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27th Annual Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Book Awards

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The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi is currently accepting submissions from publishers for the 27th Annual Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Book Awards (known collectively as the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award). Submissions will be accepted at any time during the year through Dec. 30, 2012.

“Since 1985, the Book Award has been given to an outstanding new writer and new illustrator of picture books for children who share Ezra’s values—the universal qualities of childhood and the multicultural nature of our world,” said Deborah Pope, Executive Director of The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. “We encourage publishers to submit works by the next generation of talent who, like Ezra, ‘The Granddaddy of Diversity,’ are committed to celebrating diversity through their writing and art.”

“The success of The Snowy Day inspired Ezra to keep on creating children’s books,” said Ellen Ruffin, Curator of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection and the home of the Ezra Jack Keats Archive. “Our hope is that this year’s winners will be encouraged to continue their work just as Ezra was. Perhaps one day their books will join Ezra’s in the de Grummond collection.”

Past winners of the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award include:

Valerie Flournoy—New Writer—The Patchwork Quilt—1986

Faith Ringgold—New Writer—Tar Beach—1993

Bryan Collier—New Illustrator—Uptown—2001

Jerome Lagarrigue—New Illustrator—and Deborah Wiles—New Writer—Freedom Summer—2002

Sophie Blackall—New Illustrator—Ruby’s Wish—2003

Ana Juan—New Illustrator—The Night Eater—2005

David Ezra Stein—New Writer—Leaves—2008

Meg Medina—New Writer—Tia Isa Wants a Car—2012

Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw—New Illustrator—Same, Same but Different—2012

Added Pope, “Children’s illustrated literature is a pathway to understanding, showing young readers relatable stories about people from different walks of life. We are so pleased to have played a part in nurturing the careers of several prominent writers and illustrators whose works have opened the eyes of children across the country and around the world.” 

The 2013 awards ceremony will be held next April in conjunction with The University of Southern Mississippi’s Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival.

The Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Criteria

To be eligible for the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award, writers and illustrators must have published no more than three books. Entries must have a 2012 copyright date, and may be sent at any time during the year prior to the deadline of December 30, 2012.

In addition to the Award, the winners—a children’s book writer and an illustrator—will receive an honorarium of $1,000 coupled with the esteemed Ezra Jack Keats medallion. Further, a gold seal with the image of Peter, the protagonist in The Snowy Day, in his red snow suit is available to the publisher to affix to copies of the book. 

The selection committee is comprised of early childhood education specialists, librarians, illustrators and experts in children’s literature.

For more information about submissions and past Ezra Jack Keats Book Award winners, visit: http://www.ezra-jack-keats.org/news/ezra-jack-keats-award-winners/.

About The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation supports arts and literacy programs in public schools and libraries across the country that bring the joy of reading to children while highlighting the importance of diversity in children’s books. In addition to the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award, the Foundation’s annual programs include the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition for New York City public school students, grades 3-12; and the Ezra Jack Keats Minigrant program, which has put more than three-quarters of a million dollars in funding directly into the hands of teachers and librarians across the United States whose programs reach beyond the basic curriculum to inspire.  For information about the Foundation please visit www.ezra-jack-keats.org.

About the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection

The de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi is one of North America’s leading research centers in the field of children’s literature. The Collection holds the original manuscripts and illustrations of more than 1,300 authors and illustrators, as well as 180,000+ mostly American and British published books dating back to 1530. Since 1985, the de Grummond Collection has been the home of the Ezra Jack Keats Archive, which includes manuscripts, typescripts, sketches, dummies, illustrations and proofs for Ezra Jack Keats’ books.