The EJK Book Award luncheon is one of the highlights of the Children’s Book Festival, with heartfelt speeches and great door prizes. Read Executive Director Deborah Pope’s report on the 2014 edition and the words and wit of our winners, Ame Dyckman and Christian Robinson.
Children’s book enthusiasts took to social media to rave about the EJK Book Award winners, and our honorees returned the favor! Here are some of the choice words and pictures captured on our Twitter feed.
It’s a proud month for New York City’s student bookmakers! They can find their names in our winners list. (Their teachers and principals get bragging rights, too.) They can bring friends and family to see their books on display at the Brooklyn Public Library through May 23. And they’ll walk onstage to receive their awards at a stellar ceremony—School Chancellor Carmen Fariña is planning to attend!
Latin-flavored hip-hop, reggae and more rock the set list of Oxomatli. Now the band is bringing its spirited sound to a younger crowd, performing as Ozokids at the EJK Family Concert in Prospect Park on Saturday, June 14, at 4 p.m. What a way to welcome summer!
The Keats retrospective, “The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats,” continues at the Skirball Cultural Center with great programs for kids and adults. This is the final leg of a three-year, six-museum tour around the country that ends on September 7—after that the exhibited work will be returned to the Keats Archive.
All of Keats’s characters reflect, in part, who Ezra was as a child. But few of his characters are as deeply felt and richly observed as Louie. That’s because, says Dr. Martin Pope, Louie represents Ezra’s private memories of his childhood. Dr. Pope shares his insights into his friend’s most personal character, a shy boy who says little and feels much.
The love Louie feels for Gussie the puppet illustrates the nearly magical connection that kids, and often adults, have with puppets. Here, we explore the ABCs of puppetry: enjoy a video of puppets around the world, learn how to make all kinds of puppets and puppet theaters, and share links on using puppets as a teaching tool.
Using Louie as a basis, this lesson helps children begin to recognize and discuss their feelings and the feelings of others. Reading, then talking about and mapping the emotions in the book lets children explore their own feelings, and creating expressive face puppets bring those feelings into focus. To develop interpersonal skills that can take a lifetime to master, it’s wise to start young.
For your snuggling pleasure, our animated read-aloud of Louie is great for watching with your kids. In this Talking About Keats video, children’s book enthusiasts Miriam, JoanAnn and Maria show how Ezra’s visual storytelling creates an impact.
In anticipation of the EJK Book Award ceremony on April 10, winners Ame Dyckman (New Writer, for Tea Party Rules) and Christian Robinson (New Illustrator, for Rain!) spoke with Associate Director Margot Abel about their work and what this award means to them. Check back after the event to read their acceptance speeches and share their experience at the 2014 Children’s Book Festival, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
See the winning books of the second annual EJK Bookmaking Competition in San Francisco, and the winning kids who participated! Like its New York City counterpart, the competition brings together city-wide institutions—museums, libraries and schools—to show off the city’s children to their best advantage.
“The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats” is headed to the Skirball Cultural Center for a five-month stay, opening on April 10 and including great programs for kids and adults. If you haven’t seen the show and are going to be on the West Coast this spring or summer, make the Skirball a must!
This program, designed to benefit children with autism, benefited the larger community as well. In a series of art nights and other activities based on Keats books, kids and families with and without autism shared interests, built interpersonal skills and developed lasting friendships.
The last date for the submission of Minigrant applications has been moved to March 30
(the usual deadline is March 15). We hope those extra two weeks will help schools beset
by winter storms and other difficulties get an opportunity to complete their proposals.
Good luck to everyone!
Author-illustrator Nina Crews counts Ezra as an inspiration. In her urban updates of nursery rhymes and folktales, and her original stories, she uses photography and photo-collage to create a realistic look that lets the magic shine through. Read her reflections on Ezra’s illustrations for an old poem familiar to generations of children, Over in the Meadow.
Ezra’s love of nature was never more evident than in Over in the Meadow, his setting of a child’s counting rhyme that teaches as much about wildlife as about numbers. The meadow, in Ezra’s illustrations, is a busy place, full of colors, sounds and various species mothering their young. Light-hearted and luminous, this book begs to be read out loud. Plus: Aww is for animals, counting and crafts, why we set the clocks ahead, and more.
Meet the winners of the 2014 EJK Book Award: Congratulations to Ame Dyckman, New Writer for Tea Party Rules; and Christian Robinson, New Illustrator for Rain! And three cheers to the five Honor Book Award recipients—they had stiff competition. Check back in coming days for more information, interviews with the winners, media coverage and Twitter activity!
The 2014 winners of the EJK Bookmaking Competition have been chosen, and you’ll meet them and see their creations in the coming weeks. The books will be on display at the Brooklyn Public Library, Central Library, May 5-25. Congratulations to all the students and teachers who guided them to victory!
The awards ceremony of the second annual EJK Bookmaking Competition in San Francisco took place on March 2. The competition was open to students in grades K-12, grouped into five grade levels. There were first, second and third-place winners at each level, plus special recognition awards. See the press announcement below for details. Congratulations to all!
• Press release: Announcing the Winners of the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition!
March 7 was Whistle for Willie Day in Brooklyn! The Brooklyn Public Library selected Keats’s Whistle for Willie, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, for the BPL’s Read Across America festivities. The book was read aloud at all the library locations, and many welcomed guest readers (some are pictured at left). Executive Director Deborah Pope joined the party at the Park Slope Library for reading, whistling and crafts.
An early intervention program for preschoolers involved teachers and families in an immersive art and literacy project. “Let’s Go Over in the Meadow” featured children’s collages based on Keats’s illustrations, special family time and a beautiful booklet of the artwork and verses that can be read and admired at home.
In February New York had some snowy days, and Macy’s had The Snowy Day, the featured book of Macy’s Reading Circle. On February 8 at the retailer’s flagship store in Manhattan, storyteller Tammy Hall gave an animated reading and spoke about Ezra, and on the 28th, Shirley Johnson read in her own compelling style at the Downtown Brooklyn store. The young audiences at both events were spellbound, and many went home with their very own copy of Keats’s classic. Read what Publishers Weekly said about the event!
February is Black History Month, a time to teach our children that American history belongs to all of us. Browse our list of excellent picture books about African-American lives…check out the 10 top websites to find more multicultural reading for children…and rediscover the EJK Award-winning children’s books that started some pretty illustrious careers. It all adds up to a year-round reading list of great stories to share with your kids!
It will be a snowy day at Macy’s Reading Circle on February 8 as Macy’s Herald Square welcomes the Keats classic for a special Black History Month event. Macy’s Downtown Brooklyn is also excited to play host on February 22. This Saturday at noon, join famed storyteller Tammy Hall as she reads The Snowy Day and be sure to stop by our fun snow-themed arts & crafts table after the reading! The event is free of charge and will be held in the Children’s Department on the 7th floor. Also with any $25 Kids purchase, receive a complimentary copy of the book.*
Event subject to change or cancellation. While time permits. *While supplies last.
Ezra’s hero in Peter’s Chair has a new sister—and he’s not happy. How Peter comes to terms with this unwanted development is told and illustrated with understated, wise humor. Plus: Tots love babies, home-made chairs, and how pink and blue became baby colors.
See the colorful results of an elementary school art project that involved the whole community and caught the attention of a major art museum. Don’t forget: The 2014 Minigrant deadline is March 15.
Sibling rivalry gets the Keats treatment in Peter’s Chair, and this lesson plan suggests different ways to explore the subject. It’s a mix-and-match approach that lets kids from kindergarten to third grade discover that it’s cool to be a big brother or sister.
Love for The Snowy Day can last a lifetime—just ask the grownups pictured at left. They are among the famous folks who have told us why this childhood favorite still resonates for them. During January, the second-annual Snowy Day Month, their words remind us what makes this book so special.
A roundup of Snowy Day features on our site, and related events across the country and around the world.
’Tis the season…to share The Snowy Day! Snuggle up with your kids to watch our animated beatbox read-aloud—or, if you’re feeling feisty, challenge them to a bracing round of our popular, Peter-themed game.
As a great children’s book, The Snowy Day stirs young readers’ imaginations and empathy. The solitary boy at the story’s heart is their friend, and a reflection of themselves. The artwork rouses the eye, the sound of the words perks up the ears—and there’s more to discover, if you care to look. Ezra’s masterpiece is a first step toward a book-loving life.
Bonus: A flurry of real snow, fake snow and special snowflakes!
Just as Ezra advanced his stories through images, this lovely lesson advances literacy through art. Making a picture in the style of The Snowy Day, students find a way to enter Keats’s world and make it their own.
Two projects from Virginia join our Gallery of Outstanding Programs. Both start off with a reading of The Snowy Day, then go very different ways: One produces an engaging curriculum to satisfy state requirements, and the other, a charming set of illustrated sequels.
November & December 2013
The New York Public Library serves an extraordinarily diverse population; Ezra Jack Keats wrote about and for its youngest readers. NYPL President and CEO Anthony Marx says that Keats’s popularity with library users is a constant. Still, it must be gratifying to introduce his work to a new generation, as Marx does with the 1964 classic Whistle for Willie.
With its gentle charm, the story of Whistle for Willie seems simple: a little boy learns to whistle on a summer day. But it is in the details—Peter’s desire, effort and play—that Keats conveys the sense that acquiring a new skill is a rich and thoughtful experience worthy of our attention. Bonus: The science of spinning, why dachshunds rule, and the secret of the whistle.
Whistle for Willie lends itself perfectly to class study: The way Peter learns to whistle parallels the process of kindergartners learning to read a story. In both activities, the effort pays off handsomely!
Our Gallery of Outstanding Minigrant Programs is expanding with favorites from the past school year. Check back each month to see what educators like you are doing. If these examples are anything to go by, we can look forward to a top crop this year!
Ezra loved the Brooklyn Public Library: his visits sustained him during his difficult youth, fueling his dreams of being an artist. And the BPL loves Ezra, hosting the EJK Bookmaking Competition and exhibiting the winning books. Why does Keats matter to the library and its users? President and CEO Linda E. Johnson explains.
New game! Off the Wall
Shoot some balls with Peter, Archie and Willie, and make them all disappear. Ready, aim, score!
This gritty, realistic story shows the boys dealing with bullies, making Goggles! a smart reading choice for October, which is National Bullying Prevention Month. We have great links for further discussion, plus forts, hideouts, dogs and goggles.
Bonus: October is a time for tricks, treats and costumes, too. Whether you like your Halloween funny or frightful, check out our expanded activities for The Trip!
Like the book itself, this lesson plan on Goggles! combines the serious and the fun. First, reading and discussions about anti-bullying strategies, friendship and safe places really explore a difficult subject. Then, get out the sparkles! Everyone makes and decorates their very own construction-paper goggles.
“The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats” ends a successful run at the National Museum of American Jewish History on October 20. Next viewing: at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, starting April 10, 2014.
New game! Crazy Hats
Jennie’s not the only one showing off the hat of her dreams: Boys and girls alike can use their imagination and our collection of stuff to construct an awesome assemblage that their favorite Keats kids would be proud to wear. Bonus: Go to our expanded Book Activities & More page for Jennie’s Hat and see how nature, fun and fashion influence kids and grownups alike.
The EJK Bookmaking Competition, open to all New York City public schools, is an extraordinary experience for every student (grades 3-12) and an incredible teaching tool. Look for updates on the DOE website to sign up your class!
On tour for two years and counting, “The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats” is wowing audiences at the National Museum of American Jewish History. See it soon: After closing on October 20, the show will take a six-month break before it travels to the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
Brooklyn parents and their book-loving tots love Bedtime Stories, a series of storytelling events at the Brooklyn Public Library that kids can attend in their pj’s. Supported by the EJK Foundation, this children’s hour happens once a month at the Central Library and four times a year at the Arlington Library, with a Keats book for every child to take home. Next date: September 26. See the EJK newsletter for details (sign up now!) or go to the BPL website for a full schedule.
New! Playing for Keeps
Mancala—it’s considered the oldest game in the world, played under different names all over the world. Our Dreams-inspired version, for one or two players, is set up as a street game played with buttons and bottle caps. However you play the game, it’s as fast-paced, challenging and fun as it was way back in ancient Egypt!
Children need poetry in their lives, says Lee Bennett Hopkins, whose many books and collections of poetry and prose aim to awaken a lifelong love of reading. No wonder the poet found a kindred spirit in Ezra, the artist who also understood children. When he revisits his friend’s book Dreams, he finds the dreams of Ezra’s childhood living on for generations to come.
In Dreams, it’s late at night and Roberto can’t fall asleep. He spies a dog terrorizing Archie’s cat and accidentally knocks a paper mouse he made in school off the window sill. Down it falls, until its large, menacing shadow scares off the dog. It’s a simple story, but in Ezra’s hands, there’s always something more.
Celebrate Summer! All That Jazz
The season got off to a sizzling start at the Ezra Jack Keats Family Concert on June 8, with headliner Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Kids and grownups alike dug the jive, and listened raptly while Wynton read a Keats book of his choice—the musical and moody Apt. 3.
Keats season continues through July and August, when every Saturday at 2 p.m., storyteller Tammy Hall enchants an avid audience in Prospect Park. Come to the Peter Statue in the Imagaination Playground and let the tales unfold!
Meet the city- and borough-wide champs of the 2013 Bookmaking Competition! From the complete catalogue to the video highlights, see why it was a banner year.
Press Release: Ezra Jack Keats Minigrant Program Awards Teachers and Librarians Across 29 States
NEW YORK—May 29, 2013—This is the 25th year that the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation has awarded Minigrants to teachers and librarians at public schools and libraries across the United States. This year, a total of 59 grants were awarded to educators in 29 states with each recipient receiving up to $500 for specific programs that they have planned for the next academic year.
• Click here for a list of 2013 recipients
Last chance to catch “The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats” at the Akron Art Museum, where it closes on June 30. Then it’s off to Philadelphia for a three-month stay at the National Museum of American Jewish History, starting July 19.
Press Release: 27th Annual Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition Press Release
NEW YORK, May 7, 2013—The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation in partnership with the New York City Department of Education announced today the winners of the 27th annual city-wide Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition for grades 3-12.
The 2013 Book Award luncheon was a highlight of the Children’s Book Festival, with funny, heartfelt speeches (and great goody bags!). Read Associate Director Margot Abel’s impressions of the occasion, and the words of our winners Julie Fogliano and Hae-won Yum.
It’s a class act when Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra swing into Prospect Park for the Ezra Jack Keats Family Concert on Saturday, June 8. The show, part of the Celebrate Brooklyn! summer performance series, begins at 4 p.m. and boasts a very special Keats reader—Wynton himself. Cool!
An author-illustrator for over 20 years, Marisabina Russo reads picture books with a penetrating eye. Writing about Jennie’s Hat, she reflects on some of Ezra’s secrets: his ability to know how a girl like Jennie would think and feel, and his brilliance for making books that seem so fresh after nearly 50 years.
Press Release: 2013 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Book Awards Winners Announced
NEW YORK—February 28, 2013—The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi announced today the winners of the 27th annual Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Book Awards.
Peter has a need for speed: He’s chasing a letter that the wind blew out of his hand. You can help him run faster by typing the letters shown on the screen. Are you up to the challenge? Based on the book A Letter to Amy, this game has suspense, stormy weather and a flying parrot!
Jennie’s Hat explores real feelings as well as artful fantasy. So it makes sense that a lesson plan on the book would have a little of everything, too: reading and discussion, an art project and a parade! Serious fun is a Keats combination that first-graders, and their teachers, appreciate.
What happens when a girl, a hat and a flock of birds get together? A wish is granted and a dream comes true! But with Ezra, it’s never so simple. In Jennie’s Hat, expect a bit of drama, a touch of whimsy, a gesture of friendship, and pages of wonderful art. Plus, birds, animals and their humans, and spring fashions, Keats style!
How do children’s authors and illustrators read Keats? We’re asking some of the top writers and artists for their impressions of different Keats titles. After all, who knows picture books better than the people who make them? First up, Pat Cummings, whose most recent book is Harvey Moon, Museum Boy, casts her expert eye on A Letter to Amy.
Press Release: 2013 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Book Awards Winners Announced
NEW YORK—February 28, 2013—The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi announced today the winners of the 27th annual Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Book Awards.
Peter’s having a birthday party and wants to invite Amy, but things don’t go according to plan. How can Peter make it right? Plus, parrots, pen and paper, the Pony Express, and other stuff inspired by the book.
“The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats” is spending the season in Akron, Ohio, where it’s on display at the Akron Art Museum from March 16 to June 30. Click through for a schedule of events. Last stop: the National Museum of American Jewish History, in Philadelphia, July 19–October 20, 2013.
Floyd Cooper has illustrated many books about the African-American experience (there’s one on The EJK List, below) and written some as well. When asked to speak at a children’s book publishing event co-hosted by the EJK Foundation, Floyd delivered a tribute to Ezra and the power of the affirmation expressed in making a black child the hero of The Snowy Day.
If You Love The Snowy Day… has a new name and even more to offer! This month features Ezra’s Regards to the Man in the Moon, a fun quiz and space-age links—plus a video of Martin Pope (President of the EJK Foundation) sharing behind-the-scenes memories of Ezra and his space odyssey.
Bonus: The debut of The EJK List, where we’ll highlight picture books, websites and assorted items dedicated to diversity in children’s literature. First up, recommended reading that brings African-American history to life, introduced by Executive Director Deborah Pope in a segment on the TV news channel NY1.
New game! Different Strokes
In Regards to the Man in the Moon, every locale from the junkyard to the heavens is rendered in fine detail. Our latest game puts some of the pages side by side—can you spot the differing details before time runs out?
A lesson plan based on Regards to the Man in the Moon takes a first-grade class on its own trip to the stars, where the students learn multiple skills, but especially how to use their imaginations.
Bay Area, beware: On February 24, “The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats” closes at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. See it before it travels on! Next stops: the Akron Art Museum in Ohio, March 16–June 30, 2013; and the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, July 19–October 20, 2013.
Educators, there is still time to take a last, objective look at your EJK Minigrant application before the March 15 deadline. Hopefully, you’ve designed a project that will inspire your students, benefit the community and be fun for everyone. Expect to hear from us by late May—if your proposal is accepted, you’ll be able to plan your project for the fall. If not, we urge you to regroup and try again next year. Good luck!
Publisher Viking/Penguin declares January The Snowy Day Month! To celebrate, they put together a roster of class activities (and we added some of our own!). Creative lesson plans, cool projects, fun and games…what better way to warm up wintry school days?
After Superstorm Sandy, teachers up and down the Eastern Seaboard put superhuman effort into creating a reassuring and calm learning environment for schoolkids whose world had been turned upside down. Here, two New York City teachers tell us what it was like. These teachers, and many more like them, are the kind of heroes we do not hear enough about. Read their stories!
Our new section, Teacher Features, presents great lesson plans and more. This month, a rotating schedule of learning centers let kindergarten classes get creative with The Snowy Day.
New! Play Dot to Dot
Is there anything cuter than a puppy or a kitten? Maybe a puppy and four kittens, playing make-believe? In our latest game, based on Keats’s Kitten for a Day, you can follow the dots to complete the pictures and enjoy what comes next!
Simms Tayback was a celebrated illustrator whose career took off around the same time as his friend Ezra’s. In an essay he wrote for Keats’s Neighborhood, he reminisced about watching Ezra work on The Snowy Day and how Ezra’s method influenced his own.
Enjoy a lovely film version by a young filmmaker, and the heartwarming family story that inspired it. Plus, Ezra’s Caldecott acceptance speech and even more reasons for The Snowy Day’s enduring appeal.
What better way to mark the end of The Snowy Day anniversary year than to celebrate with the people who really get it: the ones who create, publish and steward the picture books we all love. So on November 16, the EJK Foundation, the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection and the Society of Illustrators hosted a pre-holiday soiree, at the Society’s Manhattan townhouse. Among the merrymakers, pictured with Executive Director Deborah Pope (second from left): authors and illustrators Marisabina Russo, Floyd Cooper and Richard Peck.
The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco has a roster full of workshops, storytelling, tours and movies to complement the exhibition “The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats,” on display through February 24, 2013.
’Tis the season…for gift-giving recommendations from Executive Director Deborah Pope! At left, she talks with NY1’s Shelley Goldberg (left) about a diverse group of picture books that young readers will love.
As Gordon on “Sesame Street,” Roscoe Orman has entertained and educated generations of preschoolers over the past 30 years, and this summer he gave an inspired reading of The Snowy Day to a crowd of Keats lovers, young and old. Read how Roscoe finds the magic in Ezra’s skillful storytelling.
Try Kitten for a Day, one of Ezra’s cats-and-dogs stories for beginning readers. A puppy discovers four kittens, who invite him to play. The nearly wordless book follows their adventures with lively illustrations and sound-words that are fun to say out loud. It’s a delightful notion of what pets do when no one’s around, written especially for the tots who love them.
New! Educator’s Corner
You won’t recognize the old place! Come for the wealth of Keats-related information, now called Resources and soon to be reorganized, expanded and easier to use. Stay for our new page, Teacher Features, showcasing stellar lesson plans, Q&As and ready-to-use ideas. Check back for more ways to use Keats in the curriculum—and share some ideas of your own.
New! Game, Set, Match
Take The Trip to Louie’s neighborhood with our new online game, Trip Your Memory! Wonder what’s behind all those windows? And once you click to look, how much can you remember? The trick is to match up identical pairs of images—the treat is to reveal the hidden picture. Happy Halloween!
Press Release: 27th Annual Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Book Awards Call for Children’s Picture Book Submissions
NEW YORK–October 24, 2012–The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi, is accepting submissions from publishers for the 27th Annual Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Book Awards. Submissions will be accepted through December 30, 2012.
There’s nothing like the joy of remembering through a favorite book—unless it’s sharing the experience with a new generation. Read what The Snowy Day means to New York news anchor Dana Tyler.
Our new video of the 2012 EJK Bookmaking Competition is live! In this eight-minute presentation we documented the process from the classroom to the exhibition to show how the program works and how much it means to students and teachers alike, in their own words.
Have you read The Trip? Come fly with shy Louie as he finds an imaginative way to keep old friends close after his family moves away. Keats conjures up a daydream that’s perfect for Halloween night.
Big news! The EJK Bookmaking Competition is making its West Coast debut, courtesy of the San Francisco Unified School District and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, where “The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats” is on display from November 15 through February 24, 2013. The show is sure to inspire student bookmakers from grades K-12.
Educators, it’s smart to start the application process for an EJK Minigrant now. The deadline is March 15, 2013, but if you take some extra time to design a project that will inspire your students, benefit the community and be fun for everyone—the result might be just what your school or library needs!
Seeing her young daughter and, later, her grandchildren embrace The Snowy Day, Whoopi Goldberg wondered what it was about children’s books like the Keats classic that continues to capture young hearts. Read the star’s touching take on how kids read.
New! Game On
Our latest online game is the Pet Show Shuffle!, starring Archie’s irrepressible cat. He’s got to get signed up before the pet show begins. Don’t let him get away—if he’s not in the contest, how will he win?
Try Pet Show! In Ezra’s last book about Peter and his gang, it’s his best friend, Archie, who shines. He’s hilariously inventive in his choice of pet and touchingly generous toward an elderly neighbor. Lively and surprising, this is a fun episode in the kids’ lives. And be sure to enjoy the Pet Show Shuffle!
Where better to go than Amherst, Massachusetts, in leaf-peeping season? The foliage is spectacular, and it’s the last chance to see “The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats” at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art before the show closes on October 14. But if autumn in New England is inconvenient, the Keats retrospective is on display at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco from November 15 through February 24, 2013. Winter in the Bay Area sounds pretty nice, too.
July and August
Join in the Summer Fun
The temperature was high and so were the spirits on Sunday afternoon, July 8, for a special edition of the EJK Family Concert, part of the summer performance series Celebrate Brooklyn! This year as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Snowy Day, a large and joyous crowd turned out, chilling with Sesame Street’s Roscoe Orman reading Ezra’s classic, then warming up to the rhythm of vocalists extraordinaire Sweet Honey in the Rock. • Read a rave review of the day’s performances (International Music Network)
Summer is Keats season in Prospect Park! Every Saturday in July and August, the EJK Story Hour unfolds at the Peter Statue, in the Imagination Playground, at 2 p.m.
Author John Hodgman is an expert on many topics—and his grasp of knowledge happens to be hilariously bizarre. But The Snowy Day is one subject this humorist is serious about. Read Hodgman’s thoughtful take on Keats’s artistry.
“The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats,” organized by the Jewish Museum in New York, is making the second stop on its four-city tour. The show opens at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, on June 26 and will run through October 14, with a program of workshops, films and guest speakers. Next stop: The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, where the show will open on November 15.
Try John Henry, an American Legend. It’s a different side of Keats: a reimagining, with bold graphics and language, of this classic tale of heroism and destiny. Plus, folklore, railroad lore and music, inspired by the saga of the steel-driving man.
Press Release: 24th Annual Ezra Jack Keats Minigrant Program Awards Teachers and Librarians Across 26 States
NEW YORK—May 30, 2012—This is the 24th year that the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation has awarded Minigrants to public schools and libraries across the United States. A total of 50 grants were awarded to educators in 26 states with each recipient receiving up to $500 for specific programs that they have planned for the next academic year. • Visit our Minigrant pages for a list of 2012 recipients
Press Release: 26th Annual Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition Press Release
NEW YORK, April 26, 2012—The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation in partnership with the New York City Department of Education announced today the winners of the 26th annual city-wide Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition for grades 3-12.
• Visit our Bookmaking pages for the 2012 Competition Catalogue, a complete list of winners, great how-tos, and much more!
Now you can find our Snowy Day coverage to date in one location, making it easier to track the traveling Keats exhibition, or meet some of Ezra’s African fans, or see what others have planned for this anniversary year. Celebrations are taking place all over, from classrooms to concert spaces, and we’ll be posting about them. So keep checking back—there’s more to come!
On Sunday, July 8, the annual Ezra Jack Keats Family Concert serves up an afternoon of readings, music and festivities as part of the spectacular performance series Celebrate Brooklyn! This year, Celebrate Brooklyn! joins our 50th anniversary celebration of The Snowy Day with the amazing harmonies of Sweet Honey in the Rock, at 4 p.m.
The way children were portrayed in picture books changed radically with the publication of Where the Wild Things Are, in 1963. Plenty of children had misbehaved in stories before Sendak, but never had they loved misbehaving so much! Much has been written about Sendak’s view of children―their dreams and nightmares, their desires, their “monsters.” His children are characters in their own fantasies, yet are not so different from the children we know. Ezra and Maurice (pictured together at left) were good friends and colleagues, both Brooklyn boys sifting through their childhoods for hard-won truths about growing up. At the height of their success, both men were among the many consultants on the development of Sesame Street. It’s difficult for some of us to see that TV neighborhood without thinking of Ezra, or Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch without thinking of Maurice. His shadow is long, and that’s a very good thing.
Sometimes a very young reader has a special moment with a book that lasts a lifetime. For Al Roker, co-host and weatherman for the Today show on NBC, that book was The Snowy Day. He told us why reading Ezra’s gentle story as a child remains a cherished memory.
The 2012 Book Award celebration was a wonderful occasion for children’s book veterans and beginners alike. Read Deborah Pope’s impressions of the joyful event, and the words of our winners, Meg Medina and Jennie Kostecki-Shaw, about what accepting their awards means to them.
Join us in May for a month of festivities honoring the 26th annual Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition. All events, from the display of winning books to a day of family fun, are happening at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch at Grand Army Plaza.
What’s the connection between Ezra and The Hunger Games? The answer might surprise you. Plus, more media coverage on the 50th anniversary of The Snowy Day, and the case for multicultural children’s books. Click here for previous press clips.
As an advocate for children, Mario Batali has high praise for Keats and The Snowy Day. Find out how he and Books for Kids head Shawna Hamilton Doster use Ezra’s classic as a “tool for change.”
You might want to discover other books that Ezra wrote about Peter. Have you read A Letter to Amy? Its plot involves a secret letter, a birthday party and a talking parrot! And enjoy a fun video, great links and more.
The evidence doesn’t lie: Ezra’s public keeps on growing. The Jewish Museum reports that “The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats” exceeded attendance goals by nearly 30 percent—bringing in 45,000 visitors, including a record 300+ group tours. What’s more, the show set off a massive growth spurt for the Museum: membership increased by 11 percent, Facebook fans by more than 40 percent, and Twitter followers by a whopping 81 percent! Take a virtual tour of the exhibition
Press Release: 26th Annual Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Award Winners Announced
NEW YORK, March 6, 2012—The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation in partnership with the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi Libraries announced today the winners of the 26th Annual Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Awards. • Read interviews with the winners, and more
Tune in to NPR as the EJK Foundation celebrates the winners of New Writer and New Illustrator Awards on select stations! Listen for our sponsored spots, running from March 26 to April 8, in New York (WNYC – 93.9 FM), Chicago (WBEZ – 91.5 FM), Los Angeles (KCRW – 89.9 FM) and Atlanta (WABE – 90.1 FM).
Actor-writer Ben Stiller grew up in New York City, where schools don’t often close due to bad weather—so he recalls no-school snow days as a very special treat. Ben is one of the prominent Keats fans we’ve asked to share their childhood memories of The Snowy Day. See how Ben’s compares with yours.
It didn’t snow everywhere on March 7, but The Snowy Day was front and center for World Read-Aloud Day. Miss USA, Alyssa Campanella, and children’s author Katherine Paterson gave readings of the Keats classic to a rapt audience of New York City schoolkids—among the 20 classes hosted by the literacy organization LitWorld. On the West Coast, LeVar Burton read The Snowy Day for Google+. Both events were livestreamed around the world. And later that evening, how many parents read aloud their childhood favorite because The Snowy Day was their children’s favorite too? Left: Clifford the Big Red Dog assists Miss USA (at right). Right: Bridget, a student in Madina, Ghana, is a Girls LitClub member and a Keats fan.
It has come to our attention that we may not have received some Minigrant applications. If you sent an application and did not receive an immediate email confirmation, it’s very likely that your application did not go through. If that is the case, please reapply. We recommend using a different browser, and if possible a different computer. The Minigrant deadline for 2012 has been extended to 11:59 p.m., March 31, from March 15.
Tune in to our new animated, syncopated video of The Snowy Day, the latest read-aloud on our Fun & Games page. It’s the perfect way to unwind after playing a few exhilarating rounds of The Snowy Day Game.
Updating the media coverage on The Snowy Day—the impact it made a half-century ago and its enduring influence on children’s literature. Click here for previous press clips.
You’ll want to discover other delightful Keats stories. Each month we’ll recommend one, plus fun videos, links and more! Have you read Whistle for Willie? Find out why this tale of Peter and his dog is one of Ezra’s most popular titles.
Press Release: EJK Book Award Moves to the De Grummond
NEW YORK, December 14, 2011–The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation proudly announced today that the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Book Awards have moved to the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi Libraries from the New York Public Library.
Press Release: EJK Foundation Minigrant Program Puts Funding in the Hands of Teachers and Librarians
NEW YORK, January 11, 2012—This year marks the 24th annual call for minigrant proposals by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, with approximately 70 $500 grants to be given to qualifying teachers and librarians at public schools and libraries across the United States.
Third-graders Jasper and Helena join Louie and his friends on a trip to outer space. Visit our Film Festival page to blast off with interplanetary crafts and projects.
We’re proud of our Minigrants, which support consistently creative projects at public schools and libraries around the country. We want to share some of the truly outstanding examples we see each year, and honor the educators and students who bring them to life. Take a look at our Gallery to see why we’re looking forward to this year’s proposals.
A pair of third-graders have a lively and thoughtful discussion about Louie’s Search, and observe that things—and especially people—aren’t always what they seem.
“The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats” continues its amazing run at the Jewish Museum, with fun family activities all month long.
Fifth-graders eloquently take on Louie, and life, in The Trip. Visit our Film Festival page to watch the video, enter a world of dioramas, plus Halloween art and educational ideas.
New! The Snowy Day Game debuts on our Fun & Games page. Plus, a selection of read-aloud stories.
“The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats” opened last month at the Jewish Museum, to rave reviews. This month there are Keats-related programs for educators, children’s literature fans and kids.
“The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats,” the artist’s first major retrospective in the U.S., kicks off the 50th anniversary celebration of The Snowy Day. After the show’s New York dates, it will travel to museums around the country. September 9, 2011–January 29, 2012 Plus, a workshop for librarians on the author and illustrator Friday, September 23, 10 a.m.-Noon
Rediscover the joy of reading The Snowy Day, in a special 50th anniversary edition from Penguin. The adventure of Peter in a winter wonderland is as fresh and delightful as ever.
This month our featured book is Louie. Visit our Film Festival page for a video conversation, plus fun facts about puppetry and great craft ideas for home or school. Your kids will love puppets as much as Louie does!
EJK Foundation Executive Director Deborah Pope, who discussed diversity in children’s books with NY1’s Shelley Goldberg this week, shares some of the best resources on the web for multicultural picture books. Click through for Dr. Pope’s survey of sites where parents and teachers can go to find both popular and little-known titles that may not appear on every bookstore’s shelves.
For our featured book, Maggie and the Pirate, a teacher, a librarian and a parent meet at the library to talk about how the art enlivens the drama in this unusual tale, which revolves around a pet cricket. Plus, cricket crafts, fun facts and a video on how you can learn to chirp, too!
The joint was jumping with Dan Zanes, the Brooklyn Youth Orchestra and Bed Stuy Veterans on Saturday, July 16.
Coming Up in the Fall
“The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats,” the artist’s first major retrospective in the U.S., kicks off the 50th anniversary celebration of The Snowy Day. After the show’s New York dates, it will travel to museums around the country. September 9, 2011–January 29, 2012
Join in the Summer Fun
Featuring Dan Zanes with the Brooklyn Youth Orchestra and Bed Stuy Veterans.
Gather around the Peter statue at the Imagination Playground in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Every Saturday in July and August, at 2 p.m.
Kids are invited to wear PJs! Thursdays, August 25, September 22, at 7:30 p.m.
Our featured book this month is Pet Show! Enjoy the video, riddle, art and education projects, all around our germ Al, the quietest pet in the show.
Our Minigrant application is now ELECTRONIC ONLY! All the information you need is a click away: instructions, FAQs, the application, even a video tutorial hosted by Dr. Deborah Pope.
Beracah and Jodi wrote: “We wrote a book about dim sum because it is a part of the Chinese culture we wanted to share. We decided to make a pop-up book to make our illustrations look more realistic. We wanted you to feel like you were really in a dim sum restaurant, [so] we imagined ourselves in the restaurant…[and used] different colored and designed papers for our collage to make tables, chairs and chandeliers. We had to make the pop-ups collapsible so the book could close. We had to work together and agree on ideas for the book. It took a lot of work to make a great book.”
Keeping Ezra’s spirit alive involves more than celebrating his books…it is celebrating contemporary authors and illustrators whose work inspires a sense of inclusion, wonder and delight in children, families and educators.
Saying “Hi, Cat!,” the name of this month’s featured book, is all it takes for Archie to get a feisty neighborhood feline into the Keats menagerie.
The millinery masterpiece in Jenny’s Hat has a group of children enthralled. See the parade of princesses in their awesome hats—and some preschoolers, too!
This month’s featured book is Peter’s Chair. It’s not easy to make room for a baby, but Peter learns that it’s part of growing up, and not so bad after all.
A boy, a girl—and a parrot? What a birthday! You’re invited to Peter’s party in this month’s featured book, A Letter to Amy.
Late one night, Roberto saves the day: was it all a dream? Majka, Milo and their mom investigate in this month’s featured book, Dreams.
Two dads bond with their daughters while reading our first featured book, The Snowy Day.
The importance of children’s picture books, Executive Director Deborah Pope on the CBS news blog. And announcing the beginning of the Film Festival Celebration.
Happy holidays, plus gift ideas.
A new world record set with over 2,057,000 registered participants in Jumpstart’s Read for the Record. The event was featured on NBC’s Today show, with highlights from around the country and celebrities Patti LaBelle and Amanda Peet.
The Snowy Day is the Jumpstart Read for the Record Book this year. Join in as over 2 million children read The Snowy Day on October 7, 2010.