White Ravens: Poland
Poland (Polish) - 1993 - 31
Brzozowski, Zbigniew (text)
Eidigėvičius, Stasys (illus.)
Kilka czarodziejskich historii
(Several Stories of Magic)
Warszawa: Nasza Księartgamia, 1991. 86 p.
modern fairy tale (Poland)
Five fairy tale narratives in the tradition of magic fairy tales from the folk tradition; despite their traditional motifs, however, they are modern stories. The author plays games - lightheartedly cheerful yet full of suspense - both with the characters involved and with the reader by merging various spheres of reality, very much in keeping with the style of illustrator Stasys Eidrigėvičius. Almost without noticing it, the reader suddenly discovers him or herself as a story character; e.g., a princess gets into a story-within-the-story. - Brzozowski devises fabrications in order to dismiss them again immediately. A book for fairy tale lovers and for those who are not satisfied with fairy tales alone. (9+)
Poland (Polish) - 1993 - 32
Indiane, traperzy i osadnicy w dziejach amerykańskiego zachodu
(Indians, Trappers and Sett-lers in the History of the American West)
Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, 1990. 258 p. With illustrations
history - North America (19th century) - Wild West
An excellent nonfiction book about the development of the North American West in the 19th century which simply and clearly, without completely destroying the myths about the Wild West, presents the reader with a mass of information about the political, social, ethnic, religious, cultural and economic development of the western section of the present USA. In addition, the author furnishes an overview of the "West" in art and literature. (12+)
Poland (Polish) - 1993 - 33
Zawadowski, Wacław (text)
Benedek, Krzysztof (graphic adaptation)
Warszawa: Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne, 1989. 30 p.
graphics - mosaics - handicrafts
A fairly inconspicuous yet fascinating book that gives instructions for the production of mosaics and graphic works in which duplicated figures overlap, based on Arabic mosaics and the works of the Dutch graphic artist Mauritius Cornelis Escher. The examples range from non-object-oriented square patterns with only a single cutting line to object-oriented representations of more complicated figures (rhombuses, hexagons) with a multitude of finely crafted cuts. (10+)
Poland (Polish) - 1994 - 42
Ossendowski, Ferdynand (text)
Wloszczyński, Andrzej Ludwik (illus.)
Mali zwycięczy: Przygodi dzieci w pustyni Szamo
(The Little Victors: An Adventure of Children in the Gobi Desert)
Warszawa: Ludowa Spoldzielnia Wydawnicza, 1991. 144 p.
Gobe <Desert> - China <1916-1926> - Robinsonade
First published in 1930 (reprinted in 1938) and set in China during the civil war period of 1916-1926, this novel for children by the Polish scientist (born in Byelorussia), political activist, world traveller and writer Ferdynand Ossendowski (1878-1945) is a classical Robinsonade. Suspenseful, though without a deeper psychological portrayal of the main characters, Ossendowski the seven-month long odyssey of Henryk (15) und Rornek (13) and Irenka (II), children of a Pole living in Tientsin, whose airplane has to make an emergency landing in the Gobi Desert. With primitive means and equipment from the airplane, the children manage to build a shelter and find food. Of course, they, too, have a "Friday" - an injured Mongolian named Čultun, whom they rescue. Čultun succeeds in capturing and taming several wild horses, which then carry them all on a week-long journey to his "aul", where the children are then reunited with their father. This historical young adult novel with his portrayal of Inner Mongolia and encounters with harmless and dangerous animals is still worth reading today. (10+)
Poland (Polish) - 1994 - 43
Czerniawski, Jerzy (illus.)
Usenko, Oleg (ed.)
Był sobie król...
(Once there was a King...)
Warszawa: Ludowa Spoldzielnia Wydawnicza, 1991. 269 p.
ISBN 83-205-4074-7 (paper); 83-205-4383-5 (hardbound)
Rhymed Fairy Tales/Poland/Anthology
This anthology contains Polish tales in verse from the fairy tales off the great Polish romanticist Juliusz Slowacki (1809-1849) and the first major Polish children's book author Maria Konopnicka (1842-1910) through to the "Adventure of a Billy-Goat" by Komel Makuszyński and tales of the author of children's literature classics Julian Tuwim (1894-1953), Jan Brzechwa (1900-1966) and Czeslaw Janczarski (1911-1971) up to the contemporary authors such as Danuta Wawilow and Oleg Usenko, the editors of this volume. The volume contains both very popular tales as well as less well-known, romantic and witty tales, some in literary language and others in a pert colloquial tone. The book is illustrated in the style of the Lithuanian-Polish artist Stasys Eidrigevičius, but without his surrealistic manner. (8+)
Poland (Polish) - 1995 - 24
Siesicka, Krystyna (text)
Studio Siedmoróg (graphics)
(Just a minute, Valeria)
Wrocław: Siedmoróg, 1994. 128 p.
Zakopane - Love - Drugs - Generational conflict
The journalist and popular young adult author Krystyna Siesicka was awarded a prize by the Polish IBBY section for this unusual novel for girls. She describes a vacation in Zakopane (in the Tatra Mountains) which she spent with the protagonist, Valeria, and takes up different problems facing Polish teenagers today - love, generational conflict, family, interpersonal relationships, drugs - in a very sympathetic and vivid manner. In addition, she lets Valeria herself express her opinions and speak directly to the reader, even posing questions. The book's design is equally unusual: the cover shows a photo of the protagonist against the background of a work by Gustav Klimt. The pages on which Valeria speaks are decorated in Art Nouveau style and illustrated with reproductions of famous artists from Manet to Dali. Furthermore this volume contains poems which fit the respective subject matter by the popular poet Maria Jasnorzewska-Pawlikowska (1893-1945), who has been very popular with Polish youth since the 1960s. (12+)
Poland (Polish) - 1997 - 223
Samotne wyspy i storczyk
(Lonely islands and an orchid)
Warszawa: Filipinka, 1994. 127 p.
Poland (Polish) - 1997 - 224
Žegnaj na zawsze
Warszawa: Filipinka, 1996. 145 p.
Growing up - Love - Interpersonal relations - Modelling
Anna Onichimowska (born 1952) is currently one of the most productive, most talented and most popular authors for young people in Poland. These two books deal with a problematic love story between the shy 18-year-old Ewa and the rather easy-living art student Marek. During their relationship each of them matures in some ways, partly because of the influence of other problems among their friends and family. In the second volume, Ewa finishes school and goes to study in Warsaw, while working part-time as a photographer's model. When she has to choose between university and Marek on the one hand and her blossoming career on the other, she choses the latter and goes off to Paris. In the guise of a light romance, the author deals with a wide variety of problems facing youth and young adults today - family conflicts, couple relationships, drugs, pregnancy and babies. (14+)
Poland (Polish) - 1997 - 225
W Krainie Kota
(In the land of the cat)
Wrocław: Siedmoróg, 1996. 174 p.
Tarot - Infant - Cat - Imaginary journey - Reality - Fantasy
A young woman is led into a cryptic world of the tarot by her newborn infant and a mysterious cat. the plot unfolds on two parallel planes - in reality and in the imagination. Each influences the other and the borderline between fiction and reality seems to fade away. At the end of the novel the young mother is found lying in the street in the real world, where she is assumed to be an orphan, while in the imaginary world she is the sister of a lost prince. A happy end seems to be found, but already the next story begins. Another woman is expecting a child and she senses that something is not quite right. This astounding book for older children - there are no child protagonists - suggests that there is acutally no reality at all and that everyone needs one another's help, whether in the imagination or what we consider to be reality. On magical journeys from one world to the other, we can learn much about ourselves. (10+)
Poland (Polish) - 1998 - 217
Banaszak, Dariusz (text)
Biber, Tomasz (text)
Leszczyński, Maciej (text)
Siejkowski, Lech (graphics)
Ilustrowane dzieje polski
(Illustrated Polish history)
Poznań: Podsiedlik Raniowski i Spółka, 1997. 131 p.
This richly illustrated information book about the history of Poland takes as its basis the history of its rulers, but also provides interesting information about ordinary life and customs in each epoch. The authors begin with the first Slav settlements in the territory of present day Poland and move on to the numerous wars, divisions and reunifications which have characterized its past. In addition, the book contains considerable information about the development of art and culture in Poland. (10+) ☆
Poland (Polish) - 1998 - 218
Glówka, Małgorzata (text)
Kasprzak, Jędrzej (text)
Streliński, Paweł et al. (photos)
Witkowski, Józef (illus.)
(Secrets of the forest)
Poznań: GMP, 1997. 38 p.
Poland - Forest
This information book, written in cooperation with the regional forestry agency of Posen (Poznań), is notable for its excellent photography and the both lyrical and informative text. It calls to mind the famous Russian picture book »God v lesu« from Ivan Sokolov-Mikitov and G. Nikol'skij. As in that book, the life of animals and plants over the course of a year are described. Along with photographs, this volume also includes drawings of the most characteristic types of trees found in the Polish forest. (7+)
Special Mention - Poland (Polish) - 1998 - 219
Musierowicz, Małgorzata (text/illus.)
(The Rob-Roy girl)
Łódż: Akapit Press, 1996. 219 p.
(Musierowicz, Małgorzata: Jeżycjady; 11)
The first young adult novels by the graphic artist
Małgorzata Musierowicz which she wrote at the end of the 1970s represented Poland's first significant modern novels for teenage girls. In this book, Robert, a distant relation of Walter Scott's novel hero Rob Roy, returns to his home town of Posen (Poznań) together with his daughter Arabella. At one level, the narrative describes the activities of the not especially pretty, but quite dynamic and assertive Arabella and day-to-day life of adolescents in Poland. On another, inserted into the narrative as flashbacks, one learns of the unhappy story of Robert. The individual episodes ultimately fit together like a puzzle to form an overall picture. Musierowicz employs a very vivid language and does not avoid addressing problems or making allusions to current political issues. (12+)
Special Mention - Poland (Polish) - 1998 - 220
Thor, Piotr Robert (arrangement)
Szancer, Jan Marcin (illus.)
Kolędy. Chwała na wysokości a pokój na ziemii
(Christmas songs. Jubilee on high and peace on earth)
Poznań: GMP, 1997. 144 p.
This very beautiful Christmas song book contains both songs from the different regions of Poland and internationally known songs which are widely sung in Poland (in Polish translation). The illustrations, which transplant the Christian motifs and setting to Central Europe and also make use of Polish folk customs, are by the great Polish graphic artist Jan Marcin Szancer (1902-1973). (5+)
Special Mention - Poland (Polish) - 2000 - 214
Kotowska, Katarzyna (text/illus.)
Warszawa: Egmont, 1999.  p.
Adoption - Otherness - Love
This picture book is a tale about an adoption with a happy ending. A couple whose hope of having a child find that the colors are slowly disappearing from the world around them. Only after they have adopted a hedgehog-boy do the colors return. But there are problems for both parties. The parents are not sure if this prickly being is really »their« child, and the child needs time to get used to his new surroundings and new parents. But the greater the love of the parents and greater the trust of the child, the more he loses his prickly needles. This very sensitive, but completely unsentimental text is illustrated with highly stylized collages spaciously composed with unbroken colors that convey much feeling despite their affinity to constructivism. (4+)
Special Mention - Poland (Polish) - 2000 - 215
Terakowska, Dorota (text)
Glinski, Jahoo (illus.)
Lustro pana Grymsa
(Mr. Gryms' mirror)
Kraków: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1998. 143 p.
Parallel world - Life force - Apathy - Savior - Red <color>
Dorota Terakowska's latest suspense-filled fantasy is concerned in essence with the immortality of the soul and the Great Conscience of the world. While searching for her dog, 13-year old Agata enters through a mirror into another world in which the people are strangely emotionless and apathetic and where everything seems to be gloomy and meaningless. In the course of her odyssey through this strange world Agata recognizes that its inhabitants have lost the color red and, thus, their life force. This is the very reason that someone had summoned the red-haired Agata to be their savior. (10+)
Poland (Polish) - 2001 - 214
Leżeński, Cezary (text)
Karczewski, Lech T. (illus.)
Bartek, Zuzanna i Kopernik
(Bartek, Zuzanna and Copernicus)
Toruń : Graffiti BC, 1999. 192 p.
Poland - Time-slip <1473-1543> - Copernicus, Nicolaus
15-year-old Bartek has the supranatural ability to travel through time. Because his friend Zuzanna is interested in the astronomer and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), he decides to visit Copernicus and his times. The first station is Toruń, where Copernicus spent his childhood, the second Cracow, where he studied, then Lidzbarg Warmiński, where he worked as a priest and doctor; the final station is Frombork, where Bartek meets the great man awaiting death. On his travels (Zuzanna accompanies him on the last one), Bartek learns to understand the extent of Copernicus' contribution to the sciences as well as his human weaknesses. He witnesses the boy Copernicus breaking the neighbours' windows, the student accumulating debts, and the priest having an affair with Anna, his beautiful housekeeper. The design of this paperback book is simple but attractive. The cheerful illustrations convey a vivid impression of the historical setting. (12+)
Poland (Polish) - 2003 - 206
Beszczyńska, Zofia (text)
Żelewska, Agnieszka (illus.)
Bajki o rzeczach i nierzeczach
(Fairytales about things and non-things)
Gdańsk : Czarny Kot, 2002. 101 p.
(Książki szczęśliwego dzieciństwa)
Everyday life – Fairytales
Zofia Beszczy?ska is particularly famous for her poems for children and adults; her fairytales, however, are undoubtedly just as noteworthy. Reading this volume’s fairytales, which often feature everyday objects as well as ordinary people and animals, is definitely a lot of fun. The stories vibrate with a strong child-like imagination and even for a person acquainted with literature and fairytales, it is hardly possible to anticipate their endings. The fascinating tales deal with lost secrets, objects wishing to be something else, and a princess who is kidnapped by a black knight. The book was awarded in the Polish competition »Book of the Year« in 2002. (3+)
Poland (Polish) - 2005 - 206
Lewkowska, Anna (text)
Mosz, Gosia (illus.)
Sen o krainie Parakwarii
(The longing for the land Paraquaria)
Warszawa : Wydawn. Nasza Księgarnia, 2004. 94 p.
(Ksiąźka z jajam)
Shipwreck – Imaginary world – Fable animals – Conflict – Ethics
This humorous and amusing fantasy tale takes readers to the weird land of Paraquaria, where two Spanish people are washed ashore after a shipwreck. Paraquaria is inhabited by good-natured and friendly creatures, half-animal and half-human, who closely resemble the image that people in the Middle Ages had of creatures living overseas. By nature, the Paraquarian inhabitants seem to be strong individualists. When they are suddenly confronted with European civilisation, some very surprising events occur while any attempt to make them succumb to norms or rules inevitably ends in a complete disaster. Nevertheless, as readers we cannot but conclude that the anarchic Paraquarians are morally superior to us. (8+)
Poland (Polish) - 2005 - 207
Musierowicz, Małgorzata (text/illus.)
Łódź : Akapit Press, 2004. 207 p.
Family – Everyday life – Child – Love
This is already the 15th volume of a Polish cult saga about the Poznań family Borejko, now focusing on the third generation of protagonists. Mothers and daughters alike are eagerly awaiting every new volume in the series. The main character in this volume, which – just like the others – describes the life of an average Polish family, is 9-year-old Józinek. The story deals with his love for Stanisława Trolla, who is a few years older than him and whom he meets during a lesson with another class. Lively dialogues in colloquial language and teenage slang are the characteristic feature of this entertaining novel. (11+)
Poland (Polish) - 2005 - 208
Pałka, Jacek (text)
Lenartowicz, Anna (illus.)
Bazylek daje sobie radę
(Bazylek manages on his own)
Warszawa : Wydawn. W.A.B., 2004. 256 p.
Single father – Son – Everyday life – Humour
Jacek Pałka – journalist, English teacher, and single father – originally posted several everyday episodes with his 6-year-old son on the Internet at: www.badmofuker.blog.pl. Following the huge success of these witty tales, they are finally available in book form. In a simple and descriptive language, the author talks about visits to the zoo, shopping at the supermarket, games of football and basketball, and pets. He recalls conversations between ›men‹ about books, television, advertising, girls, and life in general. This book proves that children are not nearly as naive in respect to philosophical matters as they are sometimes believed to be. It provides both children and adults with an enjoyable read – either aloud or quietly. (6+)
Special Mention - Poland (Polish) - 2005 - 209
Ruszewska, Grażyna (text)
Fąfrowicz, Piotr (illus.)
Leon i kotka, czyli jak rozumieć mowę zegar
(Leon and the kitten, or How to understand the language of the clock)
Łódź : FR09, 2004.  p.
Cat – Friendship – Jealousy
This is the first book by radio journalist Grażyna Ruszewska as well as the first title published by the new publishing house FR09. Through the tale of a cat, the author analyses the difficult art of friendship and makes readers realise that changes enrich our world and our lives, even if we might not always appreciate them. When Ada brings home a little kitten almost frozen to death, tomcat Leon is afraid that he might lose Ada’s love and will have to share his favourite places in the house. The daily routine changes and even the strokes of the clock seem different. At first, Leon pretends not to care. Slowly, however, he gets used to the new family member and even becomes friends with her. The clear, plane illustrations by the well-known artist portray the varying moods of the story very convincingly. (3+)
Poland (Polish) - 2006 - 202
Beszczyńska, Zofia (text)
Pawlak, Paweł (illus.)
Z górki na pazurki
(As fast as your legs will carry you)
Poznań : Media Rodzina, 2005. 48 p.
Nature Children’s poetry
Zofia Beszczyńska’s new book of poetry focuses mainly on nature. Through various stylistic devices such as onomatopoeia, nonsense elements, and permutations of letters, the author manages to give the same intensity to her works that readers are familiar with from traditional verses even though she employs a free rhythm. The verses, which perfectly lend themselves to reading aloud, will delight both toddlers and school children, but will also make adults see the environment in a new light. The amusing watercolour illustrations do not remain isolated but rather form an artistic unity with the graphic design and the typography of the book. (4+)
Poland (Polish) - 2006 - 203
Warszawa : Wydawn. W.A.B., 2004. 244 p.
Teenager Fictional diary
In his hilarious diary partly written in teenage slang not unlike the well-known »The secret diary of Adrian Mole, 13¾« by Sue Townsend – high school student Rudolf Gąbczak does not only describe and comment on his slightly chaotic life with Hip-Hop, Rap, and typical teenage problems such as school, parents, lucky and unlucky romantic experiences, and crazy job ideas. In addition, he also reflects on the society, politics, and culture in his home country Poland at the time when it joined the European Union – an event that kicked off some radical changes inside the country. The author successfully presents an authentic, albeit satirically exaggerated, description of the daily life of a Polish teenage boy. (12+)
Poland (Polish) - 2006 - 204
Wszystko jest możliwe
(Anything is possible)
Łódź : Akapit Press, . 88 p.
Boy Disability – Growing up – Family
Thirteen-year-old Jaś completely paralysed, yet emotionally and intellectually more talented than most people around him. While his mother lovingly cares for him night and day and cannot imagine putting him in a home for disabled people, his father was not able to cope with the situation and left the family a while ago. Told from the perspective of the teenager, the book deals with the topic of a severe disability in a sensitive but not overly sentimental way without any taboos. The author offers an impressive description of Jaś’s vitality and zest for life, which he draws from the fact that there are people who need him. (12+)
Poland (Polish) - 2006 - 205
Dziewczyna z pociągu
(The girl from the train)
Łódź : Akapit Press, . 151 p.
Sensational journalism Love
While chasing after a story about a successful Polish cross-country skier, the sensationalist journalist Jan Tym falls in love with his victim. He feels torn between his job and professional success on the one hand, and his feelings for the woman and his moral scruples on the other hand. This dilemma leads to an unexpected twist in the plot. In this gripping teenage novel, Mikołaj Wójcik tackles a variety of cultural and social problems that Poland is confronted with today, caused by the huge changes occurring in the country over the last 15 years, such as the conflict between an increasing cultural tolerance and a stubborn, conservative religious attitude. (14+)
Poland (Polish) - 2007 - 202
Leszczyński, Grzegorz (ed.)
Ekier, Maria (illus. )
Lange, Grazyna (graphics)
Polskie baśnie i legendy
(Polish fairy tales and legends)
Warszawa : Nowa Era, 2006. 294 p.
Poland – Fairy tale – Legend
In this substantial volume, the Polish children’s literature specialist Grzegorz Leszczyński presents a particularly careful selection of Polish fairy tales and legends retold and adapted by well-known Polish authors such as Józef Ignacy Kraszewski, Maria Konopnicka, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Arthur Oppman, Kornel Makuszyński, Gustaw Morcinek, and many others. The imaginative and mysterious water-colour illustrations follow in the footsteps of important Polish illustrators such as Marian Murawski and Stasys Eidrigsamll-e-dotabovevičius. Moreover, the book also stands out for its graphical and typographical design. (6+)
Special Mention - Poland (Polish) - 2007 - 203
Olech, Joanna (text)
Lange, Grażka (illus.)
(Little Red Riding Hood)
[Warszawa] : Santorski, .  p.
Little Red Riding Hood – Self-confidence – Obedience – Subordination – Social role
This fairy tale, published in the series »Niebaśnie« (un-fairy tales) together with an adaptation of »Hansel and Gretel«, features a good little girl who is often teased by others and never fights back. True, when the wolf asks her where she is going, she does think »It’s none of your business« but still answers very politely that she is on the way to visit her sick grandmother. She behaves just like an obedient child is supposed to behave towards adults. The text follows the classic versions by Charles Perrault and the Grimm brothers yet it puts particular emphasis on the child’s subordination and insecurity. Eventually, the huntsman arrives but, in this version, he cannot save the grandmother or the girl. The text ends with the words: »Whenever they remembered the dead girl, they repeated what a good little girl she had been.« The bizarre mixed-media illustrations also underline the child’s insecurity and her lack of self-confidence. (4+)
Special Mention - Poland (Polish) - 2007 - 204
Ruszewska, Grażyna (text)
Fąfrowicz, Piotr (illus.)
Wielkie zmiany w dużym lesie
(Great changes in big forests)
Łódź : FR09, 2005. 63 p.
Meaning of life – Zest for life – Self-confidence
This picture book, produced by the small high quality publisher FRO9, contains three stories: one each about Mr. Ladybird, the rabbit, and the hedgehog. The tales deal with changes in the protagonists’ lives and habits. In the first story, Mr. Ladybird is not content with his looks but eventually realises that only his original colours and shape make him truly happy. Tale number two relates how the rabbit saves an eagle chick, and how he experiences a wave of self-confidence and courage when he becomes friends with the young bird’s dangerous mother. In the last story, the solemn, boring, and ostentatious hedgehog learns what zest for life is. The illustrations, which radiate cheerfulness and optimism, delight readers with their homeliness and warm colours. (5+)