2016 Ezra Jack Keats Award Winners

2016 Writer Award Winner

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.

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2016 Illustrator Award Winner

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.

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2016 Award Honorees

Writer Award Honoree

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!

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Writer Award Honoree

Julia Sarcone-Roach

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich

Knopf Books for Young Readers

How did the sandwich disappear? It’s a funny story, with a twist you won’t see coming.

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Illustrator Award Honoree

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?

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Illustrator Award Honoree

Rowboat Watkins

Rude Cakes

Chronicle Books

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

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