Executive Director Deborah Pope sums up the successful event:
My daughter Rebecca and I traveled to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to attend the 2012 EJK New Writer and New Illustrator Awards, and our plane was delayed at JFK for three hours! We arrived in New Orleans at 2:15 a.m. and didn’t get to sleep until almost 4 a.m. Rather the worse for wear, the next day we made the two-hour drive to the University of Southern Mississippi for the Children’s Book Festival. It was quite a beginning for three lovely days of celebrating with people who make and love children’s books. The days started early in the morning and ended late, with luncheons, workshops and speeches.
I am happy to say that the EJK Book Award presentation was one of the highlights of the Festival, bringing particular joy to everyone who attended. Ellen Ruffin, Curator of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, spearheaded the event and did a brilliant job. A Silver Medallion is awarded every year for a lifetime of achievement. (The 2012 winner is Jane Yolen.) This year the same group was also gathered to honor and encourage artists just starting out—our 2012 winners, Meg Medina and Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw. The poetic symmetry was lost on no one, and it was especially sweet when Jane Yolen approached me afterward to tell me that she would be honored to serve on the EJK Book Award jury to help select future winners.
2012 Winners’ Acceptance Speeches
“This is the story of bicultural children today, I think. They speak a different language than their parents. They know a different country; they experience a different geography of growing up.”
“Ezra Jack Keats is a long-time hero of mine. I can relate to his big-kid nature and traveler’s spirit, his love for color and passion for collage. He inspires me to write and illustrate books from my heart.”