Announcing our 2013 New Voices Award Winner

New Voices Award sealNow in its fourteenth year, our New Voices Award is given to an unpublished author of color for a picture book manuscript. We’re excited to announce the winner of this year’s New Voices Award: Sylvia Liu of Virginia Beach, Virginia for her story, A Morning with Gong Gong. Congratulations, Sylvia!

Liu’s charming and humorous story, A Morning with Gong Gong, portrays an energetic young girl named Mei Mei, as she spends time with her grandfather. When Mei Mei sees her grandfather, Gong Gong, practicing t’ai chi in the garden, she is eager to join in. He tries to teach her the slow and graceful moves, and Mei Mei, in turn, tries to teach Gong Gong some of the yoga poses she has learned in school. Although they both struggle with these new activities, Mei Mei and Gong Gong realize that it’s the time they spend together that is important.

Sylvia Liu is an author and illustrator who was born in the United States to Chinese immigrant parents. Her family moved to Venezuela when she was five years old, and Liu returned to the United States to attend college. She graduated from Harvard Law School and spent a decade as a public interest environmental lawyer, all the while working on her writing and illustration. Liu draws inspiration for her stories from her family, her environmental experiences, and her diverse background. You can learn more about her at her website.

Liu will receive a prize of $1,000 and a publication contract with LEE & LOW BOOKS.


Last year, books written by authors of color made up less than seven percent of the total number of books published (see these CCBC stats). Authors of color have been significantly underrepresented in publishing for many decades.

The New Voices Award is one way LEE & LOW BOOKS is working to help new authors of color break into publishing. Past winners include Bird by Zetta Elliott and It Jes’ Happened by Don Tate. Submissions for next year will open in late spring — stay tuned for more information and please spread the word to any authors you know who may be eligible!



  1. Posted January 15, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    You picked a great author/illustrator. I’ve seen Sylvia’s work and and I’m so excited she won this.

  2. Gayle O'Donnell
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Sylvia is so deserving of this award! She is intelligent, talented, funny, and extremely generous in helping others in the writer/illustrator community. I know she has worked very hard to reach her goals. Congratulations to Sylvia!

  3. Stacy S. Jensen
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Very happy to hear about this award for Sylvia. Extremely excited to see this story in print. Can’t wait to read it!

  4. Posted January 15, 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations Sylvia!

  5. Posted January 15, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    I am a big fan of Sylvia’s work and so excited for her win! Well done, Sylvia — AND Lee & Low!

  6. Posted January 15, 2014 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful choice – SYlvia represents her heritage well and her stories always bridge the feelings and love that we all have in common. So happy for Sylvia!

  7. Jack Delman
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Sylvia has been an inspiration to many since she was a young girl. I was her Middle and High School teacher and can confirm that her family’s strength and unity played an important role in her development. Bravo to her that she uses that as a source of bringing light to others.

  8. sylvialiuland
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this honor. I am so thrilled and love reading all these wonderful comments.

  9. Posted January 21, 2014 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    Yay! for Sylvia. I was very happy to hear the good news and will be posting it on my Writing and Illustrating blog this week. Love when good things happen to good people.


7 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] to Sylvia Lui on being Lee & Low Book’s New Voices Award winner. Now there’s someone who could draw a cracking snail […]

  2. […] I am so pleased to welcome multitalented author-artist Sylvia Liu, Lee and Low’s New Voices Award Winner, to the blog. Congratulations on the New Voices Award, Sylvia! Can you tell us about your winning […]

  3. […] Liu will receive a prize of $1,000 and a publication contract with LEE & LOW BOOKS. Here’s the announcement: […]

  4. […] BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Sylvia Liu. She is the winner of the Lee & Low New Voices Award. She tells all about it in her Interview on Clarike Bowman-Jahn’s […]

  5. […] Sylvia Liu is a winner of the Lee & Low New Voices Award. […]

  6. […] cute little piggy was sent in by Sylvia Liu. Sylvia was selected the 2013 New Voices Award winner by Lee and Low Books and my debut picture book, A MORNING WITH GONG GONG, is scheduled to be […]

  7. […] Sylvia Liu is a winner of the Lee & Low New Voices Award. […]

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