnh Lôi Primary School in Hai Bà Trưng District, Hà Nội. She becomes the youngest winner of the award.
“Children at present are talented,” said Trần Đăng Khoa, vice president of Việt Nam Writers Association and chairman of the jury panel.
“Some of them are talented in music or science, but not in literature. We need to promote and encourage children to write because they will build and develop contemporary literature in the future.” – VNS