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2014 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Winners Announced

Awards for New Writer and New Illustrator

NEW YORK, Feb. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation in partnership with the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi announced today the winners of the 28th annual Ezra Jack Keats Book Award.  Each year, a new writer and new illustrator are celebrated. The 2014 awards ceremony will be held on April 10th during the Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival, at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. The winners receive a gold medallion as well as an honorarium of $1,000. Kathi Appelt, award-winning author of numerous children's and young adult's books, will be guest presenter.

"The Book Award provides an extraordinary opportunity to celebrate and encourage exceptional new writers and illustrators, who are rarely recognized early in their careers," said Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. "These new artists have created books of beauty in the spirit of Keats that portray the universal qualities of childhood, a strong and supportive family and the multicultural nature of our world."

"As the keepers of important children's literature, including the Ezra Jack Keats Archive of original manuscripts and related work, we enthusiastically embrace these excellent new writers and illustrators, whose own books may one day join Ezra's in the de Grummond Collection," said Ellen Ruffin, Curator of the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection.

The 2014 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award Winner Is:

Ame Dyckman for Tea Party Rules
Published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA)

Cub has discovered a backyard tea party with cookies to boot. But before he can dig in, the hostess shows up with rules, rules and more rules for playing tea party!  Cub tries, but it's a lot for one bear to take. The two eventually become friends as they learn together about the give-and-take of playtime.

Dyckman said, "I wrote Tea Party Rules so bears would read it and realize we're really not that different. When you next meet a bear, please pass along my invitation to stop by and play—and let them know I'm willing to compromise on the Rules. I keep hosting backyard tea parties. I keep baking cookies. (You know, for research.) I'm hoping a bear will come along tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm completely moved and honored and honestly, astonished to receive this award. Mr. Keats' books are childhood and play, and I wish I could have had him over for tea, too."

Tea Party Rules was illustrated by K.G. Campbell, who received an Ezra Jack Keats Honor Book Award for this book.  This is Campbell's second consecutive Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor Book Award.

The 2014 Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award Winner Is:

Christian Robinson for Rain!
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

It's a matter of perspective in Rain! when a high-spirited little boy sporting a green frog hat ("Hoppy, hoppy, hoppy!") and a grumpy man ("dang puddles") have very different experiences with the weather. Eventually crossing paths, the boy helps turn the man's day around. Set in the city, the book's vibrant cut-paper-style artwork brings the story to life.

Robinson said, "It is an honor to receive the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award because Ezra was one of my greatest influences on many levels. Like in his books, I used a cut-paper style for the artwork in Rain!. And because Rain! uses few words to tell its story, my challenge as an illustrator was to play and explore, with the purpose of bringing this rainy-day cityscape to life and conveying the contrasting moods of the two main characters."

Rain! was written by Linda Ashman.

The 2014 Ezra Jack Keats Honor Book Award Winners Are:

2014 New Writer Honor

  • Pat Zietlow Miller for Sophie's Squash (published by Schwartz & Wade, a division of Random House)
  • Linda Davick for I Love You, Nose! I Love You, Toes! (published by Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division)

2014 New Illustrator Honor

  • K.G. Campbell for Tea Party Rules (published by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group [USA])
  • Aaron Meshon for Take Me Out to the Yakyu (published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers)
  • Marta Altés for My Grandpa (published by Abrams Books for Young Readers)

The Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Criteria
To be eligible for the 2014 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award, the author and/or illustrator will have no more than three children's picture books published prior to the year under consideration. 

The selection committee is comprised of early childhood education specialists, librarians, illustrators and experts in children's literature, including: Caroline Ward, Chair, Rita Auerbach, Carolyn Brodie, Nina Crews, Pat Cummings, Ginny Moore Kruse, Marisabina Russo, Lisa Von Drasek and Paul O. Zelinsky.

Ex-Officio members are: Deborah Pope, Executive Director, Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, and Ellen Ruffin, Curator, de Grummond Children's Literature Collection.

For a complete list of past Ezra Jack Keats Book Award winners, visit www.ezra-jack-keats.org/news/ezra-jack-keats-award-winners/

For information about submissions, visit http://www.lib.usm.edu/legacy/degrum/public_html/html/keats_writer.shtml

About the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
Founded by the late Caldecott award-winning children's book author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation fosters children's love of reading and creative expression by supporting arts and literacy programs in public schools and libraries; cultivating new writers and illustrators of exceptional picture books that reflect the experience of childhood in our diverse culture; and protecting and promoting the work of Keats, the preeminent author-illustrator whose book The Snowy Day broke the color barrier in mainstream children's publishing.  Keats. Imagination. Diversity. 

For more 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.

For more about the de Grummond, please visit www.lib.usm.edu/legacy/degrum/public_html/.

Sheree Wichard / Donel Young 
718-788-9585 / 732-295-2406
[email protected] / [email protected]

SOURCE Ezra Jack Keats Foundation

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