The 2016 Youth Media Awards were announced this morning at 8 a.m. during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting & Exhibition in Boston. Jerry Pinkney, award-winning children’s books illustrator, is this year’s winner of not one, but two, colossal honors: the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Winner of the Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration, the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the Virginia Hamilton Literary award, the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion, and recipient of five Caldecott Honors, five Coretta Scott King Awards, four New York Times Best Illustrated Awards, eight total Gold and Silver Society of Illustrators medals, plus the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, it seems fitting that Pinkney be recognized for what could easily feel like two lifetimes worth of work.

jerry pinkney lifetime achievement award

Pinkney, a Germantown Philadelphia native, and a once struggling student, began drawing at the age of 4 in an effort to combat his classroom experience.

“I noticed I could do something the other kids couldn’t…I had a talent. I drew great satisfaction from making pictures and was acutely aware of how it centered my being.”

Doing something others couldn’t, indeed. During his more than forty-year career, Pinkney has illustrated countless children’s literary classics, been featured in more than 25 art exhibits, and designed the covers of some of America’s most successful novels and plays, Their Eyes Were Watching God included.

jerry pinkney lifetime achievement

From The Tales of Uncle Remus: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit  to The Tortoise & The Hare, to The Lion & The Mouse, Noah’s Ark –  even The Little Match Girl – Pinkney’s work is an integral thread in the tapestry of black millenial youth memories.

jerry pinkney lifetime achievement

There has been no shortage of celebration from the masses.

Will this year, in fact, be the year of Pinkney? We have our own suspicions but, Jerry Pinkney’s lifetime of outstanding work means we’re certainly more than willing to wait it out.