FAQ – About us

1. What does the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation do?

The mission of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation is to bring the creative, multicultural spirit of Keats into children’s lives and literature. We do this with programs that support arts and literacy in public schools and libraries. Ezra championed diversity in children’s literature; the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award celebrates new writers and illustrators as well as their diverse audience. Our awards, fellowships, grant programs and performance series variously serve children and families, teachers and librarians, and children’s book creators and scholars. The Keats Archive preserves Ezra’s original work, art and papers. Through all these efforts, we are keeping his spirit alive to future generations.

2. How was the EJK Foundation started?

Ezra created the Foundation in 1964, and during his lifetime he used it largely for making private contributions. In his will, he directed that royalties from his books would support the Foundation in its humanitarian activities. After he died in 1983, the Foundation created programs that reflected Ezra’s desire to make the world a better place for children.

3. What are some of the programs supported by the Foundation?

For a complete list of ongoing programs administered and supported by the EJK Foundation, see Programs. For a partial list of past programs, see Our History.

4. Where is the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation?

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation is based in Brooklyn, New York.

5. Does the Foundation take a national or New York-centric approach to its programming?

Brooklyn-born Ezra was a lifelong New Yorker, and his city is where we began. But all of our principal programs have a national scope. EJK Mini-Grants support public schools and libraries across the country. The EJK Book Award is judged in New Orleans and presented in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to authors and illustrators from all over North America. The EJK Bookmaking Competition, run in New York City by the Foundation in partnership with the Department of Education and the Brooklyn Public Library, has taken root in San Francisco as well. The Competition could easily be adopted by other cities—something we would love to see happen.

6. Where are the original Ezra Jack Keats book illustrations?

The original artwork for Ezra’s books forms the core of the Keats Archive, which is part of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, one of the Special Collections at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM). The Archive also contains memorabilia from Ezra’s childhood, his years as a struggling artist and his career as a successful author and illustrator.

7. What is the de Grummond Collection?

The de Grummond Collection at USM is one of the foremost collections of children’s literature in the United States. The Hattiesburg, Mississippi, university library is a research center specializing in historical and contemporary manuscripts, illustrations and books of mainly American and British origin and dedicated to preserving and promoting children’s literature.

8. Is it OK for me to download a photo from your site?

No. All the images, photographs and illustrations are copyrighted and cannot be legally reproduced without permission. To display an image for a project, production or any other reason, you must contact us to request written permission from the Foundation. If approved, the image must be accompanied by the credit line “Used with permission of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.”

9. How may I obtain a copy of a Keats painting or book illustration for framing?

High-quality reproductions of select Ezra’s illustrations are currently available at R. Michelson Galleries

10. Is there merchandise related to Keats characters? Is anything available for free?

We are not offering free Keats material at the present time. Go to Shop to learn where to purchase a range of Keats-related materials, from books to toys.