NEW YORK, NY (November 1, 2019)—Little, Brown Books for Young Readers has selected debut talent Morgan Leung as the winner of the third annual Little, Brown Emerging Artist Award. This initiative seeks promising new illustration talent and encourages the development of high-quality picture books that resonate with readers of diverse backgrounds and experiences. The program also provides valuable mentorship by an acclaimed illustrator and a group of children’s book professionals. This year’s judge and mentor was celebrated Caldecott Honoree and Coretta Scott King Award winner Bryan Collier.
The third annual winner Morgan Leung is Chinese-American, born and raised in the small town of Meadville, Pennsylvania. Growing up, he struggled trying to learn Chinese, especially remembering and recognizing the countless different characters. So he set out to create his own book of characters in order to provide a fun and easy way for other kids to learn Chinese characters.
This past spring, he graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art with a degree in graphic design and an emphasis in illustration. He currently works as a UI/UX designer at a medical software company in Cleveland, Ohio.
Winning the Emerging Artist Award opens up a variety of opportunities for these talented creators. The winner of the very first Little, Brown Emerging Artist Award, Jin Xiaojing, has had her debut picture book I Miss My Grandpa selected as one of the New York Times 2019 Best Illustrated titles. The news and a review of the book will run in the November 10 print issue of the New York Times. The book will also be honored at a luncheon at the New York Public Library on November 12. I Miss My Grandpa received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly as well as praise from Working Mother and GeekDad.
Qualifying submissions for the award draw from the rich cultural experiences of this country—whether they manifest in character, theme, setting, plot, or are derived simply from the artist’s own experience of identity. Diversity includes literal or metaphorical inclusion of characters of underrepresented ethnicity, religious background, gender identity, class, mental or physical disability, or of any other nondominant population.
Additional prizing for the Emerging Artist Award includes American Express Gift Cards in the amount of $1,500 and round-trip travel to New York City. The individual who submits the most accomplished picture book idea, in the form of a mock-up, is honored with a full-day mentorship with a professional children’s book design and editorial team and distinguished Artist Mentor. The winner will also have his or her submission reviewed by the Little, Brown Books for Young Readers editorial team for possible future publication.
Artists must be previously unpublished and not currently represented by a publishing agent. In March of each year, one winner will be selected by a panel of three representatives from the Little, Brown Books for Young Readers editorial team along with an Artist Mentor. Submissions are judged based on the quality of their text, art, and storytelling; the incorporation of diversity; and the originality and creativity of their work. For more information and to enter, artists may visit LBArtistAward.com.