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 2018

Illustrator – Winner

Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters
by Evan Turk

Publication Date:
List Price: $17.99
Format: Hardcover, 48 pages
Classification: Nonfiction
Target Age Group: Picture Book
ISBN13: 9781481443494
Imprint: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation
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Read a Description of Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters


Book Description: 
An Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Winner
A New York Times Best Illustrated Book
An NPR Best Book of the Year
A Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
A Parents’ Choice Gold Award Winner

A picture book celebration of the indomitable Muddy Waters, a blues musician whose fierce and electric sound laid the groundwork for what would become rock and roll.

Muddy Waters was never good at doing what he was told. When Grandma Della said the blues wouldn’t put food on the table, Muddy didn’t listen. And when record producers told him no one wanted to listen to a country boy playing country blues, Muddy ignored them as well. This tenacious streak carried Muddy from the hardscrabble fields of Mississippi to the smoky juke joints of Chicago and finally to a recording studio where a landmark record was made.

Soon the world fell in love with the tough spirit of Muddy Waters. In blues-infused prose and soulful illustrations, Michael Mahin and award-winning artist Evan Turk tell Muddy’s fascinating and inspiring story of struggle, determination, and hope.

Writer – Winner

Book Description: 
The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices.

A fresh cut makes boys fly.

This rhythmic, read-aloud title is an unbridled celebration of the self-esteem, confidence, and swagger boys feel when they leave the barber’s chair—a tradition that places on their heads a figurative crown, beaming with jewels, that confirms their brilliance and worth and helps them not only love and accept themselves but also take a giant step toward caring how they present themselves to the world. The fresh cuts. That’s where it all begins.

Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut is a high-spirited, engaging salute to the beautiful, raw, assured humanity of black boys and how they see themselves when they approve of their reflections in the mirror.