Children’s author and illustrator Ed Young, who is known for his intricate illustrations in numerous children’s books, died at the age of 91 in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.
About Young: Young died on Sept. 29 at his home, his daughter Antonia Young confirmed. He is survived by Antonia and another daughter, Ananda.
Young was known for his many Caldecott Medal-winning books and his prolific career that included authoring 17 and illustrating over 80 children’s books. Young’s works often combined the elements of fantasy, fairy tales, folktales and poetry, drawing inspiration from traditional Chinese storytelling and his life as an immigrant.
Young’s illustration career: Young, who was born on Nov. 28, 1931, moved to the U.S. at 17, where he pursued education in architecture and art. While working for a Manhattan design studio, he developed his passion for drawing animals at the Central Park Zoo during his lunch breaks.
When the design studio closed, Young’s friends encouraged him to try illustrating children’s books. He took his drawings to Harper & Row, where he met editor Ursula Nordstrom, who gave him his first illustration assignment for “The Mean Mouse and Other Mean Stories” by Janice May Udry in 1962.
He eventually won his first Caldecott Medal for his illustrations in “The Emperor and the Kite” by Jane Yolen in 1968 before going on to earn two more Caldecott Medals for books he wrote and illustrated, including “Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China” (1990) and “Seven Blind Mice” (1993).
Challenging conventional notions: Young aimed to bridge cultures between East and West. His works were noted for their nuance and ability to challenge conventional notions of children’s comprehension. He believed that children were capable of understanding a wide range of emotions and complexities in storytelling.
“They respond with fascination,” he told The New York Times in 1992. “I always find children much more sophisticated than people suppose. My feeling is that children are just as capable of understanding these ranges of emotions as adults.”