by Elizabeth Bleacher
At the time of its release 50 years ago, Ezra Jack Keats’ Caldecott award-winning book The Snowy Day was embraced by children across ethnic and cultural boundaries. Keats’ spirit of diversity was celebrated and remembered in November at an event organized by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi, and the Society of Illustrators.
Among the authors, illustrators, and educators who attended, was Floyd Cooper, a noted illustrator of children’s literature, who presented the keynote speech for the event. Also in attendance were Don Weisberg, President, Penguin Young Readers Group; Richard Peck, Newbery award-winning author; and Paul O. Zelinsky, Caldecott award-winning author and illustrator, as well as numerous others.
Marisabina Russo, author and illustrator; Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Foundation and co-host; Floyd Cooper, author and illustrator, and keynote speaker; and Richard Peck, author
New Writer and New Illustrator Awards Submissions Due December 30
To further commemorate Keats’ legacy, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation annually honors the achievements of up-and-coming children’s picture book authors with their New Writer and New Illustrator Awards. The submission deadline for this year’s award is December 30. To be eligible authors and illustrators must have published no more than three books, and the submitted book must be copyrighted for 2012 and showcase childhood in our multicultural world. Winners will receive the Keats’ medallion, a $1,000 stipend, and a golden seal featuring Peter from The Snowy Day that publishers may affix to the winning book.
Minigrant Applications Due March 15
Teachers and librarians are encouraged to apply for the Ezra Jack Keats Minigrant Program. This program awards public school teachers and librarians direct funding for a specific program, campaign, or workshop that they wish to develop. Educators should apply for funding with a specific program in mind, and the program is expected to encourage creative learning for students. Minigrants are awarded annually with the submission deadline being March 15 of each year.
General information about the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation can be found at their website. Specific information about the book awards and the minigrants is also available.
Elizabeth Bleacher is the strategic communications intern at the International Reading Association.