top of page

GUIDELINES AND CRITERIA FOR THE EZRA JACK KEATS AWARD

Ezra Jack Keats Award for Writer

The EJK Award is given to a new writer for a picture book written in the tradition of EJK that:

  • Highlights the universal qualities of childhood and the strength of the family, and community.

  • Reflects the multicultural nature of our world.

  • Has an original text and original story (no folktales or retelling of folktales).

  • Unifies illustrations and text.

  • Avoids stereotypes.

  • Is respectful of the child’s intelligence, sensitivity, curiosity, and love of learning.

  • Displays freshness and originality of language and literary expression.

 

The Award is given for distinguished writing and text, not for illustration.

 

The intent of the Award is to identify and encourage early talent and to promote the creation of outstanding diverse literature for children. To be eligible, the author will have no more than three books published under any name, prior to the book under consideration. Both U.S. and international writers are eligible for booksthat are published in North America, and in the English language.

 

Self-published books are not eligible for consideration. Books must be available through national distribution, i.e. Ingram and/or Baker & Taylor. We do not review ebook-only or print-on-demand titles. Books must be submitted by the publisher.

 

Ezra Jack Keats Award for Illustrator

The EJK Award is given to a new illustrator for a picture book illustrated in the tradition of Ezra Jack Keats that:

 

  • Highlights the universal qualities of childhood and the strength of the family, and community.

  • Reflects the multicultural nature of our world.

  • Unifies illustrations and text (if present).

  • Avoids stereotypes.

  • Is respectful of the child’s intelligence, sensitivity, curiosity and love of learning.

  • Demonstrate excellent command of the chosen medium.

  • Display freshness and originality in style and/or form of artistic expression.

 

The Award is given for distinguished artwork that creatively and skillfully embodies the essence of the story or text.

 

The intent of the Award is to identify and encourage early talent and to promote the creation of outstanding diverse literature for children. To be eligible, the illustrator will have no more than three books published under any name prior to the book under consideration. Both U. S. and international artists are eligible forbooks that are published in North America, and in the English language.

 

Self-published books are not eligible for consideration. Books must be available through national distribution, i.e. Ingram and/or Baker & Taylor. We do not review ebook-only or print-on-demand titles. Books must be submitted by the publisher.

Nature of the Awards and the Award Ceremony

 

The winning author and illustrator will each receive, at the award ceremony, a monetary award of $5,000 and the EJK medallion suspended in lucite and inscribed with the recipient’s name, the name of their book and the year it was published.

 

The EJK Award ceremony is held in early April during the Fay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival at The University of Southern Mississippi. In order to receive the award, the winning writer and illustrator must attend the ceremony. The publishers are responsible for making arrangements for authors and illustrators to be at the Award ceremony.

 

Honor book winners will receive a monetary award of $2,000 and a glass plaque inscribed with the recipient’s name, the name of their book and the year it was published.

 

It is required that the publisher purchase and affix the Gold medallion book seals depicting Peter in a redsnowsuit from The Snowy Day, or a digital image of the seal, to all copies of the winning books.

 

It is required that the publisher purchase and affix the Silver medallion book seals depicting Peter in a redsnowsuit from The Snowy Day, or a digital image of the seal, to all copies of the honor books.

 

Information regarding the purchase, at cost, of the foil or digital seal can be obtained from dpope@ezra-jack-keats.org

 

Submissions

Publishers submit books that meet the guidelines and criteria for the Ezra Jack Keats Award. To meet the submission deadline, books must be postmarked no later than December 15, 2023. Publishers will identify submitted books as EJK Award entries for Writer and/or Illustrator and send one copy of each book to each committee member; to the curator of the de Grummond Collection; and to Dr. Deborah Pope, executive director of the EJK Foundation. It is critical that each committee member, the curator, and the executive director receive a copy of each book in order that it be properly considered for the Award

 

For additional information, please contact:

Karlie Herndon, Interim Curator, de Grummond Children's Literature Collection

Karlie.Herndon@usm.edu

601.266.4086

Marge Sauls, Collections Specialist, de Grummond Children's Literature Collection

Margaret.Sauls@usm.edu

601.266.4349

The University of Southern Mississippi

118 College Drive #5148

Hattiesburg, MS 39406

ejkaward_silver-flat copy.png
EJKAward_gold.png

2023-2024 Ezra Jack Keats Award Committee

Shannan Hicks, Committee Chair

EJK Award Committee

7645 Vestal Blvd., Apt. 1

Maumelle, AR 72113

 

Rita Auerbach

EJK Award Committee

140 West End Ave., #12J

New York, NY 10023

 

Sam Bloom

EJK Award Committee

6264 Rogers Park Place

Cincinnati, OH 45213

 

Monica Brown

EJK Award Committee

7325 Buena Terra Way

Scottsdale, AZ 85250

 

Pat Cummings

EJK Award Committee

28 Tiffany Pl.

Brooklyn, NY 11231

Melissa Iwai

EJK Award Committee

28 Sidney Pl.

Brooklyn, NY 11201

 

Cathie Mercier

EJK Award Committee

466 Pleasant Street

Melrose, MA 02176

 

Chris Raschka

EJK Award Committee

599 West End Ave., #6A

New York, NY 10024

 

Deborah Taylor

EJK Award Committee

912 N. Central Ave.

Baltimore, MD 21202

Ex Officio Members 

Deborah Pope, Executive Director

Ezra Jack Keats Foundation                                                                                                                                    

450 14th Street                                                                                                                                                                 

Brooklyn, NY 11215  

Ellen Ruffin

ATTN: EJK Coordinator

de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection                                                                                                                 

118 College Drive, #5148                                                                                                                                          

Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Admission and Events Coordinator

Kaigler Book Festival / School of Library and Information Science

129 Fritzsche-Gibbs Hall
118 College Dr. #5146
Hattiesburg, MS 39406

Caroline Ward

Mock EJK Award

8 Osee Place

Cos Cob CT 06807

bottom of page