NEW YORK—The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, has announced the winners of the 30th annual Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition for grades 3-12. Citywide and borough winning books, honorable mentions and all school-wide winning books will be on exhibit at Brooklyn Public Library Central Library (at Grand Army Plaza), through May 27.
At the awards ceremony to be held on May 20th at Brooklyn Public Library, the citywide and borough winners and honorable mention recipients of the Bookmaking Competition will be given medals. In addition, the Foundation will give the citywide winners $500 and the borough winners $100.
And this year, in honor of the late author-illustrator Ezra Jack Keats’s 100th birthday, each of the educators who assisted city-wide and borough winners will also receive an award—a gift certificate that will allow them to choose 25 children’s books (picture, middle school or young adult) contributed by Keats’ publisher, Penguin Random House.
“These talented young writers and illustrators have worked hard over many weeks, even months, to bring their imaginative ideas to life through their books,” said Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. “It was at public school that Ezra first received recognition for his talent, which encouraged him to pursue his dreams. Our hope is that this award will inspire these young people to pursue their dreams as well.”
“Our students’ creativity, thoughtful work, and perseverance are demonstrated in these outstanding picture books. Each book is evidence of the exemplary teaching and learning that occurs daily in our public schools,” said Karen Rosner, Coordinator of Visual Arts for the New York City Department of Education, and supervisor of the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking initiative. “The exhibition of the winning books at Brooklyn Public Library truly reflects our richly diverse student population and the talent of our public school students.”
“We are proud to exhibit the books made by some of New York’s most talented young people,” said Rachel Payne, Coordinator, Early Childhood Services, Brooklyn Public Library, and one of the judges of the Competition. “Books are our business, and highlighting the outstanding work of future authors and illustrators is as fulfilling a job as we at the BPL can have.”
Brooklyn and Queens Students Take Home Top Awards
The Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition is divided into three categories: elementary (grades 3-5), middle school (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12). Students in District 75 are encouraged to participate, and several are among our winners.
The city-wide winners are:
“Some Skyscrapers Are…” written and illustrated by Roberto Quesada (Grade 5)
P.S. 63, Old South School, Ozone Park, Queens
Maria Panotopoulou, Teacher; Kathleen Fleischmann-Cavanaugh, Librarian; Diane Marino, Principal
The winner says: “I've always loved skyscrapers, so I decided to create a book about them. I decided to give them emotions, so I drew one with a sad face because he was getting demolished and another with a happy face because he was under construction. My favorite page shows old and new skyscrapers together and how they both affect the skyline. I drew in colored pencils, and then my teacher suggested I also try collage. It was hard to do, but worth it! I’m thinking about working on a sequel about my new interest, oceans and ships!”
“A-Z Inventions Through History” written and illustrated by Sarah Cheung (Grade 8)
I.S. 141, The Steinway School, Astoria, Queens
Elisa Barresi and Victoria Iocco, Teachers; Miranda Pavlou, Principal
The winner says: “I’ve always been curious about how things came to be, so I decided to write a book about inventions. Coming up with this idea was easier than all the online research it took to choose and write about each invention. Constructing the book and integrating the pop-ups (to appeal to kids) required imagination and the ability to think outside the box. I never thought I’d win, but it shows that the patience, creativity and persistence it takes to express an idea through writing and illustration is worth it—as long as you enjoy what you’re doing!”
“My Life as a Dandelion” written and illustrated by Crystal Ng (Grade 10)
Brooklyn Technical High School, Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Monica Rowley, Teacher; Randy Asher, Principal
The winner says: “When we think of dandelions, we usually think of someone blowing the seeds away. To me, this is symbolic of freedom, and I wanted to write a book about that. I made the book small because it’s something fun for kids to carry around. I used construction paper, pens, colored markers and pencils, and put a cotton ball in the middle of the dandelion on the cover. There are three pages where you can see the dandelion seeds being blown away, little by little. It shows Michelle, the protagonist, is slowly letting go of her loved ones, and is my favorite part of the book.”