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The 30th Annual Ezra Jack Keats / NYC Department of Education Bookmaking Competition

Happy 100th Birthday, Ezra Jack Keats!

From the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation:
Did you know that over the past 29 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 fifth 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.

On display in Central Library's Youth Wing are all of the schoolwide winning students, as well as boroughwide and citywide winners.

 EJK Birthday LogoAbout the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation:
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/New York City Department of Education Bookmaking Competition for grades 3 to 12, the Foundation also sponsors the prestigious Ezra Jack Keats New Writer and New Illustrator Awards for children's books and the Ezra Jack Keats Minigrant program, among others. 

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.

For more information about the DOE, please visit

To return to the Exhibitions Index page, please click here.

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