HomeChinese AmericanChinese American illustrator Ed Young dies at 91

Chinese American illustrator Ed Young dies at 91

Chinese American illustrator Ed Young has died at 91. According to The New York Times, his daughter Antonia confirmed that Young died on Sept. 29 at his home in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

Young illustrated close to 100 children’s books, winning several awards throughout his lifetime.

According to Publisher’s Weekly, Young was born on November 28, 1931 in Tianjin, China, a coal mining town. When he was 19, he immigrated to the U.S. on a student visa. He attended City College in San Francisco and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. At first, he studied architecture but later switched to art. He graduated from the graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, in 1957.

After college, Young pursued an advertising career in New York City. According to The New York Times, he would spend lunches drawing animals at the zoo. He hated his advertising job and decided to pursue a career as an illustrator.

Harper & Row editor Ursula Nordstrom helped kickstart Young’s illustrating career, Publisher’s Weekly reports. Nordstrom hired Young to draw for The Mean Mouse and Other Stories by Janice M. Udry. The book was published in 1962 and earned Young an award from the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

According to The New York Times, Young won three Caldecott Medals. He received the first medal in 1968 for his illustrations in “The Emperor and His Kite,” written by Jane Yolen.

Young hoped his illustrations would help children learn and grow.

“Before I am involved with a project I must be moved, and as I try something exciting, I grow,” he wrote on his website, according to Publisher’s Weekly. “It is my purpose to stimulate growth in the reader as an active participant as well. I feel the story has to be exciting, and a moving experience for a child.”

Young’s friends and colleagues admired his approach to illustrating.

“All the world was Ed’s paint box: a scrap of wrapping paper, a brown paper bag, a discarded piece of metal. Nothing was ever ‘found’ for Ed, every thing, every scrap, was something to be repurposed for art’s sake,” Patricia Lee Gauch, former editorial director of Philomel Books, said, according to Publisher’s Weekly.

Young is survived by two daughters.

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