Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature

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

Hollins Announces Winners of the 2017 Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature

This year’s recipients are Adam Rex for School’s First Day of School and Debbie Levy for I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark. 

Arizona-based author and illustrator Adam Rex is the winner of the second annual Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature.

Rex will receive an engraved medal and a $1,000 cash prize for his book School’s First Day of School, illustrated by Christian Robinson and published by Roaring Brook Press. “This charming reversal of first-day-of-school nerves will delight little ones and help put their own anxieties at bay,” said Booklist in its starred review, while School Library Journal called it, “An essential purchase that is simultaneously funny, frank, and soothing. A perfect first day read-aloud.”

Rex’s previous works include the New York Times bestseller Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, a collection of stories about monsters and their problems. His novel The True Meaning of Smekday was adapted into the DreamWorks film Home in 2014.

This year’s Margaret Wise Brown Honor Book award of $300 goes to Debbie Levy for I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark, published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Last year’s recipients were Phil Bildner for his book Marvelous Cornelius, and Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, co-authors of You Nest Here With Me.


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.

About 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.