The winning design
With former Governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, in 1985 at ceremony honoring greeting card design contest winners.
Joyce Wan is an author and illustrator of best-selling books for children such as You Are My Cupcake, The Whale in My Swimming Pool, Peek-A-Boo Farm, and Sleepyheads. Joyce’s interest in the arts can be traced all the way back to first grade when she won first place in a city-wide greeting card design contest sponsored by the Art Institute of Boston. Twenty years later, that design would inspire her to launch her own design studio called Wanart where she designed and manufactured greeting cards that were sold to shops and boutiques all over the world. These greeting cards led her to children's book publishing after meeting an art director at a trade show. Her first book Greetings from Kiwi and Pear was published in 2009. Since then, she has published over 30 books for children which have sold a combined total of over 1 million copies worldwide.
Joyce is the recipient of the Mills-Tannenbaum Award for Children's Literacy from Reach Out and Read of Greater New York which recognizes children’s book authors dedicated to promoting a lifelong love of reading in young children. She was also twice chosen to be featured at the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show which showcases original art from the year’s best children’s books (2011, 2016).
Joyce's book Dream Big, a board book that honors 15 female icons and trailblazers throughout history, was selected for the 2020 The Amelia Bloomer Book List presented by the American Library Association.
Joyce is originally from Massachusetts and currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter. She hopes to spread joy through all her work, inspire people to embrace the spirit of childhood, and follow their dreams.
More about Joyce:
- Joyce was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts.
- Joyce's parents are from China and immigrated to the United States in 1977.
- When Joyce was a young child, her mom could not speak English but took her and her siblings to the library every weekend. Although her mom was unable to read English, picture books enabled them to enjoy the pictures and make up stories together. That would be one of the greatest gifts her mom would ever give to her. (Read Joyce's essay on Why Picture Books are Important)
- Joyce spent the early part of her childhood in Boston. That's when her parents used their life savings to open a small Chinese takeout restaurant called New China Garden and they moved to Westwood, Massachusetts, a small town 10 miles south of Boston. Joyce worked at this restaurant every Friday or Saturday night all throughout her middle school and high school years.
- Joyce's parents, having barely a middle school level education, immigrated to the U.S. not knowing any English with nothing more than a desire for a better life. She admires them greatly for all that they have accomplished with so little to begin with. They showed her that with courage, hard work, and determination, you can make your dreams come true. It's a philosophy she lives by and is a major part of how she's doing what she does today.
- Joyce graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University in New York City with a liberal arts degree in Architecture. She is a self-trained artist although she has art school envy all the time!
- When Joyce first started her design business, she was working at a 9am-6pm job at an architectural firm. She spent many late night hours on her own business with only a few hours of sleep in between the two "jobs". She did this for two years before she quit her full time job to pursue her own business full-time.
- Joyce is a self-proclaimed night owl who enjoys drawing and writing in the wee hours (favorite hours: 12am-3am) when everyone’s asleep and the world is quiet.