Sheree Wichard/Donel Young
The Power of Children’s Literature Highlighted at Event to Celebrate
the 50th Anniversary of Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day
The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, Society of Illustrators and de Grummond Children’s
Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi Hosted
NEW YORK—November 20, 2012—At an event hosted last week by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi, and the Society of Illustrators, noted children’s book publishers, authors, illustrators and educators came together to celebrate the power of children’s literature and the 50th anniversary of Ezra Jack Keats’ Caldecott award-winning book, The Snowy Day.
Among the 75 guests who attended were Floyd Cooper, a noted illustrator who delivered the keynote at the event; Don Weisberg, President, Penguin Young Readers Group; Richard Peck, Newbery award-winning author of young adult fiction; Paul O. Zelinsky, Caldecott award-winning author and illustrator; as well as editors from Viking Penguin, Hyperion, HarperCollins Children’s Books, and Hachette Book Group. The celebration was held on Friday, November 16th, at the Society of Illustrators, which is located at 128 East 63rd Street in New York City.
“We are delighted that so many influential figures in the field have joined us to support the kind of books that portray what Ezra held dear—the universal qualities of childhood and the multicultural nature of our world,” said Dr. Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. “Fifty years ago, Ezra himself witnessed the ‘power’ of children’s illustrated literature when The Snowy Day, his book about a boy playing in the snow, was embraced across racial, economic and ethnic boundaries, breaking the color barrier in mainstream children’s book publishing.”
Cooper, who has illustrated more than 90 published children’s books and won numerous awards including a Coretta Scott King Award and two Honors, 10 American Library Association Notables, and an NAACP Image Award, said, “The genius of Ezra Jack Keats is his capturing all of the force, fury and power of a revolution within the quiet beauty of a picture book.” In 2013, Cooper’s first work of fiction, Max and the Tag-Along Moon, which he wrote and illustrated, will be published by Philomel.
About The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation supports arts and literacy programs in public schools and libraries across the country that bring the joy of reading to children while highlighting the importance of diversity in children’s books. In addition to the Ezra Jack Keats Minigrants, the Foundation’s annual programs include the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award, presented to an outstanding new writer and new illustrator of children’s picture books, and the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition for New York City public school students, grades 3-12. For information about the Foundation please visit www.ezra-jack-keats.org.