Massive congrats to Rachel Wada who has won the 2020 Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award for The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota’s Garden, written by Heather Smith and published by Orca Book Publishers! IBBY Canada’s Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award, established in 1985, honours one of Canada’s pre-eminent book illustrators. IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People is a network of organizations in 79 countries committed to bringing books and children together. IBBY Canada, started in 1980, is a volunteer organization promoting quality Canadian children’s literature nationally and internationally.

In selecting The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota’s Garden as the winner, the jury commented:

“Wada beautifully illustrates the power and horror of a tsunami, the grieving process and the power of love and memory to aid in the healing process. Rachel Wada has beautifully illustrated a story of devastation, resilience and hope using several techniques inspired by Japanese printmaking. She uses heavy strokes of black ink to depict the raging sea and its big twirling destructive waves. Pages are well paced with calm horizontal vistas, quiet interior shots, dramatic seascapes followed by delicate blooming cherry blossoms and soft reeds reminiscent of painted Japanese fans.”

Rachel Wada’s work is defined by heavy texture, bold color and intricate details that capture the nuances of people, places and ideas, real and surreal. Rachel’s identity as Japanese-Cantonese, an immigrant and a woman informs her artistic practice. She loves to put her own spin on traditional techniques, motifs and symbolism inspired by her cultural background. This duality of old and new is also apparent in her use of both traditional and digital mediums, and she draws inspiration from a variety of sources, from Japanese woodblock prints, Chinese pottery and ceramics, food packaging design to traditional folk art. She has a special love for the ocean, tea and noodles of all kinds. Rachel is represented by Amy Tompkins.

To see the full list of honorees, please visit: