Ezra Jack Keats Award Winning and Honored Books

The Newbery Medal or Honor Seal

The Ezra Jack Keats Award was established in 1985 and the New Illustrator Award in 2001 to recognize and encourage emerging talent in the field of children’s books. Many past winners have gone on to distinguished careers, creating books beloved by parents, children, librarians and teachers around the world. The EJK Award is given annually to an outstanding new writer and new illustrator by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. A distinguished selection committee of early childhood education specialists, librarians, illustrators and experts in children’s literature reviews the entries, seeking books that portray the universal qualities of childhood, a strong and supportive family, and the multicultural nature of our world. To be eligible, writers and illustrators must have had no more than three books previously published. The award includes a prize of $3,000 for each winner. Learn more about this award at Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.

Below are the Ezra Jack Keats Award Winning, or Honored, Books Featuring Black Main Characters


2 Books Recieved The Ezra Jack Keats Award or Honor in 2002

Illustrator – Winner

Freedom Summer
by Deborah Wiles, Illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue

Publication Date:
List Price: $7.99
Format: Paperback, 32 pages
Classification: Fiction
Target Age Group: Picture Book
ISBN13: 9780689878299
Imprint: Aladdin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation
Borrow from Library

Read a Description of Freedom Summer


Book Description: 
John Henry swims better than anyone I know.
He crawls like a catfish,
blows bubbles like a swamp monster,
but he doesn’t swim in the town pool with me.
He’s not allowed.
Joe and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim. But there’s one important way they’re different: Joe is white and John Henry is black, and in the South in 1964, that means John Henry isn’t allowed to do everything his best friend is. Then a law is passed that forbids segregation and opens the town pool to everyone. Joe and John Henry are so excited they race each other there…only to discover that it takes more than a new law to change people’s hearts.

Writer – Winner

Freedom Summer
by Deborah Wiles, Illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue

Publication Date:
List Price: $7.99
Format: Paperback, 32 pages
Classification: Fiction
Target Age Group: Picture Book
ISBN13: 9780689878299
Imprint: Aladdin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation
Borrow from Library

Read a Description of Freedom Summer


Book Description: 
John Henry swims better than anyone I know.
He crawls like a catfish,
blows bubbles like a swamp monster,
but he doesn’t swim in the town pool with me.
He’s not allowed.
Joe and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim. But there’s one important way they’re different: Joe is white and John Henry is black, and in the South in 1964, that means John Henry isn’t allowed to do everything his best friend is. Then a law is passed that forbids segregation and opens the town pool to everyone. Joe and John Henry are so excited they race each other there…only to discover that it takes more than a new law to change people’s hearts.