Press Release: EJK Award Ceremony Cancelled

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Posted 3/16/2020

Contact:
Deborah Pope, foundation@ezra-jack-keats.org

2020 Ezra Jack Keats Award Ceremony Cancelled in Response to Concern Over the Spread of the COVID-19 Virus

2020 Ezra Jack Keats Award for Writer and Illustrator Winners (top photo) The 2020 Ezra Jack Keats Award winner for writer is Sydney Smith, for Small in the City (left; published by Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Holiday House Publishing, Inc.). The winner for illustration is Ashleigh Corrin, for Layla’s Happiness (right; published by Enchanted Lion Books). The EJK Award recognizes talented authors and illustrators early in their careers whose picture books, in the spirit of Keats, portray the multicultural nature of our world.
2020 Ezra Jack Keats Award for Writer and Illustrator Winners  The 2020 Ezra Jack Keats Award winner for writer is Sydney Smith, for Small in the City (left; published by Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Holiday House Publishing, Inc.). The winner for illustration is Ashleigh Corrin, for Layla’s Happiness (right; published by Enchanted Lion Books). The EJK Award recognizes talented authors and illustrators early in their careers whose picture books, in the spirit of Keats, portray the multicultural nature of our world.

Hattiesburg, MS/Brooklyn, New York—March 12, 2020—The 2020 Ezra Jack Keats Award Ceremony has been canceled by the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) out of concern over the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The EJK Award is produced in partnership by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at USM.

The EJK Award Ceremony was to have taken place, as part of the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, on Thursday, April 2. The Foundation believes the administration of USM made a wise, though difficult, decision to protect the students, staff and administration of the school, as well as those who were to attend the festival and award ceremony.

Nevertheless, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation is heartbroken not to be able to celebrate the fine authors and illustrators who are this year’s Ezra Jack Keats Award winners and honorees. Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation said, “It’s a tremendous loss for us not to come together to roll out the red carpet for these extraordinary authors and illustrators in person. And so, we’ll just have to find another way to celebrate!”

Ellen Ruffin, Curator of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, added, “This is the first time in 53 years that the Kaigler Children’s Book Festival has been canceled. We’re very sad that the immediate joy of the festival is lost this year. We’ll look forward to a special reunion next year.”
ejkaward_gold

The 2020 Ezra Jack Keats Award winner for Writer is:

Sydney Smith, for Small in the City
Illustrated by Sydney Smith
Published by Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Holiday House Publishing, Inc.

The 2020 Ezra Jack Keats Award winner for Illustrator is:

Ashleigh Corrin, for Layla’s Happiness
Written by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie
Published by Enchanted Lion Books

The 2020 Ezra Jack Keats Award Honor winners are:

Writer Honor

  • Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, for Layla’s Happiness (illustrated by Ashleigh Corrin, published by Enchanted Lion Books)
  • Matthew Farina, for Lawrence in the Fall  (illustrated by Doug Salati, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Illustrator Honor

  • Doug Salati, for Lawrence in the Fall (written by Matthew Farina, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  • Zeke Peña, for My Papi Has a Motorcycle (written by Isabel Quintero, published by Kokila, an imprint of Penguin Random House)
  • Kate Read, for One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller (written by Kate Read, published by Peachtree Publishing Company)