Here’s part of the jury’s citation:
Isol creates picturebooks from the eye level of the child. Her pictures vibrate with energy and explosive emotions. With a restrained palette and ever-innovative pictorial solutions, she shifts ingrained perspectives and pushes the boundaries of the picturebook medium. Taking children’s clear view of the world as her starting point, she addresses their questions with forceful artistic expression and offers open answers. With liberating humour and levity, she also deals with the darker aspects of existence.
Isol has created many stunning picture books. Thanks to Canadian publisher Groundwood Books, some of her books are available in English, including the gorgeous It’s Useful to Have a Duck – or, if you unfold it the other way up, its retelling from the Duck’s perspective – It’s Useful to Have a Boy; Petit the Monster; Beautiful Griselda, about a princess who is so beautiful, her suitors literally lose their heads over her…; and, most recently, Nocturne: Dream Recipes, spiral bound and printed in luminous ink to encourage reading under the bed-clothes as a precursor to happy dreams.
Isol is also well-known for her partnership with poet Jorge Luján, though only one of these is available in English – the adorable Doggy Slippers. I first encountered and was captivated by Isol’s work during a poetry presentation at the Bologna Book Fair in 2008, in which Jorge showed a poster poem illustrated by her – the same drawing/poem that is now animated on the front page of his website – and I still love it! Then during the Bologna Book Fair in 2010, we were honored to be invited to the opening of an exhibition for Doggy Slippers, featuring Isol’s original artwork and poems by children from workshops Jorge had been doing in local schools. You can see our photos here (including a “real” pair of slippers… wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could actually buy some like that!).
So, again, many congratulations to Isol, a truly worthy recipient of this year’s ALMA.