Winners from the past editions

Every year Carthusia Edizioni publishes the winning book and some of the other finalists.  

So “Silent Book” is the series that Carthusia has dedicated to the winning and finalist projects of the Silent Book Contest – Gianni De Conno Award. Large picture books which tell universal stories through the strength and magic of images only.
Both the Silent Book Contest, with the two hundred projects arrived this year, and the series, with sixteen titles already published, have grown a lot in these seven years and now represent a recognized opportunity for discussion for the international world of illustration and publishing.

2014 • Bounce Bounce by Briand Fitzgerland (Ireland)

An original character and his funny adventure inside a balloon that travels between earth, sea and sky. A silent book that will make your curiosity and imagination “bounce”.

Brian comes from a large Irish family of 2 brothers and 4 sisters, 2 dogs, 5 cats, 12 chickens and a sheep. From a very early age, he loved nothing more than to draw things. Not everyone agreed with his passion for art and very often his parents would hide his pens and crayons for days before he would rediscover them. When it was time to grow up and leave school he got a job beating dents out of cars and spray painting them and enjoyed that for a while until one day he saw someone do exactly what he wanted to do. While sitting in a café he saw an artist splashing paints on the wall and making a beautiful mess. So he went to the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and began his education in art.

2015 • While you sleep by Mariana Ruiz Johnson (Argentina)

Good night my love, close your eyes. While you sleep, a story is about to begin.

Mariana Ruiz Johnson is a children´s book author and illustrator from Argentina. Part of her family comes from Spain, the other part from England. But Mariana was born in the beautiful and melancholy city of Buenos Aires. She grew up within books, because her parents are artists and worked for the publishing world. Mariana used to observe and copy them until she grew up and she went to Art University and painted her own paintings with oils and acrylics. But she never forgot her love for books. She started to deepen her knowledge in illustration, searching for the best teachers in her city and also participating in  workshops abroad. She started publishing books, first in her country and then worldwide. By that time she also became a mom. Every day, almost religiously, she reads to her son Pedro, and this has enriched her inspiration and has enlightened her as to  how important children´s books are for bringing people together and making a better world.

2016 • Goodbye Toys by Marta Pantaleo (Italy)

Toys travelling among childhood memories aboard a worldless tale. The final destination is the joy of growing up, that turns the past into special gifts for others.

Marta Pantaleo was born in Rome on the Night of the Witches: Halloween. Ever since her childhood, music and theatre have been integrating elements of her playground: she used to came up with fairy tales accompanying the background notes of her’s father guitar. Over the years the pleasure of creating images developed into an actual necessity. For this reason, after the art school, she graduated in Editorial Graphics and Photography at Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, where she put at practice her creative abilities in many techniques such as collage, woodcut, silkscreen and photography. She joined several Illustration Schools in Italy in order to summarise in a draft what surrounds her. Marta feels close the German Expressionism, avant-gardes and the graphic of Constructivism, though she was born in Rome, a very sentimental city.

2017 • R\Evolution by Arianna Papini (Italy)

If we could go back to our great-great-grandfathers, or further, to their great-great-grandfathers, we would find out we have many ancestors and relatives throughout the world. It’s our DNA that reveals it. Using no words, this book tells the power of love, of transformation, of differences and similarities which are at the root of our lives.

Arianna Papini writes stories since she was six, she draws since she was one and she laughs since she was born. She made one hundred books, two children and countless drawings. Sometimes she would like to rest a bit, but she can’t because her creativity is compelling and the ideas come one after the other. She loves so much nature and animals that she thinks she knows their language. Arianna believes that making books and art represents a great responsibility to the world. She always works too hard, but since her work is beautiful she doesn’t notice. She’s also a teacher and teaching means to her growing up together, so she calls “colleagues” her students and she hates grading their works.

2018 • Imagination by Anastasia Suvorova (Russia)

Ride your imagination, its power is extraordinary. You could be the hero of great adventure and the king of fantastic worlds, just like the protagonist of this magic book without words. 

Anastasia was born and raised in a small provincial town. In her childhood she has lived surrounded by nature. Thanks to her parents, she learned to recognise and appreciate beauty, although they never thought she would become an artist. When she was a little girl she wanted to be an astronaut to change the world and leave a mark in history. In those years she wasn’t a reader at all; rather, she used to love glancing over beautiful book illustrations while coming up with incredible stories. Now she lives in St. Petersburg, the most beautiful city of Russia. She doesn’t feel like she has grown up and keeps considering herself an eternal child. The only thing that’s changed is that now she loves reading books with words. Today her greatest adventure is being an illustrator although she has never planned to become it. This book is her first work.

2019 • Star-Builders by Soojin Kwak (South-Korea)

How are the stars born? To whom we entrust our desires? This book without words unravels the mystery, revealing the existence of a brilliant star-builders team, who are the real architects of this magic.

Soojin Kwak was born in South Korea, where she grew up in a big family. Her house was always crowded with relatives with whom she used to play football or instruments. However, her favourite moment of the day was reading books alones. She studied Korean painting firstly at the Arts High School, then at the University in Seoul. Her illustrations have been influenced by Korean painting style, with a focus on soft lines and colouring and a special attention to details. Then she moved to London to learn more about other countries cultures and arts. Since she had never been abroad before, this experience widened her horizons and gave her the chance to find interest in diversity. Living as a stranger in a distant country was inspiring because everything was new and challenging. Now she lives in Seoul, a complex and crowded city.

Animated videos from the books

These videos were originally created for the video readings initiative of Carthusia during the quarantine.

Play Video
Play Video