Author Tricia Elam Walker and illustrator Heidi Woodward Sheffield are the winners of the 2021 Ezra Jack Keats Awards, which honor emerging talent in children’s literature.

Walker won the writer’s award for Nana Akua Goes to School, about a girl who’s looking forward to Grandparents Day at her school, but is concerned that her classmates might make fun of Ghanaian grandmother’s facial markings. A reviewer for Kirkus called the book “a wonderful springboard for cross-cultural understanding conveyed through deeply symbolic art.”

Sheffield was named the winner of the illustrator’s award for Brick by Brick, which she also wrote. The book tells the story of a boy named Luis who yearns for a house for his family; a Kirkus critic said that Sheffield “excels with boisterously textured, mixed-media illustrations.”

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation also named four honorees. In the writing category, the honors went to Raymond Antrobus for Can Bears Ski? and Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey for The Old Truck; the honored illustrators were Steve Small for I’m Sticking With You and Victoria Tentler-Krylov for Cyclops of Central Park.

The Ezra Jack Keats Awards, named after the beloved author of The Snowy Day, was first awarded in 1985. Previous winners have included Valerie Flournoy for The Patchwork Quilt, Juan Felipe Herrera for Calling the Doves, and John Sullivan for Kitten and the Night Watchman.

Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.