The Night Life of Trees
, a book illustrated by tribal artists from India, has been awarded one of the prestigious BolognaRagazzi Awards given to children’s publishers, for 2008. This is the first time a book from India has won the award.
Brought out by Chennai-based Tara Publishing, the book has been chosen in the New Horizons category that is open to children’s publishers from the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Africa.
The BolognaRagazzi Award is promoted by the Bologna Book Fair (Italy), which is the largest children’s book fair in the world. The award will be presented at a special ceremony on March 31. The artists — Ram Singh Urveti, Durga Bai and Bhajju Shyam — belong to the Gond tribe in Madhya Pradesh. Gond art is traditionally painted on mud floors and walls of their houses.
The beautifully crafted book is a fascinating glimpse into the visual imagination of the artists and their beliefs about the Sembur, the Peepul, the Mahua trees and more. The haunting illustrations bring alive the trees on the black handmade paper that make up the pages of the book.
“Trees are of great significance to us. We pray to them and this is why the book,” said Bhopal-based Bhajju Shyam.