2022 Ezra Jack Keats Award Winners

Writer Award Winner

Illustrator Award Winner

Paul Harbridge

Photo by Paul Harbridge

In The Snowy Day, Peter could have been from any background, gender, or ability. Winning the EJK Award is so special to me. It means, in my own small way, I am carrying on Mr. Keats’ work to show the world that, despite our differences, at heart we are all the same.”

Out Into the Big Wide Lake

Illustrated by Josée Bisaillon

Tundra Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House

Kate is growing up, acquiring new skills and responsibilities. Though not mentioned, we learn that Kate has Down Syndrome but clearly, she isn’t defined by that fact. She is defined only by her determination to exceed expectations. This heartwarming book will inspire all children to be their best selves and to look for the same in others.

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Gracey Zhang

Photo by Gracey Zhang

I was extremely moved when I received the call for the EJK—an award that stands for acceptance of differences and recognition of our diversities and strength. To have Lala recognized for furthering these values is an immense honor and celebration of those stories we share.”

Lala’s Words

Written by Gracey Zhang

Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic

While centered on how powerful Lala’s words of encouragement are to the health of her wild garden, this book gently shows how a stressed single mom can lose sight of the wonder of childhood. But a surprise startles Lala, her mom, and the whole neighborhood, into remembering that nurturing words are the most important nutrients for plants and people.

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2022 Award Honorees

Writer Award Honoree

Joanna Ho for Playing at the Border (illustrated by Teresa Martinez, published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins)

Music is the most international of languages and world famous cellist Yo Yo Ma brings the point home as the center of this tribute to the contributions to the knowledge, art and comforts we share, that have been made by people, past and present, across all borders.

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Writer Award Honoree

Anne Wynter for Everybody in the Red Brick Building  (illustrated by Oge Mora, published by Balzer & Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins)

This gently humorous tale of how children from different families, in one red brick building, wake up and go back to sleep in a two way chain reaction, will delight old and young alike, at the same time as it gets kids ready to drift off to sleep themselves.

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Illustrator Award Honoree

Marta Bartolj for Every Little Kindness (written by Marta Bartolj, published by Chronicle)

If you do something nice for someone, will they do something nice for someone else? This beautiful wordless book shows clearly and without a doubt how “paying forward” makes our world a better place. Kids will love tracing the sequence of events on their own!

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Illustrator Award Honoree

Kenesha Sneed for Many Shapes of Clay (written by Kenesha Sneed, published by Prestel, an imprint of Penguin Random House)

Breaking a piece of pottery isn’t the same as losing someone you love but it can open a conversation about coping with loss and making something new out of much loved memories. Even kids who haven’t suffered a loss will learn about resilience, a skill we all need to master.

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