Last night the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and the New York Public Library revealed the winners of the 2011 Ezra Jack Keats Awards. Laurel Croza won the New Writer Award for I Know Here. Tao Nyeu won the New Illustrator Award for Bunny Days.
The annual award honors two individuals who create picture books for children (age 9 and under). Library Journal editor Barbara Genco chaired a committee of nine industry professionals to select the two winners.
Here’s an excerpt from Croza’s acceptance speech: “In the fall of 2003, I enrolled in a creative nonfiction class called ‘True to Life: Writing Your Own Story’… my first writing assignment was ‘draw a map of your earliest remembered neighborhood. Bring this neighborhood to life and then tell a story from the map.’ And that’s why this award, the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, is so fitting, so apt because brand new to writing, the very first story I wrote became the first draft for this book, I Know Here. ” (Photo Credit: Jori Klein)