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Winners of the 2007 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Announced By The New York Public Library and the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
Kristen Balouch and Kelly Cunnane will be honored for Excellence in the Field of Children’s Literature at May 10 ceremony
Children’s book illustrator Kristen Balouch and writer Kelly Cunnane will be awarded the 2007 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for their outstanding work in children’s literature on May 10, 2007 at 5 p.m. in The New York Public Library’s Donnell Library Center located on 20 West 53rd Street in Manhattan. (Members of the press who would like to attend may rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Brooklyn based Kristen Balouch will receive the New Illustrator Award for her book, Mystery Bottle (Hyperion, 2006), a heartwarming story about a young boy and his grandfather separated by the distance of their countries and united by a mysterious bottle.
The 2007 New Writer Award will go to first-time children’s book writer Kelly Cunnane for For You Are A Kenyan Child (Atheneum, 2006), illustrated by previous Keats Book Award winner Ana Juan, which recounts a day in the life of a young boy growing up a small Kenyan village. Kelly Cunnane lived in Africa for many years but now resides in Beals, Maine.
The Ezra Jack Keats Book Award was established in 1985 to recognize and encourage authors and illustrators new to the field of children's books. Many previous winners of the award have gone on to distinguished careers creating books beloved by parents, children, librarians and teachers across the country.
Past winners include Yunmee Kyong (2006 New Illustrator) for Silly Chicken, written by Rukhsana Khan (Viking); Janice N. Harrington (2005 New Writer) for Going North, illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Gabi Swiatowska (2004 New Illustrator) for My Name is Yoon (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Shirin Yim Bridges (2003) for Ruby’s Wish (Chronicle); Juan Felipe Herrera in 1997 for Calling The Doves, illustrated by Elly Simmons (Children’s Book Press); and Faith Ringold in 1993 for Tar Beach (Crown). The first Ezra Jack Keats Award went to Valerie Flournoy for The Patchwork Quilt, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (Dial) in 1986.
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 (age 9 and under) and are presented jointly by The New York Public Library and the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. A distinguished selection committee of early childhood education specialists, librarians, illustrators and experts in children’s literature review entries, seeking books that portray the universal qualities of childhood, strong and supportive families, and, true to the nature of Ezra Jack Keats’ own picture books, the multicultural nature of our world.
To be eligible, writers and illustrator must have published no more than three books. At the award ceremony the winners are presented with the Keats Book Award medallion and a check for $1,000.
About the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
Ezra Jack Keats created the foundation in 1964 as a vehicle for his personal giving. When he died in 1983, his will directed that the royalties from his books be used by the Foundation for the support of programs helpful to humanity. It was at this time that Martin Pope became President of the foundation and the nature of the institution took shape under the direction of Professor Pope and his wife, Dr. Lillie Pope.
The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation is now known for its pioneering support of bookmaking and storytelling programs, art and scholarly fellowships, portrait projects, book festivals, public libraries and schools, mural projects throughout all of the United States, as well as emerging authors and illustrators of children’s books. For more information, visit www.ezra-jack-keats.org.
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. It comprises four research centers – The Humanities and Social Sciences Library; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the Science, Industry and Business Library – and 86 Branch Libraries in Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items, including materials for the visually impaired. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English as a second language. The New York Public Library serves over 15 million patrons who come through its doors annually and another 21 million users internationally, who access collections and services through the NYPL website, www.nypl.org