The Ezra Jack Keats Award is given annually to an outstanding new writer and new illustrator that portray the universal qualities of childhood, a strong and supportive family, and the multicultural nature of our world.
This year, a distinguished selection committee of early childhood education specialists, librarians, illustrators and experts in children’s literature gave the award to writer Sydney Smith for Small in the City and to illustrator Ashleigh Corrin for Layla’s Happiness. Honor awards were given to writer Matthew Farina for Lawrence in the Fall, writer Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie
for Layla’s Happiness, and illustrator Kate Read for One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller.
Small in the City by Sydney Smith
It can be a little scary to be small in a big city, but it helps to know you’re not alone. When you’re small in the city, people don’t see you, and loud sounds can scare you, and knowing what to do is sometimes hard. But this little kid knows what it’s like, and knows the neighborhood. And a little friendly advice can go a long way. Alleys can be good shortcuts, but some are too dark. Or, there are lots of good hiding places in the city, like under a mulberry bush or up a walnut tree. And, if the city gets to be too much, you’re always welcome home, where it’s safe and quiet.
Layla’s Happiness by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie and Ashleigh Corri
Spirited and observant, Layla’s a child who’s been given room to grow, making happiness both thoughtful and intimate. It’s her dad talking about growing-up in South Carolina; her mom reading poetry; her best friend Juan, the community garden, and so much more. Written by poet Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie and illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin, this is a story of flourishing within family and community.
Lawrence in the Fall by Matthew Farina and Doug Salati
Lawrence the fox accompanies his father into the forest to collect something to take to his school show-and-tell, and while briefly lost and alone, Lawrence encounters the beauty of nature and finds exactly what he needs.
One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller by Kate Read
A stunningly gorgeous counting book with a delightful surpriseOne hungry fox with two sly eyes is on the prowl…three plump hens had better watch out! Rich and colorful illustrations plunge the reader into a dramatic and exciting story set in a moonlit farmyard. With something different to count on each page, learning to count from one to ten has never been so thrilling! This surprisingly simple counting book with a gripping tale, great for early education and read-alouds, has a hugely satisfying ending that’s sure to delight generations.