Laurel Croza was awarded the 2011 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award in a ceremony at the New York Public Library on Tuesday night, May 10, for her first book I Know Here. The award is presented annually by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and the New York Public Library to recognize a talented new children’s book author who, in the spirit of Ezra Jack Keats, has created a vividly written children’s book that portrays the universal qualities of childhood, strong and supportive families, and the world’s diverse nature.
I Know Here is the story of a little girl who lives with her family in a trailer in northeastern Saskatchewan, where her father is building a dam. She knows everything about the place she lives — her road, her school, the forest where she plays hide-and-seek — but the dam is nearly finished and when summer comes the family is moving to Toronto.
“Have people in Toronto seen what I’ve seen?” the little girl asks. And with her teacher’s help at her one-room schoolhouse, she finds a way to keep everything she loves about home.
This simple, beautifully written story, complemented by Matt James’s vibrant, imaginative illustrations, will resonate deeply with anyone who has had to leave their home for a new place.
This is the second award for I Know Here. It won the Boston-Globe Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature (Picture Book) in 2010.