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This Year's Best New Illustrator and Best New Writer of Children's Books to Be Honored at Donnell Library Center, April 29
New York, NY, February 19, 2004 -- The New York Public Library and the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation are pleased to announce the 2004 winners of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustator Book Awards. They are Gabi Swiatkowska, illustrator of My Name Is Yoon (written by Helen Recorvits and published by Frances Foster Books, Farrar, Straus and Giroux) and Jeron Ashford Frame, author of Yesterday I Had the Blues (illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and published by Tricycle Press).
The Awards will be presented on April 29 at 5 p.m. at a ceremony open to the public in the Central Children's Room of the Donnell Library Center, located at 20 West 53rd Street in Manhattan. The awards recognize and celebrate new children's book authors and illustrators, and encourage talented artists, who in the spirit of Ezra Jack Keats, create vividly written and illustrated books that offer fresh and positive views of the complicated and multicultural world inhabited by children today.
In My Name Is Yoon, Gabi Swiatkowska lends a beautiful dreamlike quality to her images in Helen Recorvits' tale of a small girl trying to find her place in a new country. As a recent immigrant, Yoon struggles to overcome her isolation and loneliness, and she slowly makes new friends. Ms. Swiatkowska, who studied painting at the Lyceum of Art in Bielsko, Poland, warmly conveys the mix of cultures in Yoon's new world, as well as the girl's wonderful imagination, in her artwork. She has illustrated one other picture book, Hannah's Bookmobile Christmas by Sally Derby; she lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Yesterday I Had the Blues marks Jeron Ashford Frame's debut as a children's book author. Her story, illustrated with the urban artwork of R. Gregory Christie, is about a boy who introduces the reader to the other members of his family. Their individual personalities and moods are described through colors (Talia says . . . she got the saxophone in the subway indigos) in the storytelling style of blues singers. Jeron Ashford Frame is a freelance writer who also works at an academic library and teaches piano. She lives in Pennsylvania.
On April 29, both honorees will receive an Ezra Jack Keats/NYPL Medal and a $1,000 cash prize, made possible through the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. The winning books' publishers will also affix an adhesive medallion to the cover of each book, identifying Yesterday I Had the Blues and My Name Is Yoon as the 2004 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Winners.
About the Ezra Jack Keats Awards
Presented jointly by The New York Public Library and the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and now in their 17th year, the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Awards are given annually to an outstanding new writer and illustrator of picture books for children. The selection jury for the 2004 Awards was chaired by Rita Auerbach, School Librarian, Port Washington, and included author Cari Best; Karen Breen, Juvenile Book Review Editor for Kirkus Review; Sandra Kennedy Bright, Director, School Library Services, New York City Department of Education; author/illustrator Pat Cummings; author/illustrator Brian Pinkney; Judith Rovenger, Youth Services Consultant for the Westchester Library System; scholar and author Leonard Marcus; and author/illustrator Paul Zelinsky.
The Award Committee seeks out books that portray the goals and values of Ezra Jack Keats, as expressed in his multicultural books including: the universal qualities of childhood, a strong belief in family and community, and creativity and love of learning. Author of many classic books for children, including the Caldecott winning book, The Snowy Day, Keats determined that his foundation would be dedicated to fostering the talent of the generations of children, artists, and authors who would follow him. For more about the foundation, visit www.ezra-jack-keats.org.
Past recipients of this award include last year's winners Shirin Yim Bridges and Sophie Blackall for Ruby's Wish; Deborah Wiles and Jerome Lagarrigue for Freedom Summer; Bryan Collier for Uptown; and Faith Ringold for Tar Beach. (Please see the attached list of all previous winners for details.)
Contact: Tina Hoerenz, 212.704.8600.