By Villa Albertine
11,500 students across the US and Canada—a new record—participated in Villa Albertine’s annual reader’s choice award for the best French children’s book in English translation
New York, June 6th, 2023 — Congratulations and félicitations to the winners of the 2023 Prix Albertine Jeunesse! Villa Albertine announced the four selected titles at a ceremony today in its Fifth Avenue headquarters, under the tight supervision of 70 young voters. The announcement was followed by a special day of story-telling and crafting for the students, with a surprise visit from winning author Richard Marnier, who flew in from France for the occasion.
The winners are: Who Left the Light On? (La lumière allumée) by Aude Maurel and Richard Marnier, translated by Emma Ramadan, 365 Penguins (365 pingouins) by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joëlle Jolivet, Jefferson (Jefferson) by Jean-Claude Mourlevat, translated by Ros Schwartz, and The Last Giants (Les derniers géants) by François Place, translated by William Rodarmor. Each book approaches this year’s theme, ‘Coexisting’, with a unique literary and artistic perspective, delivering a particularly fun and educational reading experience.
The annual Prix Albertine Jeunesse encourages a love of reading in both French and English. This year a record 11,500 children in the US and Canada participated, engaging with a shortlist of youth literature written in French and available in English translation. Young voters judged the quality of each book in both languages.
The 2023 shortlist was selected by a committee of experts representing the book and educational departments of Villa Albertine, Albertine Books, and representatives of the AEFE network of North America (a network of French schools). The 2024 Prix Albertine Jeunesse shortlist will be available at the end of this month on the Albertine website. School classes may register for next year’s Prize in September 2023.
A network of 70 accredited French schools and public bilingual/dual language schools in North America have integrated the Prix Albertine Jeunesse books into their curriculum, as a tool to develop links between both languages and encourage bilingualism and multilingualism for all. Educational resources and lesson plans for teachers are made available for free here.
The winners of this year’s prize are available for purchase on the Albertine website, alongside all the nominees.
About the winners:
3-5 years old: Who Left the Light On? / La lumière allumée
by Aude Maurel and Richard Marnier, translated by Emma Ramadan
In a town where everyone follows the rules, one neighbor’s decision to leave the light on at night completely disrupts the neighborhood, sparking a creative revolution. Vibrant, poetic, and fun, Who Left the Light On? playfully teaches the powerful lesson that diversity, creativity, and individuality should be celebrated.
6-8 years old: 365 Penguins / 365 pingouins
by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joëlle Jolivet
A family finds a penguin mysteriously delivered to their door every day for a year. At first they’re cute, but with every passing day, the penguins pile up—along with the family’s problems. Feeding, cleaning, and housing the penguins becomes a monumental task. They’re noisy and smelly, and they always hog the bathroom! And who on earth is sending these kwak-ing critters? Bright, striking illustrations with lots of opportunity for counting (and lots of laughs), 365 Penguins has become a perennial wintertime favorite since it first came out in 2006.
9-11 years old: Jefferson / Jefferson
by Jean-Claude Mourlevat, translated by Ros Schwartz
When Jefferson the hedgehog goes to his hairdresser’s, he’s shocked to discover the barber lying dead on the floor. Falsely accused of murder, Jefferson must go on the run with his best friend Gilbert the pig to uncover the real killers. Adventure, dark secrets and a most unlikely series of hair-raising events await Jefferson and his fellow animals as they travel into the Land of the Humans…
12-14 years old: The Last Giants / Les Derniers Géants
by François Place, translated by William Rodarmor
After finding a huge tooth on the docks, English explorer Archibald Leopold Ruthmore sets out to seek the race of giants to whom the tooth belongs and discovers nine giants, the survivors of a singularly gentle and kindly race. He lives among them for ten months, and on returning home he makes a mistake that he regrets forever – he writes a book revealing their existence and location.
Albertine is a bookshop that brings to life French-American intellectual exchange. A permanent venue for free events and debates, the space offers more than 14,000 contemporary and classic titles from over 30 French-speaking countries around the world.
Agence pour l’enseignement français à l’étranger (AEFE)
The Agence pour l’enseignement français à l’étranger (AEFE) is a government institution supervised by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Founded in 1990, it is responsible for monitoring and managing the network of French schools abroad. The AEFE is the guarantor of the French education system abroad. It plays a key role in expanding France’s cultural and linguistic influence throughout the world and serves to boost the appeal of French higher education.