Archive for the ‘Isol’ Category

Graphic design meet experimental music in Novela Grafica

June 12, 2014

SIMA is a project created by 2013 ALMA laureate Isol and her brother Zypce, who along with Nicolás Cecinini and Pablo  Chimenti  present a set of songs where poetic lyrics and simple melodies coexist with the experimentation of new sonorities and musical structures. The project is described like this:

Novela Gráfica is the successor  of SIMA (2008 ) , the group’s debut album. It will be jointly published by Noseso Records and Moebius as a book/object / cd in a limited edition that includes works by 11 international artists who illustrated comics as they where videos of  the 11 songs on the album. The edition features Laura Varsky graphic design and art cover and interiors work of Liliana Porter.

The album / graphic object will be manufactured at the end of July and will be exclusive presale on a platform Ideame , cheaper than it will have on live concerts and distribution points promo price.

The backers that accomplish the advance purchase will participate in a private event where they will receive their copy of Novela Grafica,  and according the combo that you pick to collaborate you  could get tickets with special locations for the official presentation of the album of August 14 th at  ND / Ateneo. In the foyer of this beautiful theater, originals and reproductions of cover art  will be exhibited , PLUS some of the authors and guest artists will participate in a illustration jam with live sonic improvisations by Sergio Merce, on his microtonal sax.

Isol in Lillehammer

May 23, 2014

A few shoots from the Norwegian Festival of Literature, which is going on right now (until May 25) in Lillehammer. Among the guests are Isol and ALMA jury member Ulla Rhedin.

Photo: Isol

Photo: Isol

On Wednesday, Isol had a public conversation with illustrator Per Dybvig. Photo: Isol

On Wednesday, Isol had a public conversation with illustrator Per Dybvig. Photo: Isol


Working with Nocturno! Photo: Isol

Working with Nocturno! Photo: Isol


Ulla Rhedin about the new reading guides on books by Isol

February 10, 2014
Ulla Rhedin and Isol during the Award week in Stockholm, May 2013. Photo: Stefan Tell

Ulla Rhedin and Isol during the Award week in Stockholm, May 2013. Photo: Stefan Tell

Today, new reading guides on books by this year’s laureate Isol are published on ALMA:s web; It’s Useful to Have a Duck, Nocturne – Dream Recipes and Petit, the Monster. The reading guides are written by jury member Ulla Rhedin, PhD in Comparative Literature and picture books specialist.

Why should people read the reading guides? What is it that you want readers to reflect on?

For an adult, reading a book together with a child is like arranging to meet up in an unknown world. Each time, the child and I are setting out on a walk together that will change us both simultaneously and build shared memories that transcend all age differences.

My idea with the reading guides is that they should serve as introductions to the author’s work and provide some background information on the picture book in question: for instance, by describing how the author’s narrative techniques, in both words and pictures, have evolved and varied over the course of the author’s career. As the author of a reading guide, I take on the task of trying to stimulate adult curiosity about and interest in the book I am introducing; of “opening up” the book to someone who is going to share it with others; of bringing to bear the judgement that I hope I have developed in the course of the “10,000 hours” I have devoted over the years to studying, researching and teaching others about picture books.

One possible approach is to pose questions to the adult reader about particular aspects, to provide gateways to different interpretations or point out specific aspects that less familiar readers might not discover with ease. Ultimately this is a matter of “hermeneutics”, of setting in motion an interpretive process that may open unimagined doors to the work, the contemporary world and the reader’s own soul. This is what I regard as the essential element in literary or “aesthetic” reading to children.

Another possible approach is to suggest how the adult can open up the book to the child. In this case, it is more about methodology and educational theory, and about having a purpose other than the actual reading experience: for instance, using the book as an aid in opening up the world to the child. Here, it is a matter of “efferent” reading, of “taking away” information from reading the book.

House of Culture in Stockholm. Ulla Rhedin and Isol. Photo: Stefan Tell.

House of Culture in Stockholm. Ulla Rhedin and Isol. Photo: Stefan Tell.

You write that readers of all ages may find It’s Useful to Have a Duck amusing. What do you mean by that?

At first sight, It’s Useful to Have a Duck looks as if it’s intended to be “baby’s first book”. With its fun accordion-style format and hard-wearing board, it is a book with many playful aspects. The game of “let’s read a book” between adult and child is just one example. You can build things with the book and reshape it a little if you wish. But what’s really special about this book – and Isol’s books in general – is that it contains something surprising, an unexpected turn or twist that intensifies the reading experience and enriches your relationship with the book the more you read it. Isol often uses a double perspective, which may be in the language, as it is here, or in the pictures, as in Petit, the Monster, where outlines, colours and shadows tell an expanded story. The skilful way that Isol handles these subtexts allows her books to be read on multiple levels. The child is constantly discovering something new, while the adult is rewarded on a perhaps more profound psychological level.

What makes Isol’s artistry so unique, in your opinion?

Isol’s artistry is unique in that she seems to constantly be in process, to be investigating new ways to tell stories through picture books. What’s also unique is her ability to reflect on what she does – ambitions and achievements alike. This combination of theoretical and artistic awareness makes her unusually fascinating to follow.

Link to Reading Guide on It’s Useful to Have a Duck and Nocturne – Dream Recipes.

Link to Reading Guide on Petit, the Monster.

Interview with Isol in N22

December 17, 2013

Irma Gallo, reporter at Mexican culture channel N22, interviewed Isol during her participation at FIL Guadalajara.

Success for Isol in Mexico City

November 29, 2013


Before going to the international book fair in Guadalajara, the award office and Isol spent two days in Mexico City to meet media and to lead workshops with children.

The first day consisted of interviews with newspapers and Tv channels in the morning at the book shop la libreria Rosario Castellanos, owned by Fundo de Cultura Economica. This was followed by a public program, which turned out to be a huge success.

Isol started out in the auditorium (attended by approx. 150 people) by reading some of her books and showing images from books like Cosas Que Pasan, Numeralia and Nocturne. This was followed by a workshop for children, with paper on the floor where the children were invited to draw their dreams (lots of adults participated as well). Then Isol signed books – for four hours! Guess if the queue was long…


The characters from Isol's Vida de Perros.

The characters from Isol’s Vida de Perros.


Children drawing their dreams.

Children drawing their dreams.




Look at the queue!

Look at the queue!


All photos are taken by Helen Sigeland.

The Picture Book Art of Isol

November 26, 2013
Photo: Stefan Tell

Photo: Stefan Tell

Journalist Leonard S. Marcus writes about Isol in the latest edition of the American The Horn Book Magazine:

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in children’s and young adult literature was presented this year to a writer/illustrator whose work is just becoming known in the United States, the Argentinian picture book artist Marisol Misenta, or Isol.

The Lindgren prize, or ALMA, was established in 2002 to honor the memory of the author of Pippi Longstocking and recognize the achievements of writers, illustrators, and others working in her spirit on behalf of children. Funded by the Swedish government, ALMA is administered by the Swedish Arts Council, which appoints a standing committee of twelve jurors to choose winners from a roster of nominees submitted by some four hundred accredited organizations from around the world. With a cash purse worth close to one million dollars, ALMA inevitably prompts comparisons to the Nobel Prize in Literature (notwithstanding the Hans Christian Andersen Award’s prior claim to being the juvenile book world’s counterpart to that loftiest of honors). According to Larry Lempert, director of Stockholm’s International Library and chair of the ALMA selection committee, “In Sweden, many people wonder why Astrid Lindgren did not win the Nobel Prize.” Memorializing Lindgren in such grand style by naming an award after her has perhaps proven to be the next best thing.

Two of the children’s book world’s iconic figures, Maurice Sendak and Austrian writer Christine Nöstlinger, shared the inaugural 2003 award. Subsequent laureates have included artists and writers from four continents, some of whom (Katherine Paterson, Philip Pullman, Shaun Tan) were already household names to American readers, while others (the Brazilian fiction writer Lygia Bojunga, for instance) were not. ALMA jurors have twice given their nod to institutions rather than individuals, awarding the 2007 prize to the Venezuelan literacy organization Banco del Libro and the 2009 ALMA to the Tamer Institute for Community Education in Ramallah, Palestine.

Isol, who was born in 1972 in Buenos Aires, is the illustrator of over twenty-five books, eleven of which she also wrote. She has worked as a commercial artist and editorial cartoonist and maintains a flourishing second career as a singer and recording artist of both pop and classical music. Her picture books have been published in twenty countries. At present, five are available in English, all from Canada’s Groundwood Books. She is the first ALMA winner not to have had any books in print in Swedish at the time of the announcement this past March, though by the day of the award ceremony two months later, that situation had been rectified.

The two most celebrated Argentinian writers of the twentieth century — Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar — share with Isol what the artist, in a conversation I had with her in Stockholm this May, spoke of as an Argentinian obsession with the role of chance in every aspect of life. Borges’s great short story “The Library of Babel” envisions a universe stocked with books generated from every possible letter and word combination — wisdom and nonsense shelved side-by-side in no discernible order. Cortázar’s best-known novel, Hopscotch, unfolds along multiple narrative pathways from which readers are free to choose, each one leading to a different ending. For Isol, childhood is itself just such a labyrinth. In her open-ended, slyly playful picture books, she presents young readers with a distilled version of the chaos they confront daily, the better to prepare them to live in a world largely woven from riddles.

Full interview available here.

Workshop at the Frölunda Cultural Centre

October 9, 2013

Henry 2

— Aaah!

There is a murmur through the room. The lights have just been turned off and a new image emerges, glows from the book that lies in front of 22 eight-year-olds. This year’s laureate of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, Isol, is showing illustrations and talking about her books. She has just demonstrated how the children can unleash their imagination and create fun and unexpected things with drawings.

She asks the children to suggest a number that she then draws on a whiteboard. And she draws another one. And another. Isol twists and turns the numbers without any apparent order. And suddenly, the numbers have become a funny figure! With pen and paper, scissors and crayons, anything is possible.

Henry 3

The children in the primary school Flatåsskolan in Gothenburg have already read Petit, the Monster and Numeralia and talked about Isol, Astrid Lindgren and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. And now she actually stands here, in front of the children, at the Frölunda Cultural Centre. The children live nearby, in a suburb of Gothenburg, but many of them have roots far away in other parts of the world.

— My mother is from Brazil, one boy says.

Isol speaks English with the children and many of them answer her with a good command of English. Sometimes she speaks Spanish and then America Vera-Zavala translates.

Isol shows images from her latest book, Nocturne – Dream Recipes, to be published in Swedish in January 2014. Copies of the book are handed out to the children and they start working in pairs. On every page of the book there is a plain ink drawing. Then the light in the roof is turned off and each book is illuminated by a desk lamp or a flashlight. The excitement trembles in the air. The children count to 30. Then all lights are turned off.

Henry 5

— Aaah!

Now another fantastic image appears, that glows greenish yellow in the dark. An image of a dream!

— Now you shall make your own dreams, Isol says. Draw what you like.

Paper, pencils and crayons are distributed. Hearts, houses, lightning, cars and exciting shapes are emerging. The children cut them out and put the pictures on the last page, which is white and empty.

Then all the lights are turned on over the books.

— This time we count to 50, Isol says.

The “aaah” is more overwhelming this time. The children quiver with joy to see the results of their own creations. And then the illustrations slowly fade away.

Henry 6

They immediately start with their next picture. They draw, change and start all over again. They put pens and scissors in patterns and are surprised by the results. Finally, the lesson is over. The children want to continue and are disappointed when they are told to finish, but soon forget the disappointment when librarian Anna Carin Svedstam at Frölunda Library inform them that they are actually allowed to bring the books home.

While the teachers prepare the children to leave, the queue of children in front of Isol is growing. Everyone wants an autograph. And everyone wants to give her a hug …

Henry Ascher, member of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury

Isol receives honour from City of Buenos Aires

October 4, 2013


Isol has been honoured by her home town Buenos Aires for her prominent cultural achievements.  In a comment, initiator and member Rafael Gentili says he wants more recognition for illustrators and musicians, and also an improvement of their rights. A ceremony will be held next Tuesday in the town hall.

Congratulations, Isol!

Videos now on the ALMA web

October 2, 2013
Isol in ALMA's and Swedish Arts Council's stand at the Göteborg Book Fair. Photo: Johan Scherwin

Isol in ALMA’s and Swedish Arts Council’s stand at the Göteborg Book Fair. Photo: Johan Scherwin

Did you miss the live broadcasts from Göteborg Book Fair last week? Now Isol’s public talk with author and jurymember Mats Kempe is available on our web, along with a short interview with Isol at the Book Fair.

We also recommend listening to newspaper Expressen’s podcast with Isol here, and newspaper Dagens Nyheter’s interview here.

The reader has the last word

September 29, 2013
Isol and Ulla Rhedin.

Isol and Ulla Rhedin.

Yesterday was another busy day for Isol at the Göteborg Book Fair. By lunch, she had already made four appearances, among them conversations with illustrator Gunna Grähs and Ulla Rhedin, member of the ALMA jury.

Gunna Grähs and Isol talked about how Isol changes formats and techniques between books. The choice of an unusual book format is never a show-off, Isol assured. Instead, it’s always done for narrating purposes. In the case of It’s Useful to Have a Duck, Isol simply realized that the only way she could make the story about the little boy and the duck work, was to use this accordion-fold format. The way Nocturno is printed, with glow-in-the dark ink, it allows the reader to be active: With a flashlight, and by guessing how the image will change after the light is turned off. And the last page is devoted for the reader to create her or his own dream. (All of the fair visitors who have asked for this particular book also got comforting news – it is to be published in Sweden soon!)

For Ulla Rhedin Isol explained how image and text comes to her at the same time, and how one inspires the other in her creative process. When the text says one thing, the picture sometimes tells the opposite. “The reader has the last word” as Isol puts it.

We also got to know that Isol, in the work with her forthcoming book, again has added elements that she never tried before. And that the book is going to be her longest so far, “around 54 pages, it seems”.

Isol and Gunna Grähs.

Isol and Gunna Grähs.