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Ed Young: Renowned Chinese American Writer and Illustrator

February 4th, 2013
Jennie · Staff Recommendations

Ed Young is an award winning writer and illustrator of more than eighty children’s books, seventeen of which he has also written. His books have been nominated and have won many prestigious awards. He will be our guest of honor at the Chinese New Year Celebration at the West Harrison Library on Chinese New Year Eve, Sat. Feb. 9th 16th at 2 pm.

Born in 1931 and grew up during WWII, Ed Young was raised by his American educated father and a very artistic mother. To shelter his growing family from the war, his engineer father made a deal with a landowner to build a grand house in the safest area, near where the embassies were in Shanghai, to allow his family to live there for twenty years then give it back to the landowner. It was in this house where Ed Young’s imagination and artistic interest were nurtured. His book The House Baba Built: an Artist’s Childhood in China is a poignant memoir based on his childhood spent in this house.

Like his father before him, Ed Young, at the age of twenty, came to America to study architecture, and later on changed to art. While working as a commercial artist, he longed for a place where he could make his art timeless. He found this and much more in children’s picture books. The first picture book he illustrated, “The Mean Mouse and Other Mean Stories” by Janice May Urdry, won the American Institute of Graphics Arts Award for the fifty most beautiful books of 1962.

Since 1962, he has written and illustrated numerous picture books, many of which are folk lore derived from Chinese, Native American, Indian, Persian, and other cultures. In the past fifty years, more than twenty five of his books have won local, national, and international awards. In 1989, Lon Po Po: a Red-Riding Hood Story from China won Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture books. He has also received two Caldecott Honors for The Emperor and the Kite in 1967 and Seven Blind Mice in 1992. He was twice nominated for Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the highest international recognition given to a living writer and an illustrator of children’s books for making a lasting contribution to children’s literature.

To learn more about Ed Young’s art and work, borrow and read his books from your library and come meet him in person on Saturday Feb. 9th 16th at West Harrison Library.

Following are my favorite books written and/or illustrated by Ed Young.

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