Author Laurence Yep wins 2005 Wilder Award

Contacts: Larra Clark/Macey Morales

ALA Media Relations

For Immediate Release

January 17, 2005

Author Laurence Yep wins 2005 Wilder Award

Laurence Yep, the premier voice of the Chinese-American experience in literature for young people, is the winner of the 2005 Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal. His numerous works include “Dragonwings,” “The Rainbow People,” “The Khan’s Daughter” and the autobiographical “The Lost Garden.”

“Across a variety of literary genres, Laurence Yep explores the dilemma of the cultural outsider,” said Committee Chair Janice M. Del Negro. “The universality of this theme is illuminated by Yep’s attention to the complexity and conflict within and across cultures.”

The Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator, published in the United States, whose books have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. The award was announced January 17, 2005, during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Boston. The award is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA, and is named for its first recipient in 1954.

Born in San Francisco in 1948, Laurence Yep grew up in an African American neighborhood and attended a bilingual school in Chinatown. His first novel, “Sweetwater,” a science fiction novel, was edited by Charlotte Zolotow and published in 1973. His writing spans more than 30 years and includes more than 55 titles.

Yep’s award-winning works include “Dragonwings” (Newbery Honor, 1976; Phoenix Award, 1995), “Dragon’s Gate” (Newbery Honor, 1994) and “Child of the Owl” (Boston Globe Horn Book Award, 1977). In addition, the author has been honored by the National Council of Teachers of English, the Children’s Literature Association, the National Council of Teachers of Social Studies and the Commonwealth Club of California.

“Yep’s books are characterized by their multi-faceted depictions of cultural conflicts and reconciliations,” Del Negro said. “His titles invite all readers to expand their awareness of an under-represented area of American history.

“The “Golden Mountain Chronicles” series, a multi-volume saga, follows seven generations of the Young family, from their lives in China to their immigration to the United States to their growing identities as Chinese-Americans. The author’s meticulous attention to research and scholarship lends detail and authority to this and all of his writings.”

Members of the Wilder committee are: Chair Janice Del Negro, Dominican University, River Forest, Ill.; Viki Ash-Geisler, Spokane Public Library, Wash.; Toni Bernardi, San Francisco Public Library; Karen Nelson Hoyle, Kerlan Collection, University of Minnesota Libraries, Minneapolis; and Grace W. Ruth, San Francisco Public Library.

More information about the Wilder Award can be found at For information on other ALA literary awards, please visit