About the Ezra Jack Keats Award

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 and community. Over the years the EJK has succeeded in fostering the early careers of many of our country’s leading children’s book makers.

The EJK Award is unique

  • It is the only award that celebrates books that embrace all ethnic and social groups
  • The Award and Honor books constitute the kind of diverse library of outstanding children’s books for which we are all working
  • Winners and Honorees are themselves a more diverse group than any other children’s book award 
  • The EJK Award Committee includes rock star authors and illustrators, as well as scholars and librarians, making it an award bestowed by peers, as well as appreciators.

Quick facts about the EJK Award

  • The Winners and Honorees of the EJK Award are announced every year on the second Tuesday in March.
  • The EJK Award Ceremony is held in early April at the annual Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at University of Southern Mississippi
  • Winners, and beginning in 2021 Honorees receive a cash prize as part of the award.

For more key dates go to the EJK Foundation Timeline. See all Winners and Honoree.

Our Partner

The EJK Award is administered by the EJK Foundation in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection*, at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM). 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.

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