2017 Ezra Jack Keats Award Winners

2017 Writer Award Winner

Jeri Watts

Jeri Watts published her first picture book, Keeper, 20 years ago. She has written in other genres since then, but came back to picture books for A Piece of Home. As a professor and veteran public school teacher, Jeri knows the stories that pass through those classrooms: This book was inspired by a student. A lifelong Virginian, Jeri lives with her husband in Lynchburg.

A Piece of Home

Candlewick Press

When Hee Jun’s family moves to West Virginia from Korea, it’s hard to adjust. In Korea Hee Jun was a “regular” boy; now he is different. Everything is different. In time, he learns English and makes friends. At a friend’s, he spots flowers like those in his grandmother’s garden in Korea. He brings a shoot to his grandmother, and they plant ”a piece of home.”

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2017 Illustrator Award Winner

Micha Archer

As an illustrator, Micha Archer earned one of the first EJK Book Award Honors. With Daniel Finds a Poem, she became an author as well. Both words and pictures suit her talent: A child’s curiosity is an apt theme for this former kindergarten teacher, and the imagery, rich in color, texture and ingenuity, reflects Micha’s career as an artist and designer. Micha lives in rural Massachusetts.

Daniel Finds a Poem

Nancy Paulsen Books

Daniel wants to write a poem, so he asks some friends—a spider, a squirrel and other creatures in the park—”What is poetry?” Each has a different ideas, and based on their views, Daniel composes a poem of his own. This book beautifully conveys the idea that poetry is all around us, wherever we can see it or feel it.

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2017 Award Honorees

Writer Award Honoree

Illustrator Award Honoree

Francesca Sanna

The Journey

A boy recounts his family’s travels from their war-torn home to someplace that will take them in. Gentle storytelling and beautiful illustrations help make this difficult subject relatable and hopeful.

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Writer Award Honoree

Stacy McAnulty

Excellent EdI

llustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach

This amusing tale asks searching questions about fitting in and being appreciated, but what keeps the story lighthearted is that it’s told from the perspective of Ed, the family dog.

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Illustrator Award Honoree

Daisy Hirst

The Girl with the Parrot on Her Head

Written by Daisy Hirst

After her best friend moves away Isabel tries to move on, but keeping loneliness at bay seems to require a wild imagination and zany humor.

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