Hollins pays tribute to one of its best-known alumnae and one of the most beloved children’s book authors by awarding the Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature.

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.

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.

How to Submit Your Work

Submissions open in November each year. Nominations must be submitted by publishers. For more information about the prize and selection process, please contact Director of Graduate Programs in Children’s Literature and Illustration Elizabeth Dulemba at dulembaeo@hollins.edu or click the button below.

Past Recipients

Hollins pays tribute to one of its best-known alumnae and one of America’s most beloved children’s authors by awarding the Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature. The Margaret Wise Brown Prize is one of the few children’s book awards that has a cash prize attached. The annual prize has been awarded to the following winners:

2016 (Inaugural)

Phil Bildner for Marvelous Cornelius,
and Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, co-authors of You Nest Here With Me.


Adam Rex for School’s First Day of School.
Honor Book was Debbie Levy for I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsberg Makes Her Mark.


Elaine Magliaro for Things to Do. 
Honor Book was Laura McGee Kvasnosky for Little Wolf’s First Howling.


John Sullivan for Kitten and the Night Watchman.
Honor Books: Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten by Laura Veirs and Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Peña.


Wendy Meddour for Lubna and Pebble.
Honor Book was One Dark Bird by Liz Garton Scanlon.


Meg Medina for Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away.
Honor Book: You Matter by author/illustrator Christian Robinson.


Muon Thi Van for Wishes, illustrated by Victo Ngai.
Honor Book was The Longest Letsgoboy, written by debut author Derick Wilder, illustrated by Cátia Chen.


Chana Stiefel for The Tower of Life: How Yaffa Eliach Rebuilt Her Town in Stories and Photographs, illustrated by Susan Gal.


Lucy Ruth Cummins for Our Pool. Honor Book was Stranded! A Mostly True Story from Iceland, written by Ævar Þór Benediktsson, illustrated by Anne Wilson.

Margaret Wise Brown

Margaret Wise Brown

Graduated from Hollins in 1932 and went on to write Goodnight MoonThe Runaway Bunny, and other children’s classics before she died in 1952.

The Cash Prize

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

Hollins Graduate Programs 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.

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