2020 Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition Celebration

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

View Full Gallery

Feature Presentation by Guest Artist Rowboat Watkins 


 Scavenger Hunt

Find the answers by looking closely at the virtual exhibit.

Scavenger Hunt



Kimberly Grad For the 10th year, Brooklyn Public Library is happy to showcase the beautifully innovative books made by such talented young writers and illustrators. Your hand-made books cover a wide range of subjects and genres and through their artistry leave readers awestruck. And while we can’t gather as we had planned this Spring to view your work on display at the Central Library, we celebrate your work. You should know that we are very proud of you. Perhaps one day you will continue to write and illustrate books as careers. And perhaps one day you will see those books here at the library.

Deborah Pope What incredibly beautiful books we have to celebrate this year! Each book reflects a drive for excellence and a determination to express creative viewpoints in an original way. We know that these books are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of your talent and that of each and every student who completed a book for the competition. We thank you, the students, teachers and librarians, for making this program possible, and for giving us something so hopeful to celebrate in such a difficult time.

Karen Rosner The Office of Arts and Special Projects once again is delighted to collaborate with our partners to promote this annual and most worthwhile competition. Each year hundreds of New York City public school students are truly engaged in author/illustrator studies, examining the work found in professional picture books, and then in the creative process of writing and illustrating their very own books. We appreciate the collaborative nature of this project, working with our friends in the Department of Library Services at the DOE, Brooklyn Public Library, and of course the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.

Melissa Jacobs Being a part of the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition for nearly two decades has been one of the highlights of my career as a school librarian. Reading student-created picture books written from the hearts and minds of NYC’s youth is uplifting and inspiring. Some of the books are humorous, some are dark, and some have been so moving it brought tears to the eyes of more than one judge. All stories are creative and have swept me away for just a moment into another world. Congratulations to all the writers, illustrators, and educators that have helped design this year’s picture books.