Photo/IllutrationEiko Kadono speaks at a news conference in Tokyo on March 27 after she was awarded the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award the previous day. (Shinichi Iizuka)

Children’s author Eiko Kadono, known for her representative work “Majo no Takkyubin” (Kiki’s Delivery Service), has won the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award, regarded as the "Nobel Prize" of children’s literature.

Kadono, 83, was awarded in the Author category on March 26 by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). She is the third Japanese author to win the honor, following Michio Mado in 1994 and Nahoko Uehashi in 2014.

“It is a great pleasure for me to have won recognition by doing my favorite thing,” Kadono said in a news conference on March 27.

The award is presented by the Switzerland-based IBBY once every two years to authors and illustrators who have contributed to outstanding children’s literature over many years. This year, 33 nominees were shortlisted for the award in the Author category, alongside contemporaries nominated in the Illustrator category.

Patricia Aldana, chair of the jury for the award, said of Kadono’s works, “Her books are always surprising, engaging and empowering.”

Kadono said at her news conference, “Words that have piled up through reading books become a source of power for people when they live their lives. They can attract other people and express themselves.”

Authors who have won the award in the past include many of Kadono’s favorite writers, such as Astrid Lindgren of Sweden.

“I had a strong feeling that I want to become their colleague. So I’m really happy now,” Kadono said.

The awards presentation ceremony will be held at IBBY’s world conference in Athens in August.