2011 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award

Ceremony Highlights

Lisa Von Drasek

Award Committee member Lisa Von Drasek introduced Laurel Croza (excerpt):

“When the Keats committee discusses the nominated books, we are not only looking to honor an outstanding new writer but we are considering what we understand to be Keatsian ideals. Is the story developmentally appropriate? Do the words give paint the pictures as well as the art? Are we catching a glimpse of universal childhood themes?…What do we want from a great children’s book? We want emotional truth. Laurel Croza, thank you for giving that to us in I Know Here.”

Nina Crews

Award Committee member Nina Crews introduced Tao Nyeu (excerpt):

“Tao Nyeu uses silkscreen prints to create her illustrations and demonstrates an excellent command of her media…. Her flowers, fields, and trees are rendered in a decorative fashion, with patterns and textures that could be suitable for textiles and are reminiscent of folk art. Her characters are drawn economically with slightly calligraphic lines and minimal features. Well-placed, small details add humor and enrich the story. The art refers back to an earlier era in children’s books, before four-color printing was standard, but still feels very much ‘of the moment.’ ”

2011 Winners’ Acceptance Speeches

LaurelCroza_152New Writer
Laurel Croza
“I was a dreamer who dreamed—for 20 years in my heated house—of becoming a writer. It was fun—absolutely no toil and struggle involved—and it was easy. Best of all, it was safe. But then one morning I woke up and understood that safe was no longer an option.”
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TaoNyeu_152New Illustrator
Tao Nyeu

“…I have to thank the committee for their faith in me in honor of Ezra Jack Keats, someone who strove to enrich children’s lives through stories and art. It will be a constant reminder to always approach my work with that ideal in mind, to always do my very best for this most important of audiences. I couldn’t ask for better inspiration and motivation.”

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