TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Ed Young

Ed Young

Caldecott Medalist Ed Young has illustrated over eighty books for children, fifteen of which he has also written. The inspiration for his work can be found in the philosophy of Chinese painting, which teaches the art of enriching the beauty of language through vibrant yet simple images.
“A Chinese painting is often accompanied by words,” explained Young. “They are complementary. There are things that words do that pictures never can, and likewise, there are images that words can never describe.”
Content, and the telling of the tale itself, provide Young with the initial inspiration for his art and with the motivation for pace, design, and sequence. Essential to his work is accuracy in research – whether he is illustrating fantasy, folk tale, or fact. According to Young, a strong foundation of credibility must be established in order to create new and exciting images. Through such images, he hopes to capture his readers and ultimately stimulate some sort of awareness in them.
For Young, challenge and growth are central in his role as illustrator, and it is this quest for growth that caused him to move away from commercial art in the 1960’s. Young wanted something more expansive, something more expressive, something more timeless and without boundaries. He found what he was looking for in children’s books.
“I feel the story has to be exciting, and a moving experience for a child,” Young explains. “Before I am involved with a project I must be moved, and as I grow, I try to create something exciting. It is my purpose to stimulate growth in the reader as an active participant.”
Ed Young was born in Tientsin, China, grew up in Shanghai, and later moved to Hong Kong. He came to the United States as a young man on a student visa to study architecture but turned instead to his love of art. A graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Young has since taught at the Pratt Institute, Yale University, Naropa Institute, and the University of California at Santa Cruz. In 1990, his book Lon Po Po was awarded the Caldecott Medal. He has also received two Caldecott Honors – for The Emperor and the Kite and Seven Blind Mice – and was twice nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award.
Young lives in Westchester, New York, with his wife, two daughters, and two cats.

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