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  • Writer's pictureDawn Smith

Ezra Jack Keats Award Featured in Online Exhibit

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

Image is a gold circle, a seal. In the middle is a child in all red looking down at three sets of footprints, also in red. Below the child is the text, Ezra Jack Keats Award

The Ezra Jack Keats Award at the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection provides an in-depth look at the authors, illustrators, and books that have received the award over since 2012, when Southern Miss became the co-sponsor of the award. It also provides clippings and photos from the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival. during which the awards are presented. The 2020 Children's Book Festival was canceled for the first time in 52 years due to Covid-19, making the exhibit more meaningful.

The Ezra Jack Keats Award for New Writer was conceived in 1983 by Hannah Nuba, Director of the New York Public Library’s Early Childhood Resource and Information Center (ECRIC), and proposed to Drs. Martin and Lillie Pope, Directors of the EJK Foundation. Drs. Martin and Lillie Pope approved the concept and agreed to support the award. Dr. Bernice Cullinan was enlisted to assist in developing the award. In 2001, a parallel award for illustration was instituted. Both are now annual awards.

In 2012, the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection (de Grummond) at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) became a co-sponsor of the award. Also in 2012, the EJK Book Award was expanded to include Honor Books. The EJK Foundation is responsible for financial support and advisory council, and the de Grummond is responsible for administration.

In 2018 and with board approval, the name of the award was changed to The Ezra Jack Keats Award for Writer and Illustrator.

Click here to view the exhibit.

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