Kari Percival and Doug Salati are the winners of this year’s Ezra Jack Keats Awards, given annually to “exceptional early career authors and illustrators for portraying the multicultural nature of our world.”
Percival won the writer award for How To Say Hello to a Worm, which she also illustrated, about children learning how to garden. A critic for Kirkus wrote of the book, “Eye-catching art and simple, clear text plant the seeds for a young gardener.”
Salati took home the illustrator award for his Caldecott Medal–winning Hot Dog, which he wrote as well. The Caldecott Medal–winning book tells the story of a pup who escapes the city heat with a trip to the beach; in a starred review, a Kirkus reviewer called the book an “expertly wrought tale of physical and emotional relief.”
The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation also named two honor books in each category. The writer honors went to Pauline David-Sax for Everything in Its Place, illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow, and Juliana Perdomo for Sometimes, All I Need Is Me, which she also illustrated.
Taking home the illustrator honors were Chioma Ebinama for Emile and the Field, written by Kevin Young, and Zahra Marwan for Where Butterflies Fill the Sky, which she wrote.
The Ezra Jack Keats Award is named in honor of the creator of the classic picture book The Snowy Day. The writer award was established in 1985, with the illustrator award added in 2001. Past winners have included writer Meg Medina for Tía Isa Wants a Car (illustrated by Claudio Muñoz) and illustrator Ashleigh Corrin for Layla’s Happiness (written by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie).
Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.