Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature

Margaret Wise Brown historic photo

The annual award showcases the best picture book manuscript as selected by a panel of judges and is among the few children’s book honors with a cash prize.


Hollins announces winner of the 2020 Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature

Hollins University has honored a writer/illustrator/academic from the United Kingdom as the winner of the fifth annual Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature.

Wendy Meddour, an internationally best-selling children’s author whose books have been translated into 18 languages, will receive an engraved medal and a $1,000 cash prize for Lubna and Pebble, illustrated by Daniel Egnéus and published by Dial Books. In a story that subtly addresses the refugee crisis, a young girl must decide if friendship means giving up the one item that brings her comfort during a time of uncertainty.

Lubna and Pebble stands out as exemplary picture book writing,” the judges for this year’s prize stated. “Concise and poignant, its simple words dramatize a child’s resourcefulness and hope in the face of her difficulties as a refugee. That she ultimately transfers her fortitude to another child, in an act of self-denial, is her greatest triumph.”

Time magazine selected Lubna and Pebble as one of the “10 Best YA and Children’s Books of 2019,” while both the New York Public Library and Chicago Public Library placed it on their respective “Best Books” lists for the year. Horn Book noted that “Meddour’s short, simple sentences pack and emotional punch….This tender, understated story honors the emotional resilience of young people.”

Judges for this year’s Margaret Wise Brown Prize also named one Honor Book: One Dark Bird, written by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon, and published by Simon and Schuster.

More Information about the Margaret Wise Brown Prize


About the prize: Recognizes the author of the best text for a picture book published during the previous year. Winners receive:

  • $1,000 cash prize
  • An engraved bronze medal 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 over 50 children’s books.
  • An invitation to accept the award and present a reading on campus during the summer session of Hollins’ graduate program in children’s literature

About the selection process: Hollins will request nominations from children’s book publishers. A three-judge panel, consisting of established picture book authors, will review the nominations and choose a winner.

Margaret Wise Brown Prize medalAbout 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.

About the cash prize: Comes from an endowed fund created by James Rockefeller, Brown’s fiancé at the time of her death.

About Hollins’ graduate program in children’s literature: Summer M.A. and M.F.A. programs exclusively in the study, writing, and illustrating of children’s literature, and a graduate-level certificate in children’s book illustration.