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City-wide Student Winners of 27th Annual Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition Announced By Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and New York City Department of Education

At an awards ceremony to be held on May 17 at the Library, the four city-wide and 23 borough-wide winners of the Bookmaking Competition will receive medals. In addition, the city-wide winners will receive $500 each and the borough-wide winners will receive $100 each from the Foundation. 
“Ezra’s legacy shines on in all of these students who worked so hard, often for months, to express their experiences in their fine and creative books,” says Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. “Our hope is that this award will encourage these young writers and illustrators to pursue their dreams just as Ezra did.” 

“We are proud of all the students who worked so diligently to create picture books.  We honor their teachers and librarians who guide them, as well as their families who nurture them,” says Karen Rosner, Coordinator of Visual Arts, New York City Department of Education, and supervisor of the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking initiative.  ”The success of each picture book is the result of inspired creativity and sustained thoughtful work. The exhibition at the Brooklyn Public Library demonstrates the talent and the rich diversity that exists in the New York City public schools.”

“We are delighted to showcase the talent of these young writers and illustrators,” says Rachel Payne, Coordinator, Early Childhood Services, Brooklyn Public Library, and one of the judges of the Competition. “They have explored topics like enduring Hurricane Sandy, finding one’s identity, and even the poetry behind the color blue using pop-ups, collage, mixed materials and more.”
Renowned children’s book author and illustrator Bryan Collier says, “At age 4, Ezra Jack Keats and The Snowy Day came into my life. When I opened the book, the main character, Peter, looked back at me and I saw my reflection—it was magical!” Collier adds, “As a member of the judging panel at this year’s competition, I’ve had the privilege of reading the books of a new generation of talented young writers and illustrators who, like Ezra, bring magic to their readers’ lives.”

Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition Goes to San Francisco
The Contemporary Jewish Museum, Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and San Francisco Unified School District staged a pilot Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition this year. Participants were honored at an awards ceremony at the Contemporary Jewish Museum on February 21. The books were on display March 2-10 at the San Francisco Unified School District Arts Festival at the Asian Art Museum.
Other cities are also considering having the Competition in their communities.

Manhattan and Brooklyn Students Take Home Top Awards

The Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition is divided into three categories: elementary (grades 3-5), middle (grades 6-8) and high school (grades 9-12). This includes elementary, middle and high school winners from Districts 75 and 79.
In the grades 3-5 category, the city-wide winner is:
Surviving Hurricane Sandy, written and illustrated by Ellie Hui and co-illustrated by Vincent Chen (Grade 3)
P.S. / I.S. 229, The Dyker School, Brooklyn. Tanis Coniglione, Teacher; Marie Dorval, Visual Arts Teacher; Ann Keegan, Librarian; Robert Zappulla, Principal.
The winners sayEllie Hui: “The story is dedicated to our classmate John, who came to our school when his house got ruined by Hurricane Sandy. I wrote the story first, then my friend Vincent and I did the illustrations. Doing the book—especially drawing in perspective—was hard, but I was lucky to learn perspective. I felt proud when my teacher read our book to my class.” Vincent Chen: “When my teacher told me I won, I was excited. I now think that I’m very good at drawing and want to be an artist when I grow up. I had a good time sharing ideas with Ellie. I’m going to save the prize money so that I can buy a good car when I grow up…and then an iPhone 5.”
In the grades 6-8 category, the city-wide winner is:
We Are Not Alone, by Amelia Samoylov (Grade 6)
The Bay Academy for the Arts & Sciences, Brooklyn. Mandi Bracho, English Teacher; Marietta Falconieri, Librarian; Maria Timo, Principal.
The winner says: “I created We Are Not Alone based on my family’s experience during Hurricane Sandy. Our house—like many others in Sea Gate—was badly damaged. I felt helpless and scared. My book is dedicated to anyone affected by Sandy and to those who helped us. It’s meant to help people deal with their emotions…to know that they are not alone. Making the book and winning the award made me realize that I really want to write and draw more books.”
In the grades 9-12 category, the city-wide winner is:
Shell, by Helen Lin (Grade 11)
Stuyvesant High School, Manhattan. Leslie Bernstein, Visual Arts Teacher; Jie Zhang, Principal.
The winner says: “Shell is a picture book about a girl trying to find her identity by purposely entering her ‘Wonderland’ so she doesn’t have to deal with her earthly problems…I drew and painted pictures of [her] journey as she tries to fit in with the society of that world by wearing a mask, until the ruler sees through the disguise and the girl realizes that she has to come back to earth and face her problems. In the end, she manages to find herself, and shed [her] ‘shell’…”
For a  list of city-wide and borough-wide winners, visit 2013 Bookmaking Competition Winners.

Guidelines and Judging

The annual Bookmaking Competition begins each fall. Public school students are invited to come up with an intriguing theme, create engaging text, and integrate illustrations using a range of media. Expressive writing and artwork are encouraged.
The process is integrated into classroom instruction with a strong emphasis on the study of picture books. Student books are created under the supervision of a teacher and/or librarian.
The judging panel, which is comprised of New York-based librarians, artists and teachers, focuses on the quality of writing, illustrations and presentation. This year’s panel of judges includes:
  • Bryan Collier, Children’s Book Author & Illustrator
  • Melissa Jacobs-Israel, Coordinator, NYC School Library System
  • David Mowery, former Division Chief, Youth Wing, Central Library, Brooklyn Public Library
  • Barbara Ornstein, former Children’s Specialist, Central Library, Brooklyn Public Library
  • John Peters, former Supervising Librarian, The Children’s Center at 42nd Street, New York Public Library
  • Felix Plaza, Bibliobus Outreach Associate, Brooklyn Public Library
  • Rachel Payne, Coordinator, Early Childhood Services, Brooklyn Public Library
  • Jo Beth Ravitz, Artist, Art Consultant
  • Ronnie Seiden Moss, Artist, Art Teacher, Coordinator, Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition
  • Christine Scheper, Children’s Materials Specialist, Queens Library
  • David Ezra Stein, Children’s Book Author & Illustrator

About the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation

Founded by the late Caldecott award-winning children’s book author and illustrator, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation supports arts and literacy programming in public schools and libraries across the country, with the goal of bringing the joy of reading and learning to all children while highlighting the importance of diversity in children’s books. In addition to the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition, the Foundation sponsors the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Book Awards, which honor books that, in the spirit of Ezra, portray the universal qualities of childhood, a strong and supportive family and the multicultural nature of our world; and the Ezra Jack Keats Minigrant Program, which has put more than three-quarters of a million dollars in funding directly into the hands of teachers and librarians across the United States whose programs reach beyond the basic curriculum to inspire.  For information about the Foundation, please visit www.ezra-jack-keats.org.
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