Hollins University has honored a retired teacher who writes poetry for children as the winner of the third annual Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature.
Elaine Magliaro will receive an engraved medal and a $1,000 cash prize for her debut children’s book Things to Do, illustrated by Catia Chen and published by Chronicle Books in February 2017. Magliaro previously received a 2018 New Writer Honor from the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, which calls Things to Do “a poetic take on the world and the important things in it, from the sun and moon to a pink eraser, as experienced through a child’s eyes and imagination.”
Magliaro was an elementary school teacher for more than three decades and worked as a school librarian for three years. She also taught a children’s literature course at Boston University; served on the advisory board of the Keene State College Children’s Literature Festival; and was a member of the National Council of Teachers of English Poetry Committee. She lives in Massachusetts.
This year’s Margaret Wise Brown Honor Book award of $300 goes to Laura McGee Kvasnosky for Little Wolf’s First Howling, published by Candlewick.
Each year, Hollins invites nominations for the Margaret Wise Brown Prize from children’s book publishers located across the country and around the world. A three-judge panel, consisting of established picture book authors, reviews the nominations and chooses a winner.
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 Amanda Cockrell, director of the children’s literature program 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 over 50 children’s books. Winners are invited to accept the award and present a reading on campus during the summer session of Hollins’ graduate programs in children’s literature.
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. Hollins celebrated her life and work with a year-long Margaret Wise Brown Festival in 2011 and 2012, which featured stage and musical adaptations of her work along with readings, workshops, guest lectures, and other activities for all ages.
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 book illustration.
This summer, Hollins’ children’s literature program will release information on how to submit books for consideration for the 2019 Margaret Wise Brown Prize.