NEW YORK—June 2, 2016—In honor of the late children’s author-illustrator Ezra Jack Keats’ centenary, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation has organized an “Ezra Jack Keats’ 100th Birthday Blowout Weekend,” June 9th through June 11th, in Brooklyn. This special weekend is capped off with the Ezra Jack Keats Family Concert, part of the Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, on Saturday, June 11th.
“Ezra was born in Brooklyn,” says Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, “so what could be more fitting than to celebrate his 100th birthday here.”
On Saturday, June 11th, at 4 p.m. at the Prospect Park Bandshell, families will enjoy a free concert by popular folk performer Dan Zanes. An annual tradition, the Ezra Jack Keats Family Concert will be full of additional surprises this year in honor of Ezra’s 100th:
- A Keats StoryWalk set up near the Bandshell in Prospect Park;
- A large mural of New York for children to decorate using art supplies generously provided by Artist & Craftsman Supply, 307 2nd Avenue, Park Slope;
- Ezra Jack Keats Bookshop, hosted by powerHouse Books, with an array of Keats favorites;
- TADA! Youth Theater performing a section of the musical “Adventures from Ezra Jack Keats”;
- Movies of two of Keats’ stories shown onstage;
- A raffle of Keats books conducted by special guest Ellen Ruffin, Curator of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, home to the Keats Archive.
Says Jack Walsh, Vice President of Performing Arts at BRIC and Executive Producer of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, “This 100th birthday party for Ezra will be a very special occasion that celebrates storytelling, music, art, kids and families—and, of course, Brooklyn! With Dan Zanes, a Celebrate Brooklyn! favorite, TADA! and all the offstage activities planned, the 2016 Ezra Jack Keats ‘Birthday Blowout’ concert will be a huge success and leave a lasting impression on everyone who attends!”
About the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
Keats established The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation in 1964. After his death in 1983, Martin Pope, Keats’ best friend from childhood, and his wife, Lillie Pope, led the Foundation into the field of education with programs that extended to future generations of children the kind of help and encouragement that kept Keats going when he was growing up.
Now under the leadership of Deborah Pope, daughter of Martin and Lillie, the Foundation supports arts and literacy programs in public schools and libraries; cultivates new writers and illustrators of exceptional picture books, and promotes increased diversity in children’s literature.
Keats. Imagination. Diversity.
To learn more, visit www.ezra-jack-keats.org.