EJK Award – FAQ

  1. What is the goal of the EJK Award?
  2. What does “new” talent mean?
  3. How are books submitted for consideration?
  4. How are the winners selected?
  5. When and where are the winners announced?
  6. Why is the EJK Award Ceremony in  Hattiesburg, Mississippi?
  7. Where can I find a list of all EJK Award winners and honors?
  8. What makes the EJK Award different from other children’s book awards?
  9. Is the EJK Award the same prize as the UNICEF/Ezra Jack Keats Award?

1. What is the goal of the EJK Award?

The EJK Award was first given in 1986 to celebrate new authors and illustrators of picture books that reflect the universal qualities of childhood and the multicultural nature of our world. The EJK Award encourages new talent and inspires them to continue to create outstanding picture books for a diverse audience.

2. What does “new” talent mean?

An author or illustrator who has had no more than three books published before the book being considered for the EJK Award.

3. How are books submitted for consideration?

Publishers submit books that meet the Guidelines and Criteria for the Ezra Jack Keats Award. The deadline for submission is December 31.

4. How are the winners selected?

After receiving copies of all the books under consideration, Award Committee members nominate 7 books for discussion during deliberations.

5. When and where are the winners announced?

The EJK Award winners and honors are announced on the second Tuesday in March every year. The EJK Award ceremony is held in early April, during the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

6. Why is the EJK Award Ceremony in Hattiesburg, Mississippi?

Hattiesburg is home to the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection of the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), the co-producer of the EJK Award. In addition to being one of the foremost collections and research centers in the field of children’s literature, the de Grummond is the home of the Keats Archive where scholars can find all of Keats’ orginal artwork and papers.

7. Where can I find a list of all EJK Award winners and honors? 

A complete list of the award and honor winners is available on the EJK Award Winners and Honorees page. The list will soon be available to print.

8. What makes the EJK Award different from other children’s book awards?

  • The EJK Award celebrates gifted writers and illustrators at the beginning of their careers 
  • It is the only award that celebrates books that embrace all ethnic and social groups
  • The Award and Honor books constitute the diverse library of outstanding children’s books for which we are all working
  • Winners and Honorees are themselves a more diverse group than has been celebrated by 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 experts.

9. Is the EJK Award the same prize as the UNICEF/Ezra Jack Keats Award?

No. The biennial International Award for Excellence in Children’s Book Illustration was founded in 1984 by the EJK Foundation along with UNICEF and the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY). The program was discontinued in 1994 (the last awards were given in 1992).