Mónica Rodríguez has won the 2023 SM El Barco de Vapor Award for Braver Than Napoleon, a work about the greatest show in the world “that is read with the tension with which a tightrope walker walks a tightrope”.

Patricia García-Rojo has won the 2023 SM Gran Angular Award with El verano en que llegó los lobos, a work with a poetic look that “encourages an interesting reflection on differences and prejudices, a narrative artifact that combines fantasy, love and mystery” .

The award-winning books go on sale today, April 25. And the official delivery will take place on May 17 at a gala in Madrid.

Madrid, April 25, 2023.- Today the winning works of the 45th edition of the SM El Barco de Vapor and Gran Angular Awards for the best children’s and youth literature book, respectively, were presented at a press conference. Braver than Napoleon by Mónica Rodríguez and El verano en que llegó los lobos by Patricia García-Rojo have been the winners of these awards, with a prize of 35,000 euros each, the largest in the Spanish-speaking world in their categories, and on sale now.

María Gómez, journalist and writer, presented the event and wanted to highlight that the two winning novels share “an optimistic and hopeful perspective through characters who need to understand their past in order to freely build their future”.

For Berta Márquez, manager of Children’s and Youth Literature at SM, this year, “we have great news for the children’s and youth literature sector. On the one hand, both the number of readers among children and young people and the time dedicated to reading continue to increase, although a little more slowly than in the pandemic years. The number of visits to libraries is also growing for the second consecutive year and something very interesting, taking into account the current panorama, is that among the most frequent ways of accessing books, recommendations from family, friends and teachers continue to be in first place, followed by the internet and social networks. For all these reasons, we can affirm that books are part of the lives of children and young people and, in some way, contribute to creating the life story of each reader”.

SM El Barco de Vapor Award 2023: Braver than Napoleon

The jury of the 2023 SM El Barco de Vapor Award has chosen Mónica Rodríguez’s Braver Than Napoleon as the best work of children’s literature for being “a book that excites from the beginning and is read with the tension with which a tightrope walker walks a tightrope ; a parade of extraordinary characters that steal your heart. The author juggles language and endows it with a brilliance capable of recreating the greatest spectacle in the world. It is a hymn to life, freedom and the search for happiness that vindicates courage in all its senses”.

Nicoletta, orphaned at a very young age, leads a peaceful life with her uncle Laurentius, a quiet man who watches over his niece’s safety. But she Nicoletta dreams of living adventures and she is always climbing the trees and hanging from them, which makes her uncle angry, always worried about her niece. But one day three outlandish men appear in the garden of her house that will turn their lives and her hearts upside down: the giant Barnaby James, Captain Constantine Papadopoulos and Little Head. And it is that, under that calm appearance of Uncle Lau, hides a dreamer who crosses precipices from one side of the wire to the other. The three men, three of Uncle Lau’s former companions in the circus, tell him that the time has come to help what was his pupil, Maria Spelterini, destined to be the best tightrope walker of all time, and who has become the turn to face the dangerous challenge that he failed to overcome: cross Niagara Falls.

The five of them, along with Nicoletta’s tabby cat, set out by wagon for Livorno, where the Circus Spelterini hibernates. There, little Ella will discover where she comes from and will enter a world where everything impossible can happen, far from the canons and social norms that she has known up to now. Uncle Lau will once again be the great Wild Astor, he will recover his caravan, Old Glory, and he will prepare excitedly for the reunion with Erika Mahalajaran, the snake charmer who broke his heart and whom he could never forget. Uncle and niece will be part of the welcoming circus family as they prepare for the event that will change everyone’s lives forever, the feat performed by Maria Spelterini, a brave woman who made history, even if history forgot her.

“We all have a place in the great family of the Spelterini circus. It doesn’t matter what your dreams are, your frustrations, your quirks. If you have the courage to love them, they won’t let you down. And if you don’t have value, they will give it to you.”

The novel is published in hardcover, with 114 pages, and in paperback with 184, and has illustrations by Anna Aparicio Català. It is published in the orange series of El Barco de Vapor and is aimed at children from 8 years old.

SM Wide Angle Award 2023: The Summer When Wolves Came

The jury’s decision to award the 2022 SM Gran Angular Award to the work of youth literature El verano que llegó los lobos by Patricia García-Rojo is based on the fact that “it throws a poetic look at the conflicts of a community, fosters an interesting reflection on differences and prejudices, and because it creates a narrative artifact that combines fantasy, love and mystery”.

Ana impatiently awaits the arrival of her letter of admission to the university because she feels that she does not fit in in the small town by the sea where she lives with her parents. They, as well as almost all the neighbors and all of her friends, turn into birds. But Ana is a deer and she cannot fly. Tomás, who is a roe deer, is staying in a mansion on the outskirts, and the two have forged the best friendship, even though he is sixty years old. However, Ana has no choice but to join a gang with those from her farm: the frivolous Alicia and Clara, the athletic Raúl and the twins Teo and Laura. Only the quiet and serious Samuel understands Ana’s silences, but he is already nineteen years old and has just spent his first winter on a ship in the northern seas. Suddenly, everything changes one hot Thursday in June with the appearance of the wolves, a family that takes over the old grocery store in the face of hostility from the community due to old grudges from the past.

Ana, on the other hand, is curious to meet the foreign brothers, Sasha and Nadir, who are more or less her age. Above all, starting on the night of San Juan, when she discovers that Nadir has usurped her secret corner among the rocks to see the bonfires, and the boy confesses that she is the only thing he likes about the town. Although stunned by the explosion of sensations, Ana prepares to go on an excursion to the island with Tomás, a tradition that they both share on her birthday. What she does not suspect is that she will be cut short by tragedy and the shadow of a crime that will hang over the wolves. Will a miracle from the Virgin of the Island be able to save her new friends? That summer full of mysteries and first loves, Ana will learn to deal with grief, and she will discover that she doesn’t need wings to fit in and that happiness is not a place but a choice.

“With the character of Ana, I wanted to embrace all those who have felt singled out for not fitting in because of their tastes, their identity or their conception of the world. It is very difficult not to bow down to labels”

The novel, which has 200 paperback pages and is illustrated by Cinthya Álvarez, is recommended for readers aged 14 and over.

Press dossier for Braver than Napoléon (includes biography and interview with Mónica Rodríguez)

Press dossier of The summer in which the wolves arrived (includes biography and interview with Patricia García-Rojo)

Download High Resolution Cover of Braver Than Napoleon

Download High Resolution Cover of The Summer of Wolves

Photo by Mónica Rodríguez, winner of El Barco de Vapor

Photo by Patricia García-Rojo, winner of the Wide Angle

Bases of the Award SM El Barco de Vapor 2024

Bases of the 2024 SM Wide Angle Award

Communication SM Spain