The Kerlan Award is given in recognition of singular attainments in the creation of children's literature and in appreciation for generous donation of unique resources to the Kerlan Collection for the study of children's literature. Individuals from all areas of children's literature, including authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, and educators, are eligible for this honor.

For more information, or to nominate someone to the Kerlan Award Committee, please email

44th Annual Kerlan Award Ceremony

Claudia Mills and Lois Ehlert

 Paper by Lois Ehlert collage featuring racoon with sticks and berries
From Pie in the Sky by Lois Ehlert


Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Reception 5:30 p.m. | Program 6:00 p.m. | Book signing 7:00 p.m.


Claudia Mills, author of over 50 books, is known for writing “school and family stories” that speak to emerging and middle grade readers. U of M Professor Jean Stevenson wrote, “ Mills’ readers experience history in exciting ways, consider BIG ideas such as poverty, perseverance, friendship, honesty, and differing family structures, explore loving relationships with parents and grandparents, and confront ethical dilemmas such as racism and infidelity.”

Picture-book creator Lois Ehlert has illustrated over 40 titles, the majority of which she both wrote and illustrated. Ehlert published her first book, Growing Vegetable Soup, in 1987, and won Caldecott Honors in 1990 for Color Zoo. Her collaborative successes include 1989’s Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, written by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault. 


Past Winners of the Kerlan Award, 1975-

1975 Marie Hall Ets, Marguerite Henry, and Elizabeth Coatsworth
1976 Roger Duvoisin
1977 Wanda Gag
1978 Carol Ryrie Brink
1979 Margot Zemach

1980 Glen Rounds
1981 Tomie DePaola
1982 Jean Craighead George
1983 Katherine Paterson
1984 Margaret Wise Brown and her editors and illustrators
1985 Eleanor Cameron
1986 Charlotte Zolotow
1987 Charles Mikolaycak
1988 Jane Yolen
1989 Gail Haley

1990 Madeline L'Engle
1991 Leonard Everett Fisher
1992 Barbara Cooney
1993 Mary Stolz
1994 Myra Cohn Livingston
1995 Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
1996 Marion Dane Bauer and Paul Galdone
1997 Theodore Taylor
1998 Dahlov Ipcar
1999 Eve Bunting, Lois Lenski, Dr. Edward B. Stanford, and Dr. Norine Odland

2000 Patricia Lauber
2001 Jane Resh Thomas and Don Freeman
2002 Joan Lowery Nixon and Barbara Esbensen
2003 Nikki Grimes and Gustaf Tenggren
2004 Lois Lowry
2005 Ted Rand
2006 Karen Hesse
2007 Karen Cushman and Louis Slobodkin
2008 Walter Dean Myers and Robert Kraus
2009 Jeanette Winter

2010 Nancy Carlson
2011 Jane Kurtz
2012 Karen Nelson Hoyle
2013 Kate DiCamillo
2014 Linda Sue Park and Russell Freedman
2015 Sharon Creech
2016 Betsy and Ted Lewin
2017 John Coy
2018 Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
2019 Lois Ehlert and Claudia Mills