2018 Ezra Jack Keats Award Winners

2018 Writer Award Winner

Victoria Blackshear

Derrick Barnes

“It’s remarkable that the first literary award I win would be the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award. The first story I wrote was in 1985, the first year the award was given. It was about stray dogs looking for an imaginary bone, and my fifth-grade class was mesmerized when I read it out loud. That day, I became aware of the power of words.”

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut

Agate Bolden/Denene Millner Books

In a tribute both stylish and timeless, Derrick Barnes’s exuberant text, along with Gordon C. James’s vivid illustrations, celebrate a cultural institution for African-American men and boys: the barber shop.

2018 Illustrator Award Winner

Veronica Lawlor

Evan Turk

“It is such an honor to receive the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award! Keats’s work inspires me as an illustrator and as an artist trying to create work in a conscientious way that reflects our multicultural world. His work allowed kids to see themselves, and I hope that I can embrace that same spirit.”

Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Muddy Waters was an American icon, a musical innovator who melded Mississippi Delta blues with an electric, urban sound. Evan Turk’s bold, colorful art complements the music and Michael Mahin's text.

2018 Award Honorees

  • Writer Award Honoree

    Rachael Cole
    City Moon
    Illustrated by Blanca Gómez
    Schwartz & Wade
    On a fall evening, a boy and his mother go for a walk. While others hurry by, they look up at the moon. Sharing an everyday experience, just the two of you, makes it magical.
  • Writer Award Honoree

    Jessixa Bagley
    Laundry Day
    Roaring Brook Press
    Illustrated by Jessixa Bagley

    In this diverting tale, a pair of badgers, Tic and Tac, are bored, so they decide to help their mother hang laundry. The trouble is, the brothers insist on doing it their way.

  • Writer Award Honoree

    Elaine Magliaro
    Things to Do
    Illustrated by Catia Chien
    Chronicle Books

    A poetic take on the world and the important things in it, from the sun and moon to a pink eraser, as experienced through a child’s eyes and imagination.

  • Illustrator Award Honoree

    Gordon C. James
    Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
    Written by Derrick Barnes
    Agate Bolden
    Written by Derrick Barnes

    In a tribute both stylish and timeless, the exuberant text and vivid illustrations celebrate a cultural institution for African-American men and boys: the barber shop.

  • Illustrator Award Honoree

    Bianca Diaz
    The One Day House
    Written by Julia Durango

    Young Wilson dreams of repairing his grandmother’s home “one day.” But when their neighbors decide to help out, “one day” becomes today and a neighborhood becomes a caring community.

  • Illustrator Award Honoree

    E.B. Goodale
    Written by Julia Denos
    Candlewick Press
    Written by Julia Denos

    A boy takes his dog for a walk at dusk. In the lighted windows they pass, he can see what’s going on inside. You can learn a lot about people when looking in from outside, and from being welcomed home.

  • Writer Award Honoree

    Illustrator Award Honoree

    Bao Phi / Thi Bui
    A Different Pond
    published by Capstone Young Readers

    A boy’s simple narration of a pre-dawn fishing trip with his father offers a glimpse into the lives of his Vietnamese family in America—of hard-working parents struggling to provide and a boy trying to understand.