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2006 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Winners Announced: Author Mary Ann Rodman and Illustrator Yunmee Kyong
The New York Public Library and the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation Host 15th Awards Celebration at Donnell Library Center, May 11
The New York Public Library and the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation are pleased to announce the 2006 winners of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Book Awards. Mary Ann Rodman has been selected as outstanding new children's author for her picture book My Best Friend (Viking). Yunmee Kyong has been chosen as outstanding new illustrator for Silly Chicken (Viking). My Best Friend deals with the meaning of friendship as six-year-old Lily discovers in the course of a summer that getting a new bathing suit and improving her dive cannot help her impress seven-year-old Tamika. Ms Rodman's writing has been cited for its keen insights and for the realistic voices of the six- and seven-year-old protagonists of her book. The expressive, richly colored paintings of Yunmee Kyong portray a young Pakistani girl, her mother, the silly chicken, and the fluffy chick who inhabit the rural setting of Silly Chicken. Ms. Kyong depicts the jealousy and humor of the narration in this book of 'sibling' jealousy between a little girl and her mother's chicken.
The Ezra Jack Keats Awards recognize and encourage talented new children's book authors and illustrators, who, in the spirit of Ezra Jack Keats, create vividly written and illustrated children's books that offer fresh and positive views of the multicultural world inhabited by children today. Each winner receives a $1,000 cash prize and a bronze medallion. The presentations will be made on Thursday, May 11, at 5:00 p.m. in the Central Children's Room at the Donnell Library Center, 20 West 53rd Street. The ceremony is open to the public. This will be the 15th celebration for the Ezra Jack Keats Awards.
Yunmee Kyong was raised in Korea where her parents inspired her to love colors and different cultures. She now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She received a B.A. in Illustration from Kingston University in London, and a M.F.A in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York. She served as an intern in the Art Department of Farrar Strauss and Giroux and has taught art to high school students. As a freelance illustrator, her work has appeared in Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States, including The New York Times. Her work has been selected for inclusion in exhibitions in both the United States and France. Silly Chicken is her first book.
My Best Friend is Mary Ann Rodman's first children's book (her novel, Yankee Girl, was published by Farrar Straus & Giroux in 2004). She received a B.A. in Theater Arts from Lenoir-Rhyne College, a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and an M.F.A. in Writing for Children from Vermont College. For most of her professional life, she has been as a children's librarian. After a childhood of writing, she stopped when she began working. It wasn't until her husband was transferred to Bangkok, Thailand and she no longer had a job that she picked up writing again. A year later, she sold My Best Friend to Viking.
About the Ezra Jack Keats Awards
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.
Past recipients of this award include last year's winners Ana Juan for The Night Eater and Janice N. Harrington for Going North. Other winners include 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.
About The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
Contact: Rima Corben 212.704.8600