Hollins Announces Winner of the 2021 Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature

Margaret Wise Brown medal

Hollins University has honored Newbery Medalist and New York Times bestselling author Meg Medina as the winner of the sixth annual Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature.

Medina will receive an engraved medal and a $1,000 cash prize for Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away, a story of friendship and change illustrated by Sonia Sánchez and published by Candlewick Press.

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away is all at once poignant and hopeful, poetic but utterly child-centered,” the judges for this year’s prize stated. “From the moment you meet the moving truck ‘with its mouth wide open’ you know you’re in their world – these nearly twin mejor amigas who are having to say goodbye. Thankfully, Medina and Sánchez make the experience – even the really sad parts – sing.”

Medina’s other books include Merci Suárez Changes Gears, the 2019 John Newbery Medal winner; Burn Baby Burn, long-listed for the 2016 National Book Award; and The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind, a 2012 Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year. She resides in Richmond, Virginia, and in addition to writing, she works on community projects that support girls, Latino youth, and/or literacy. She serves on the National Board of Advisors for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and is a faculty member of Hamline University’s Master of Fine Arts program in children’s literature.

Judges for this year’s Margaret Wise Brown Prize also named one Honor Book: You Matter by author/illustrator Christian Robinson and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. “A quirky, whimsical, nearly circular text that can be read in more than one way, helping young readers understand that they might be both specks of stardust and the stars themselves,” commented the judges. “Lyrical and affirming but also funny and particular in such a Margaret Wise Brown way.”

Hollins established the Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature as a way to pay tribute to one of its best-known alumnae and one of America’s most beloved children’s authors. The cash prizes are made possible by an endowed fund created by James Rockefeller, Brown’s fiancé at the time of her death.

“The Margaret Wise Brown Prize is one of the few children’s book awards that has a cash prize attached,” said Lisa Rowe Fraustino, director of the graduate programs in children’s literature at Hollins.

The engraved medal presented to the winners was conceived by award-winning sculptor, painter, and Hollins alumna Betty Branch of Roanoke. Winners and Honor Book recipients are presented an original linocut certificate designed and donated by Ashley Wolff, author and/or illustrator of more than 50 children’s books.

Margaret Wise Brown graduated from Hollins in 1932 and went on to write Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, and other children’s classics before she died in 1952.

The study of children’s literature as a scholarly experience was initiated at Hollins in 1973; in 1992, the graduate program in children’s literature was founded. Today, Hollins offers summer M.A. and M.F.A. programs exclusively in the study and writing of children’s literature, an M.F.A. in children’s book writing and illustrating, and a graduate-level certificate in children’s illustration.

This summer, Hollins’ children’s literature program will release information on how to submit books for consideration for the 2022 Margaret Wise Brown Prize.