One of the world’s most prestigious children’s literature prize ceremonies took place in Spain Thursday, with Queen Letizia honouring the winners. The Queen spoke about the impact of literature on young people during the event at Madrid’s historic Royal Post Office building, Casa de Correos.
“Thanks to all those who make it possible with your daily work that so many children and young people stop, take a book, read, and think,” she said.
According to Casa Real, “the objective of these awards is to return to society, through the work of the SM Foundation, the benefits of the publishing group; to support authors and illustrators, and to promote the creation of a literature for children and young people that fosters a taste for reading and transmits, with literary quality, human, social, cultural or religious values that help to build a dignified world.”
Queen Letizia was welcomed to the stage by the master of ceremonies, Ainhoa Arbizu, and the winner of the “Gran Angular 2019” Prize was announced. Andrés Guerrero won for the book “Blanco de Tigre.”
The story was described as been chosen by the jury for “being a legendary and magical adventure in which a girl dares to depart from the regulated world to face her freedom and her wild half, a song to nature that is also a story of adventure, love, strength and sacrifice.”
Next, the “El Barco de Vapor” Award was presented to Beatriz Osés for her book, “Los Letter Writers.” The book, which is aimed at readers between 8 and 11-years-old, “tells a fresh and funny story that shows that the good intention of a single person can transform an entire community”.
The Queen gave a speech at the end of the ceremony, touting the benefits of reading. “Ida Vitale told me, our Prize Cervantes, that if she has reached 95, it is because of reading so much,” she said. “Beyond scientific rigour in this example of longevity, lucidity and feminine intelligence, there is no doubt that reading is always beneficial.”
Letizia said that “two stories of brave women are rewarded today. Two women, Duna and Iria, who are not afraid, who decide to take their path and take responsibility for their choice, with criteria and maturity.”
The ceremony comes after Queen Letizia and King Felipe VI presented the Miguel de Cervantes Award for Literature in the Spanish Language earlier this week to the aforementioned Uruguayan writer, Ida Vitale. The royal couple also attended a luncheon on Wednesday for Spanish-speaking literary greats in honour of the Cervantes award.