Penguin Random House author Jacqueline Woodson was named the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award Laureate, the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. The prize amounts to 5 million Swedish krona (approximately $613,000). Woodson is the author of more than thirty books, including novels, poetry and picture books. One of her most lauded titles is the National Book Award- winning memoir in verse BROWN GIRL DREAMING (Nancy Paulsen Books).
The award announcement from Sweden was made on March 27 at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Domestic and international outlets such as New York Daily News, Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Shelf Awareness, and the BBC have shared the good news. Woodson will be interviewed this Friday by Gayle King for the CBS This Morning podcast.
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award will be presented by H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden in a ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall on May 28.
The citation of the jury reads: “Jacqueline Woodson introduces us to resilient young people fighting to find a place where their lives can take root. In language as light as air, she tells stories of resounding richness and depth. Jacqueline Woodson captures a unique poetic note in a daily reality divided between sorrow and hope.”
Woodson frequently writes about teens making the transition from childhood to adult life. Masterful characterization and a deep understanding of the adolescent psyche are hallmarks of her work. Her books are written in the first person, usually from a female point of view. Racism, segregation, economic injustice, social exclusion, prejudice and sexual identity are all recurring themes. In January, she was named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature in the United States.
“It’s important to hold up mirrors for kids to see their experience is legitimate. Too often those mirrors aren’t there for them,” says Woodson.