PEN American Center has announced the establishment of the PEN/Steven Kroll Award, to acknowledge the literary contributions of picture book writers. Kroll, longtime chair of PEN’s Children’s/Young Adult Book Authors Committee, died on March 8. His 100th and final book will be published in March 2012.

The new annual award recognizes the important role that writers of illustrated children’s books play. “It will pay homage to Kroll’s generosity of spirit in serving PEN ably and devotedly for so many years, and to the children’s literature community he cherished, and of which he was such a proud and noted member,” said PEN executive director Steven Isenberg. The award will be presented for the first time in 2012 and will confer a prize of $5,000; it will acknowledge an American or U.S.-based writer for an exceptional story illustrated in a picture book.