An international panel of judges selected her from a field of 25 nominated authors from around the world. The panel described Mahy as "one of the world's most original re-inventors of language":
"Mahy's language is rich in poetic imagery, magic, and supernatural elements. Her oeuvre provides a vast, numinous, but intensely personal metaphorical arena for the expression and experience of childhood and adolescence."
"Equally important, however, are her rhymes and poems for children. Mahy's works are known to children and young adults all over the world."