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The Charlotte Zolotow Award

Cheryl Minnema wins the 2020 Charlotte Zolotow Award for Johnny's Pheasant.

List of previous winners, honor books and highly commended titles

The Charlotte Zolotow Award is given annually to the author of the best picture book text published in the United States in the preceding year. Established in 1998, the award is named to honor the work of Charlotte Zolotow, a distinguished children's book editor for 38 years with Harper Junior Books, and author of more than 70 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 award is administered by the Cooperative Children's Book Center, a children's literature library of the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Each year a committee of children's literature experts selects the winner from the books published in the preceding year. The winner is announced in January each year. A bronze medallion is formally presented to the winning author in the spring during an annual public event that honors the career of Charlotte Zolotow.

Members of the selection committee are appointed to a two-year term by the CCBC professional staff based on an individual's knowledge of children's books, a demonstrated ability to evaluate children's books and discuss them critically, and/or direct experience working professionally with children from birth through age seven. A CCBC librarian serves as one of the five members. Members are appointed to staggered, two-year terms.


Any picture book for young children (birth through age seven) originally written in English and published by a U.S. publisher in the United States in the previous year is eligible for consideration for the award. (Information about submissions for the 2021 award will be available this spring.)

Eligible books may be fiction, nonfiction or folklore, as long as it is presented in picture book form for children from birth through age seven.  Translated books, poetry collections, and easy readers are not eligible. “Published” refers to a physical, printed book. Books published only as e-books/digital books are not eligible as there is not currently a standard, accessible platform for all e-books freely available. (PDFs of e-books do not qualify as print publishing.)

“U.S. publisher” means the publisher must have editorial offices in the United States.

The committee selects one winner each year. It may also designate up to five honor books and up to ten titles to be included on a highly commended list that will call attention to outstanding writing in picture books. 

Books may be submitted by publishers, although the judges may consider any eligible book that comes to their attention.

Submission Information

Information about submisssions for the 2021 award will be available this spring.



Charlotte Zolotow Award Seals

Charlotte Zolotow Award Notecards

Charlotte Zolotow Lecture

Support the Charlotte Zolotow Award and Lecture

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