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 2022 Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature

Hollins University has honored Vietnamese author Muon Thi Van as the winner of the seventh annual Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature.

Muon will receive an engraved medal and a $1,000 cash prize for Wishes, illustrated by Victo Ngai and published by Orchard Books. Inspired by events in the author’s life, Wishes is the story of a Vietnamese family’s search for a new home on the other side of the world and how that impacts one of the family’s youngest members.

Muon Thi Van takes the reader on a heart-wrenching journey, from leaving the familiarity of home to navigating the perils of an ocean voyage to finally arriving at a place of hope and new beginnings,” stated the judges for this year’s prize, acclaimed children’s book authors Marla Frazee, David LaRochelle, and Meg Medina. “All of this is done with just 75 carefully chosen words. The originality of having inanimate objects voice the child’s feelings, and the depth of emotion captured in so few words, astounded [us] and made for an inventive, powerful book that has lingered in our hearts long after we read it.”

The Margaret Wise Brown Prize is just the latest honor for Wishes. It was named the Best Picture Book of 2021 by BookPage; received the 2022 ILA Notable Books for a Global Society award; and was co-winner of the Golden Poppy Award for children’s picture books. Wishes is also an NPR Best Book of the Year, a Horn Book 2021 Fanfare Pick, and a 2021 New York Public Library’s Best Books for Kids List Pick.

Judges for this year’s Margaret Wise Brown Prize also named one Honor Book: The Longest Letsgoboy, written by debut author Derick Wilder, illustrated by Cátia Chen, and published by Chronicle Books. “The story is told from a dog’s point of view,” the judges said. “As Letsgoboy takes the final walk of his earthly life with his little girl, the narration and dog language are perfectly attuned to how a child takes in the word as well. The Longest Letsgoboy transports the reader on a journey which is by turns joyous, heartbreaking, comforting and full of love.”

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.