Children's book illustrator Tao Nyeu and children's author Laurel Croza were awarded 2011 Ezra Jack Keats Awards in a ceremony at the New York Public Library on Tuesday night, May 10. Celebrating excellence in children's literature by new authors and illustrators who offer new and electrifying views of today's multicultural world, the winners received a bronze medallion and a $1,000 cash prize. The awards are named for Ezra Jack Keats, illustrator of over 85 children's books; Keats also wrote the stories in 24 of the books. Keats won the Caldecott Award for his book The Snowy Day and is known for introducing multiculturalism into mainstream American children's literature through the use of Puerto Rican and black characters and using urban settings (ie: “the city”) to tell his stories.
Illustrator Tao Nyeu's wins for Bunny Days is an eye-catching, whimsical treat of a book, full of funny details and exhilarating artistry. Three stories – “Muddy Bunnies”, “Dusty Bunnies”, and “Bunny Tails” – suspend the readers' belief as bunnies are gently put into a washing machine after accidentally getting muddied; a goat and bear find bunnies in the goat's ill-working vacuum cleaner; and a bear gently reattaches tails onto bunnies after a funny pruning mishap. Nyeu was born in Akron, Ohio, and grew up in Niskayuna, New York. She earned a BFA from Cornell University and an MFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, California.
Author Laurel Crowza's I Know Here is recognized for its simple, plaintive tale of a little girl in rural Saskatchewan who finds out that her family is soon moving to big city Toronto. She thinks about what she's seen in her small town and mentally prepares for the move. “This is what I know. Here,” she says. Laurel Crowza lived near four dam sites when she was a child, moving nine times and attending six schools before she was fourteen. I Know Here is based on her memories of leaving Saskatchewan for Toronto. She lives with her family in Markham, Ontario.
About the Ezra Jack Keats Awards
The Ezra Jack Keats Awards, established in 1985, are presented jointly by The New York Public Library and the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation to talented new children's book authors and illustrators who, in the spirit of Ezra Jack Keats, create vividly written and illustrated children's books (age 9 and under). A selection committee of early childhood education specialists, librarians, illustrators, and experts in children's literature select books that portray the universal qualities of childhood, strong and supportive families, and show the world's diverse nature. To be eligible, writers and illustrators must have published no more than three books. Click here for a list of past award winners, or visit here.
About the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation is known for its pioneering support of bookmaking and storytelling programs, portrait projects, and mural projects in public libraries and public schools throughout the United States. In addition to cultivating emerging authors and illustrators of children's books, the Keats Foundation supports fellowships and scholarships for students, scholars, young artists and musicians in universities, art schools, and other public institutions nationally. For more information, visit www.ezra-jack-keats.org.
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English for speakers of other languages. All in all The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org.
Contact: Gayle Snible | 212.592.7008