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Illustrator Ana Juan and Author Janice N. Harrington Are 2005 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award-Winners
This Year's Best New Illustrator and Best New Writer of Children's Books to Be Honored at Donnell Library Center, April 21
New York, NY, March 22, 2005-- A rotund pink creature who gobbles up darkness is the fantastic character at the center of Ana Juan's book The Night Eater . In Going North , written by Janice N. Harrington, an African-American family takes a hopeful journey from 1960s Alabama toward a better life in Lincoln, Nebraska. Harrington and Juan are the 2005 winners of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Book Awards. Ana Juan was selected for the rich illustrations she created for The Night Eater (Scholastic Press), and Janice N. Harrington won for the imaginative verse with which she has told the story of her family's travels in Going North (Farrar Straus and Giroux). The Ezra Jack Keats Book Award is presented each year by The New York Public Library and the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.
The Awards will be presented on April 21 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 celebrate and encourage 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 Going North , Janice N. Harrington takes her readers inside the journey of Jessie, a young girl traveling with her family out of the segregated South. The rhythmic feel of her text sets the pace for a trip through a landscape in which African Americans struggle for such simple needs as places to lodge or buy gas. When they reach Lincoln, Nebraska, the members of Jessie's family feel like pioneers, of both open land and of uncharted opportunity. Ms. Harrington's story is based on her own experience moving North in the mid-1960s. She is the head of Children's Services at the Champaign Public Library and is also a nationally recognized storyteller.
On April 21, 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 them as 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 19th 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 2005 Awards was chaired by Rita Auerbach, Retired School Librarian, Port Washington, N. Y., and included author Cari Best; Sandra Kennedy Bright, Retired Director, School Library Services, New York City Department of Education; author/illustrator Pat Cummings; scholar and author Leonard Marcus; Kate McClelland, Assistant Director, Perrot Library, Old Greenwich, Conn; author/illustrator Brian Pinkney; Judith Rovenger, Youth Services Consultant, Westchester Library System, Ardley, N. Y.; and author/illustrator Paul O. 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 Gabi Swiatkowska for My Name is Yoon and Jeron Ashford Frame for Yesterday I Had the Blues ; 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 . (Also see this list of previous winners)
Press Contact: Herb Scher, 212.704.8600