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The 34th Annual Ezra Jack Keats / NYC Department of Education Bookmaking Competition

Did you know that over the past 33 years, New York City public schoolchildren have written and illustrated enough books to fill a small library? These are no ordinary books; they are all made by hand and cover a wide range of subjects and genres. The best reach heights of artistry and imagination that leave readers awestruck and move them emotionally.

The motive for this literary and artistic activity is the opportunity to enter the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition. The program is the result of the longstanding partnership between the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and the New York City Department of Education. For the tenth year in a row, Brooklyn Public Library is delighted to host the judging of this competition and exhibit the schoolwide, boroughwide, and citywide winners. By every measure, this initiative continues to be a great success.

Students in grades 3 to 12 in every public school are invited to participate. In New York, that means children from every borough, many of whom represent countries around the world, are recognized for their abilities. Winners have included students in gifted and special education programs, in traditional classrooms, and in alternative learning spaces. Each winner's supervising teacher or librarian receives recognition as well. In that way, the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition honors those teachers and librarians who fostered Keats' artistic talent so many years ago.

City Wide Winners

Children in World War II Children in World War II, by Patrick Szewczyk
Grades 3-5
The TelephoneThe Telephone, by Andre Kulikov
Grades 6-8
The Comforts of HomeThe Comforts of Home, by Nadine Baidan
Grades 9-12

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Feature Presentation by Guest Artist Rowboat Watkins 

Ezra Jack Keats FoundationAbout the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation:
The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation has actively fostered children’s creativity and love of reading since 1985. The Foundation awards 70 EJK Mini-Grants annually to public schools and libraries, for arts and literacy programs, across 50 states; administers the EJK Bookmaking Competition, grades 3-12, in the nation's largest school system, for 34 years running; and, with the EJK Award, has encouraged over 90 exceptional early career authors and illustrators to create children’s books that reflect our diverse culture. In celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the EJK Award, the Foundation is about to launch a year-long public awareness and educational campaign in June 2020.

For information about the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, please visit

From the NYC Department of Education:
Creating a picture book involves higher ordered thinking skills, well developed organizational abilities, perseverance, and an independent spirit of creativity. These are the qualities of a successful individual. The New York City Department of Education is pleased to collaborate with the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation on an initiative that addresses what we value in a well-rounded education.

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