Cambridgeshire

Kate Milner's My Name is Not Refugee wins Klaus Flugge Prize

Kate Milner Image copyright Kate Milner
Image caption The book "allows the reader time to contemplate the child's predicament"

A former librarian has scooped a prize for a book that presents the refugee crisis through a child's eyes.

Kate Milner, from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, wrote and illustrated My Name is Not Refugee as a mature student in Cambridge.

The story follows a young boy and his mother facing an uncertain future as they embark on life in a refugee camp.

Author and Klaus Flugge Prize judge Lauren Child said the book gave readers "a chance to imagine and to empathise".

Mother-of-three Mrs Milner, who is in her fifties and spent much of her career as a librarian, graduated from the MA in Children's Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin University in 2016, and began working on the book in the final months of her course.

Image copyright Kate Milner
Image caption The book describes the crisis in a child-friendly way

She said she wanted My Name is Not Refugee to make children from a comfortable background think about what it would be like to have to leave home.

"There had been a lot in the tabloids about Syrian refugees and so much of it was negative," she said. "I wanted to do something to help the situation.

"I knew it would be a book for teachers, librarians and parents, to explain, not to be propaganda, this is what being a refugee means and this is what the children are going through."

Image copyright Adrian Pope
Image caption Kate Milner (centre) receives her prize from judge Lauren Child and Klaus Flugge
Image copyright Kate Milner
Image caption Kate Milner started to write and illustrate the book during her studies for an MA

On Wednesday, Mrs Milner was announced as the winner of this year's £5,000 Klaus Flugge Prize, presented to the most exciting newcomer in children's picture book illustration. The book had previously earned Mrs Milner the V&A Student Illustrator of the Year award in 2016.

Martin Salisbury, Professor of Illustration at Anglia Ruskin, described the book as a "stand-out project".

"Kate was one of the first authorial picture book-makers to address the issue of migration in her work - and the book's publication success and receipt of this prestigious award marks her out as one of the most exciting new talents in the field," he said.

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