2022 Charlotte Zolotow Lecture
Established in 1998, the lecture was named to honor Charlotte Zolotow, a distinguished children's book editor for 38 years with Harper Junior Books, and author of more than 65 picture books, including such classic works as Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present (Harper, 1962) and William's Doll (Harper, 1972). Ms. Zolotow attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison on a writing scholarship from 1933-36 where she studied with Professor Helen C. White. The Cooperative Children's Book Center, a library of the School of Education of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, administers the event which each year brings a distinguished children's book author or illustrator to the campus to deliver a free public lecture.
Grace Lin and Alvina Ling have been friends since childhood. As adults, they’ve each helped shape the world of contemporary children’s books, Grace as an author and illustrator, Alvina as an editor. Grace has created more than 20 books for children to-date in an already-distinguished career that includes a Newbery honor for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, and a Caldecott honor for A Big Mooncake for Little Star, in addition to being the most recent recipient of the ALA/ALSC Legacy Award for “significant and lasting contributions to children’s literature.” Alvina is Vice President and Editor-in-Chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, bringing her vision and insight to editing children’s books for all ages.
In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Charlotte Zolotow Lecture, and in recognition of Charlotte’s career as both a writer and editor of books for children, we’ve invited Grace and Alvina, cohosts of Book Friends Forever, an entertaining, insightful podcast about children’s book publishing, to talk about some of the things important to them as they engage in the serious work of creating books for children and teens in our world today.
Alvina Ling is VP and Editor-in-Chief at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (a division of Hachette Book Group) where she has worked since 1999. She edits children's books for all ages, from picture books to young adult. She has edited such books as A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin; Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier; Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer, The Wild Robot by Peter Brown, Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, The Candymakers by Wendy Mass, The Silver Arrow by Lev Grossman, The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor; The Diviners by Libba Bray; and The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and two cats.
Before Grace Lin was an award-winning and NY Times bestselling author/illustrator of picture books, early readers and middle grade novels, she was the only Asian girl (except for her sisters) going to her elementary school in Upstate NY. That experience, good and bad, has influenced her books—including her Newbery Honor WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON, her Geisel Honor LING & TING, her National Book Finalist WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER and her Caldecott Honor A BIG MOONCAKE FOR LITTLE STAR. But, it also causes Grace to persevere for diversity as an occasional New England Public Radio commentator and when she gave her TEDx talk “The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf,” as well as her PBSNewsHour video essay “What to do when you realize classic books from your childhood are racist?.” She continued this mission with a hundred episodes of the podcast kidlitwomen* and now currently hosts two other podcasts: Book Friends Forever and Kids Ask Authors. In 2016, Grace’s art was displayed at the White House and Grace, herself, was recognized by President Obama’s office as a Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling. In 2022, Grace was awarded the Children’s Literature Legacy Award from the American Library Association.