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Winners of 29th Annual Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition Announced
By Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and New York City Department of Education
City-wide Winners Receive $500 Cash Prize; Winning Books and Honorable Mentions
on Special Exhibit May 4–22 at Brooklyn Public Library
NEW YORK—May 4, 2015—The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education, announced today the winners of the 29th annual Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition for grades 3-12. City-wide and borough winning books, honorable mentions and all school-wide winning books will be on exhibit at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Library (at Grand Army Plaza) May 4-22.
At an awards ceremony to be held on May 15th in the Tweed Courthouse, headquarters of the New York City Department of Education, the city-wide and borough winners and honorable mention recipients of the Bookmaking Competition will be given medals. In addition, the Foundation will give the city-wide winners $500 and the borough winners $100.
“These talented young writers and illustrators have worked hard over many months to bring their ideas and creative spirit to life through their books,” says Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. “It was at public school that Ezra first received recognition for his talent, which encouraged him to pursue his dreams. Our hope is that this award will inspire these young people to follow their dreams, too.”
“These amazing picture books are the results of our students’ inspired creativity and their sustained thoughtful work. Each book demonstrates the exemplary teaching and learning occurring every day in our public schools,” says Karen Rosner, Coordinator of Visual Arts, New York City Department of Education, and supervisor of the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking initiative. “The exhibition of the winning books at the Brooklyn Public Library is evidence of the talent and rich diversity existing in the New York City public schools.”
“Each year, we have the pleasure of showcasing some of New York’s most talented young people,” says Rachel Payne, Coordinator, Early Childhood Services, Brooklyn Public Library, and one of the judges of the Competition. “This year’s city-wide winners were inspired by their history, surroundings and experiences to bring Coney Island’s Ferris wheel to life, to celebrate the seasons, and to bring a civic need to light in the form of a protest book!”
Brooklyn and Queens Students Take Home Top Awards
The Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition is divided into three categories: elementary (grades 3-5), middle (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12). Students in District 75 are encouraged to participate, and several are among our winners.
When Fall Turns to Winter, by John Lee (Grade 5)
P.S. 193, Alfred J. Kennedy, Queens
Denise Markbreit, Teacher; Joyce Bush, Principal
The winner says: “I got the idea for my book when I was outside—the falling leaves from the trees and the changing of the seasons caught my attention and became my inspiration. I’ve liked to draw pictures of animations and the environment ever since I was young. I used pastels for the drawings in my book because I had so many colors to choose from and because I could smudge the colors together to shade my work. This is the first contest I’ve ever won, so I’m very excited! I worked really hard and my teacher inspired and helped me every step of the way.”
The History Wheel of Coney Island, by Amelia Samoylov (Grade 8)
I.S. 98, The Bay Academy for the Arts and Sciences, Brooklyn
Mandi Bracho, Teacher; Marietta Falconieri, Librarian; Maria Timo, Principal
The winner says: “My home—Coney Island—is such a special place and so close to my heart that I wanted to learn about its rich history and share it with others. Because the Ferris wheel is such a big part of Coney Island, I created a large, movable one that became the centerpiece of my book. I included other famous landmarks such as Luna Park and Nathan’s, too. I used different materials such as a simple cardboard box, thick paper, chalks and watercolor pencils to make the book special and to help people recognize Coney Island.”
The Brown M Train, by Kevin Zeng (Grade 12)
P.S. 77, Brooklyn
Amie Robinson, Sylvia Patterson, William Petrowitz, Teachers; Merryl Redner-Cohen, Principal; Ross Cohen, Assistant Principal
The winner says: “I made my book as a protest. I want the MTA to reinstate the brown M train. Now I have to ride the R train, which is too slow and too crowded. So many people get off the R train at once that I can’t even run down the stairs fast enough to catch the train! I love to draw, so using colored pencils I spent three months drawing pictures for my book and making a case for bringing the M train back. I presented my book to the president of the MTA. I’ve also started a petition that already has 506 signatures on it. I’m not going to give up until the brown M train is back in service!”
For a complete list of city-wide and borough winners, visit 2015 Bookmaking Competition Winners at the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation website.
Guidelines and Judging
The annual Bookmaking Competition begins with a full day of professional development at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for art teachers and librarians working in New York City’s public schools. Students are then invited to come up with intriguing themes, create engaging text and integrate illustrations created in a range of media. Expressive writing and artwork are encouraged.
The process is integrated into classroom instruction with a strong emphasis on the study of picture books. Student books are created under the supervision of a teacher and/or librarian.
The judging panel is comprised of New York-based librarians, artists, teachers and others involved in promoting diversity in children’s literature. The panel focuses on the quality of writing, illustrations and presentation. This year’s panel of judges includes:
- Jennifer Baker, We Need Diverse Books
- Pat Cummings, Children’s Book Author and Illustrator
- Barbara Moon, former Youth Consultant, Suffolk Cooperative Library System
- Nicole Deming, Senior Communications Manager, The Children’s Book Council, Inc. and Every Child a Reader, Inc.
- Melissa Jacobs-Israel, Coordinator, New York City School Library System
- David Mowery, former Division Chief, Youth Wing, Central Library, Brooklyn Public Library
- Melanie Okadigwe, Lower School Learning Specialist, Greene Hill School, Brooklyn
- Barbara Ornstein, former Children’s Specialist, Central Library, Brooklyn Public Library
- Rachel Payne, ex officio, Coordinator, Early Childhood Services, Brooklyn Public Library
- Jo Beth Ravitz, Artist, Art Consultant
- Susan Straub, Founder, The Read to Me Program
Third Annual Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition on the West Coast
The Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM), Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) and San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) joined together to present the third annual Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition on the West Coast. Participants were invited to an awards ceremony on March 15th at The CJM, where all entries were showcased. The winning books will be on display at the SFPL Main Library through May 8th.
About the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
Founded by Ezra Jack Keats, the late Caldecott award-winning children’s book author and illustrator, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation fosters children’s love of reading and creative expression by supporting arts and literacy programs in public schools and libraries; cultivating new writers and illustrators of exceptional picture books that reflect the experiences of childhood in our diverse culture; and protecting and promoting the work of Keats, whose book The Snowy Day broke the color barrier in mainstream children’s publishing. Keats. Imagination. Diversity.