Jerry Pinkney wins 2016 Wilder Award

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/11/2016


Macey Morales

Deputy Director

Public Awareness Office

American Library Association

312 280 4393

BOSTON – Author and Illustrator Jerry Pinkney is the winner of the 2016 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honoring an author or illustrator, published in the United States, whose books have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. His numerous works include [Julius Lester’s] “John Henry” (Dial Books for Young Readers, 1994) and [Patricia C. McKissack’s] “Mirandy and Brother Wind (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009).

The award was announced today, during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Boston. The award is administered annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA, and is named for its first recipient in 1954.

Jerry Pinkney is an extraordinary visual storyteller. His subjects illuminate the African-American experience, the joys of classic literature, and the age-old wisdom embodied in familiar folktales,” said Wilder Award Committee Chair Chrystal Carr Jeter.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Pinkney struggled with dyslexia as a child, but his mother read books to him and both his parents encouraged his love of drawing. Pinkney earned a scholarship to the Philadelphia Museum College of Art and illustrated his first children’s book in 1964. For over 50 years, he has created engaging, enduring art published in more than 100 books. He and his wife, author Gloria Jean Pinkney, have four children and a number of grandchildren.  

Jerry Pinkney’s award-winning works include “The Lion and the Mouse,” recipient of the Caldecott Award in 2010. In addition, Pinkney has received five Caldecott Honor Awards, five Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards, and four Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honors.   .

Brimming with warmth and imagination, Pinkney’s artwork graces a broad range of genres. His books of history, legend, and historical fiction often focus on the African American experience, while his illustrations for classic tales from Aesop, Grimm, and Andersen capture the humor, beauty, and pathos of those stories. Pinkney’s command of line, color, and composition shows his classical training, but his work has a liveliness, strength, and grace that cannot be taught.

Once in a while, a book comes along that shows mastery of the challenging picture-book form. Pinkney’s “The Lion and the Mouse” is such a book. Beginning with the striking image of a lion’s face on the front jacket cover, readers know that this volume offers something special. Even children too young to decode text can “read” the narrative illustrations in this thoughtfully conceived and beautifully illustrated picture book.

Members of the 2016 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award Committee are: Chair Chrystal Carr Jeter, Willoughby (Ohio)-Eastlake Public Library; Maria E. Gentle, Arlington (Va.) Public Library; Kathleen T. Isaacs, Pasadena, Md.; Carolyn Phelan, Northbrook (Ill.) Public Library; and Martha Seif Simpson, Stratford (Conn.) Library.

ALSC is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children.  With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit their website at more information on the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award and other ALA literary awards, please visit