Argentine illustrator wins child literature prize

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Argentine illustrator and writer Marisol Misenta, better known as Isol, won the 5 million kronor ($780,000) Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for children's literature on Tuesday for picture books that "vibrate with energy and explosive emotions," the prize jury said.

Isol has written and illustrated 10 children's books, starting with her 1997 debut "Vida de Perros" ("A Dog's Life"). She has also illustrated works by other authors, including Argentine poet Jorge Lujan and U.S. novelist Paul Auster.

Her illustrations have the feel of a child's drawings, which she says reflects her desire to show readers that it's OK to break the rules.

"The idea is to do something both artistic and fun, which breaks a bit from what's expected," she told The Associated Press. "I like playing with words, and surprising people. The fact is that any truly artistic work has this quality. I want my books to be fun for children and for adults, too."

The annual award — the world's largest for children's literature — is named after the late Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, creator of the Pippi Longstocking book series.

Isol's work is "humorous with surprising twists, occasionally philosophical and always subtle," the prize committee said. "Isol is on the children's side, seeing the world through their eyes and exposing the absurdities of the adult world."

Isol told AP she's been able to make a living for about four years on the income from her books, but couldn't imagine what she would do with the prize money.

"I've never had a strategy based on earning money," she said. "I never count on things before having them. Only now can I begin to think about what to do."

The award will presented at a ceremony in Stockholm on May 27.


AP writer Michael Warren in Buenos Aires contributed to this report.