Brooklyn Students Take Top Honors at Bookmaking Competition

May 1, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Brooklyn students have taken three of the four top honors at the 26th annual Ezra Jack Keats Bookmaking Competition. The competition was named in honor of Keats' Caldecott Award-winning book The Snowy Day, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Dyanara Banana, a 12th-grader at James Madison High School; Anne Wang, a 7th-grader at I.S. 259K, William McKinley; and Brooklyn resident Deidre Darius, an 11th-grader at LaGuardia High School in Manhattan shared top citywide honors with fourth-grader Shelley Polanco from the Bronx.

In the competition, public school students come up with an intriguing theme, create engaging text, and integrate illustrations using a range of media.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

"It is a great joy to celebrate the fine and imaginative work of these talented students. Through the Bookmaking Competition, the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and the New York City Department of Education have been able to share Ezra's legacy with generations of youngsters, each of whom has the potential to become an Ezra of the future," says Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation.  "We hope that these young writers and illustrators will be encouraged by this award to pursue their dreams just as Ezra did."

About the Winners

Dyanara Banana wrote and illustrated Arrows and the Butterfly, a haunting graphic novel which addresses the question: can a boy and girl cross the barrier of time to change each other’s destinies? “I put the 'Butterfly'—which represents the beauty in our lives—throughout,” Dyanara told the library. “Our lives don't last long, and most of the time, we have a hard time finding happiness and appreciating our lives.”

Anne Wang’s creation is entitled: Rebirth, New York. A pop-up book, Rebirth shows the dramatic changes in New York City from the dark days of 9-11 to the development of the National September 11th Memorial and Museum. "I decided to create a book about September 11th, but I didn't want to focus on the disaster aspect. I decided to be positive and show the rebirth of Ground Zero,” Anne told the library.

Deidre Darius put together Tyler Learns How to Tie His Shoes — an interactive guide with built-in practice laces that teaches kids how to tie their shoes. "I thought it would be fun to create an interactive how-to book for kids on tying their shoes. I wanted the book to be fun, but I also wanted it to be helpful,” Deidre said.
Fourth-grader Shelley Polanco created Detour to 1938, an interactive pop-up book with fun and historical extras. In the book Shelly — a student from the 21st century — helps steer a young Martin Luther King Jr. to his destiny. "My art teacher said that history books don't have to be boring, so I decided to send the main character in my book (me!) back in the past so readers can meet Martin Luther King in a fun way,” he said.

Check Out the Books

More than 120 winning books will be on exhibit at the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza from May 2-31. In addition, a "Snowy Day in May" Family Festival is planned for May 12th at the library.

At an awards ceremony on May 18th, the four city-wide and 22 borough-wide winners of the Bookmaking Competition will receive medals. In addition, the four city-wide winners will receive $500 and the 22 borough-wide winners will receive $100 from the Foundation.

Brooklyn Borough-Level Winners

* Brooklyn Elementary:
The Three Hairs by Solomon Birmakher, Grade 4, P.S. 312 Bergen Beach. In this fairy tale, three hairs from a talking moose will grant your wishes, but you must be careful not to wish on the same hair twice!

* Brooklyn Middle School:
A Day in New York by Emily Ruan and Emily Hua, Grade 8, I.S. 98 Bay Academy for the Arts and Sciences. From the top of the Empire State Building to the Coney Island boardwalk, Sherry and her dad enjoy a New York City adventure.

* Brooklyn High School:
Royal Blood by Jazzmin Smith, Grade 12, Edward R. Murrow High School. In this fantasy graphic novel, meet the queen of the east’s royal guard and their flying steeds.

Brooklyn Honorable Mention

* Feeling the Rhythm by Silvia Deng, grade 6, I.S. 201 Dyker Heights
* Fried Rice by Tony Wang, grade 5, P.S. 250 The George H. Lindsay School
* Finding Milky Way by Samantha Negron, grade 5, P.S. 53 @ 384
* Leopards by Markus Chmiel, grade 5, P.S. 231 at P.S. 180
* Our Amazing Park in the Sky by Florence Lo and Sophia Bejar, grade 3, P.S./I.S. 229
Dyker School
* Snowy Finger Puddles by Felicia Olaoye, grade 4, & Angel Camacho, grade 5,
P.S. 335 Granville T. Woods
* Stars in the Grass by Yulan Lei & Sin Lin, grade 5, P.S. 170 Ralph A. Fabrizio
* You Can Do it, Noah! By Jacklyn Pinkasov and Paul Timofeev, grade 5, P.S. 200 Benson

For the complete list of winners, visit

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