Kerlan Award

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Kerlan Award
Awarded for Given to outstanding writers and illustrators represented in the Kerlan Collection.
Country United States
Presented by University of Minnesota's Kerlan Collection
First awarded 1975
Official website

The Kerlan Award is a literary award given by the University of Minnesota's Kerlan Collection, a special library focusing on children's literature. Many awards focus on the finished product, but the Kerlan Award is given based on the creative process. It 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."[1]

Criteria for award[edit]

  • The writer or illustrator must be represented within the Kerlan Collection
  • The award should promote the goals of the collection and,
  • that 'contribution' would emphasize the creative process.[1]
  • Awards may be given to a living person or posthumously.

Further refinement of the original guidelines have defined 'singular attaiments' as peer acceptance, volume of work and a high standard of quality and the term 'generous donation' was tied directly to high research value in the area of children's literature.

The Kerlan Collection[edit]

Irvine Kerlan, M.D. was a Minnesota native who earned his medical degree through the University of Minnesota. Throughout a successful medical career, which included working for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and lecturing throughout the United States he also collected children's books, artwork and manuscripts. His collection was so well respected that he loaned many of his piece out to libraries and museums both within the United States and abroad.[1]

As his collecting hobby advanced, he began writing to authors and illustrators requesting meetings. He would invite them to his home, or visit them as his lecture schedule allowed. He often had books and manuscripts inscribed by these artists and writers. He became an Honorary Consultant on Children's Books for the Smithsonian Institution from 1958 to 1961 and had three of his exhibits travel through Europe, Asia and the Middle East after being sponsored by the U. S. Department of State.[1]

Kerlan was killed in an automobile accident in 1976 and his collection of over 9,000 books, 180 manuscripts and many illustrations was willed to the University of Minnesota. There were also many types of correspondence with authors, artists, editors.[1]

Kerlan was the first of many estates given to the University of Minnesota libraries, and together these collections have become known as the Children's Literature Research Center (CLRC).[1] Many famous authors and illustrators have donated works to the collection as well. Lois Lowry has given her original corrected manuscripts for thirteen novels, including her Newbery Award winning Number the Stars and The Giver. James Marshall has donated hundreds of sketches including many from the George and Martha and Miss Nelson series.

There are over 1,800 authors and illustrators represented in the collection with an item count of over 200,000.[2]

History of The Kerlan Award[edit]

The Kerlan Award was created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Kelan Collection coming to the University of Minnesota library. It was given the distinction of being a Presidential Citation at its creation.[1]

Kerlan Award recipients[edit]

Year Winner
1975 Marie Hall Ets
Marguerite Henry
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 E. Haley
1990 Madeleine L'Engle
1991 Leonard Everett Fisher
1992 Barbara Cooney
1993 Mary Stolz
1994 Myra Cohn Livingston
1995 Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Margot Tomes
1996 Marion Dane Bauer
Paul Galdone
1997 Theodore Taylor
1998 Dahlov Ipcar
1999 Eve Bunting
Lois Lenski
Dr. Edward B. Stanford Sandford had encouraged Kerlan to donate his collection to the U of M library and, upon Kerlan's unexpected death, he was the one to secure marshals to guard the house while the collection was evaluated, catalogued and moved.[1]
Dr. Norine Odland Dr. Orland was one of the first to recognize the high research value of the collection and bring students to view the works presented.[1]
2000 Patricia Lauber
2001 Jane Resh Thomas
Don Freeman
2002 Joan Lowery Nixon
Barbara Esbensen
2003 Nikki Grimes
Gustaf Tenggren
2004 Lois Lowry
2005 Ted Rand
2006 Karen Hesse
2007 Karen Cushman
Louis Slobodkin
2008 Walter Dean Myers
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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Berman, Ruth. The Kerlan Award in Children's Literature:1975-2001. University of Minnesota Press, 2001. ISBN 1-880654-25-3
  2. ^ Publishers Weekly; 8/25/89, Vol. 236 Issue 8, p26, 2p

External links[edit]