Marion Jablonski, 2023 Golden Pinwheel Book Publishing Jury, "Creativity remains essential"

Q1: May I inquire about your standards for collaborating with newcomers or, in other words, when illustrators submit their works to you, which qualities do you pay particular attention to in the illustrators?

Marion: Without doubt the most important quality for me is mastery of space. How an illustrator constructs his image, places his characters if there are any, finds a balance adapted to the page or double page. The second quality is the narrative quality of the image. Will this illustrator be able to tell a story or just create a succession of pictures? Finally, I'm looking for singularity.

Q2: In your experience, what kind of professional skills and qualifications does a newcomer need to possess in order to embark on a full-time career as a freelance illustrator?

Marion: Imagination above all, but also a solid technique. Patience and enough self-confidence not to let doubt paralyse you.

Q3: From a publisher's perspective, how do you strike a balance between personal preferences and the selection of award-winning works, considering that awards are often a key promotional tool and can attract readers in the market?

Marion: The world of children's publishing is rich in international exchanges. It sharpens our eyes and fuels our constant curiosity. It's also a very competitive world. In terms of commercial success, but also in terms of discovering new talent. When faced with an imaginary world that seems difficult at first sight, we always have to ask ourselves whether it might be the forerunner of tomorrow's world.  AI cannot draw or illuminate the future, because it can only feed on what has already been invented by artists. So creativity remains essential.

Q4: In your professional career, what kind of published books do you consider to be classics?

Marion: Albin Michel has published some remarkable books that have enjoyed international acclaim and become classics of children's literature. Examples include Marion Bataille's ABC3D pop-up, a best-selling alphabet book (2008), Marc Boutavant's Le Tour du monde de Mouk, which we published in 2007 and which remains one of the best-selling books in our catalogue, and the works by Blexbolex (L'imagier des gens (2008), Saisons (2009), Romance (2013), Nos vacances (2017)), which are benchmarks in the history of children's books.