2016 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Winners

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2016 New Writer Award

Don Tate

Like Ezra Jack Keats, Don Tate came to write his own children’s book after a high-profile career as an illustrator. The first book he authored, It Jes’ Happened, earned an EJK Book Award Honor in 2013. His books focus on African-American history, vividly revealed through indelible characters whose stories of resilience and resistance resonate for a wide audience. An Iowa native with an extensive background in publishing and design, Don lives with his family in Austin, Texas.

Photo credit: Sam Bond Photography
Illustrations © 2015 by Don Tate. Permission to reprint granted by Peachtree Publishers

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton

Peachtree Publishers

Born a slave, George Moses Horton secretly taught himself to read and won acclaim as a poet. The first black writer published in the South, he paid his master for time to write and protested slavery in verse.

2016 New Illustrator Award

Phoebe Wahl

Phoebe Wahl’s work is easy to find: She sells her printed designs on Etsy, illustrates magazine covers, and show her paintings and sculptures on her websites. She works primarily in watercolor, collage and textiles—hands-on mediums she uses to explore themes of home and nature in an imaginative, folk art-like style. A graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Phoebe returned to the Pacific Northwest where she grew up, and lives in Bellingham, Washington. Sonya’s Chickens is her first book.

Photo credit: Kaitlyn Bouchard

Sonya's Chicken

Tundra Books

Sonya cares for the chickens on her family’s farm, until one night, a hen disappears. Her dad explains why a fox would steal her hen, and she learns that all creatures have a role to play in the natural world.

2016 Honor Books

  • New Writer Honor

    Megan Dowd Lambert
    A Crow of His Own
    A new rooster takes over for a farm favorite, and stumbles while trying to impress. Finding his voice will be something to crow about!
  • New Writer Honor

    Julia Sarcone-Roach
    The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
    How did the sandwich disappear? It’s a funny story, with a twist you won’t see coming.
  • New Illustrator Honor

    Ryan T. Higgins
    Mother Bruce
    A grumpy bear finds himself imprinted as the “mother” of four just-hatched baby geese. Now he’s stuck with them for life. Can he help his fledglings fly away?
  • New Illustrator Honor

    Rowboat Watkins
    Rude Cakes
    Welcome to a topsy-turvy world where cakes have bad manners and monsters have good ones. This tale is bratty, zany and unexpectedly sweet.