About the Ezra Jack Keats Award

Now celebrating its 35th Anniversary the Ezra Jack Keats Award was created to nurture illustrators and writers, early in their careers, who create extraordinary books that reflect our diverse population, the universal experience of childhood  and the strength of family.

The EJK Award has been administered in partnership by the EJK Foundation and the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, at the University of Southern Mississippi, since 2012*. The de Grummond is recognized as one of this country’s premier collections of children’s literature and is also the home of the Keats Archive. 

The EJK Award for Illustrator and Writer, along with four EJK Award Honors, two for Writer and two for Illustrator, is announced every year on the second Tuesday in March, and are presented at the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi in early April.

Along with the EJK Award, winners receive a cash prize of $5,000 each and EJK Award honorees receive a cash prize of $2,000 each. Receiving the EJK Award has nurtured the careers of such children’s book creators as Faith Ringgold, Angela Johnson, Bryan Collier, Juan Felipe Herrara, Bryan Collier, Deborah Wiles, Sophie Blackall, Meg Medina, David Ezra Stein, Shadra Strickland, Taeeun Yoo, Christian Robinson, Evan Turk, Chieri Uegaki, Don Tate, Derrick Walcott, and Oge Mora.

*Prior to 2012 the EJK Award was co-administered by the New York Public Library.