2019 Ezra Jack Keats Award Winners

On Wednesday, February 20, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation announced the winners of the 2019 Ezra Jack Keats Award. Given each year to both an outstanding writer and illustrator, the two-part award celebrates diversity in children’s books. This year’s awards will be presented Thursday, April 4, during the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. The award winners and honorees are listed below, with linked Booklist reviews when available.


 Kitten and the Night Watchman, by John Sullivan and illustrated by Taeeun Yoo (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman)

Writer Honor

 Alma and How She Got Her Name, written and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal (Candlewick)

 The Funeral, written and illustrated by Matt James (Groundwood)

Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous, by Keith Calabrese and illustrated by Juana Medina (Atheneum)



Thank You, Omu! written and illustrated by Oge Mora (Little, Brown)

Illustrator Honor

Julián is a Mermaid, written and illustrated by Jessica Love (Candlewick)

Prickly Hedgehogs!, written and illustrated by Jane McGuinness (Candlewick)



About the Author:

Michael Ruzicka, Office Manager, was raised in suburban Los Angeles, received a BA in Creative Writing/Poetry at UC Santa Cruz, then moved to Birmingham, AL, where he spent five years owning an independent bookstore and earned an MLIS. He has brought his librarian skills to Vanderbilt’s Television News Archive, Battle Ground Academy, The Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago, and the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Michael is very excited to be a part of Booklist and call Chicago his home.

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