The 2023 Annual Ezra Jack Keats / NYC Public Schools Bookmaking Competition

Central Library, Youth Wing
The 37th Annual Ezra Jack Keats / NYC Public Schools Bookmaking Competition

From the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation:
Did you know that over the past 37 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, 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.

Ezra Jack Keats FoundationFrom the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation:
The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation’s mission is to support teachers and librarians in public schools and libraries across the country, to foster the creation of outstanding and diverse children’s literature and to bring the joy of reading and learning to all children. In addition to the Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition the Foundation’s programs include the prestigious Ezra Jack Keats Award for early career authors and illustrators of children's books and the Ezra Jack Keats Minigrant program. For information about the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, please visit


From the NYC Department of Education:
Creating a picture book involves higher order thinking skills, well developed organizational abilities, perseverance, and an independent spirit of creativity. These are the qualities of a successful individual. New York City Public Schools 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 New York City Public Schools, please visit

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