OH Wow! It has been an ongoing joke in our house that Tulsi says, “Mama, your books have no Caldecott Medals, but someday you’ll get a sticker!” I smile and give her sweet head a kiss. Well, I am beyond excited to share some news — The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation awarded me the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award and the New Author Honor for Same, Same but Different! Whoa. I’m all smiley and a bit teary realizing what an honor this is.

I want to sing out a thank you song to so many people who have helped this book come alive, who believed in me and cheered me on, (and who supported me while I worked on it, creatively and physically!): my husband Patrick and Tulsi, my amazing editor and book guru Christy Ottaviano and my wonderful AD Patrick Collins and designer April Ward, my rockin’ agents Jo-Lynne Worley and Joanie Shoemaker, my Mom (who came to play with Baby T while I painted my heart out) and Dad (always my biggest fans), my sister Renee (!), Neeru Dhakal and my Sunshine School Family in Nepal, my book gal friends, and countless little friends across the oceans and at home who inspired this story. This is yours, too!

This is a description from the full press release:

Fifty years ago, Ezra’s book The Snowy Day, which featured an African American child, broke the color barrier in mainstream children’s book publishing when it was embraced by families across racial, economic and ethnic lines,” said Deborah Pope, Executive Director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. “Like Ezra, this year’s Book Award winners have, in their own way, celebrated the similarities—and differences—of people whose life experiences are dramatically varied.

The Book Award was created to acknowledge and encourage budding children’s book authors and illustrators who impart Ezra Jack Keats’ values—the universal qualities of childhood, a strong and supportive family and the multicultural nature of our world.”

I have been a fan of Ezra Jack Keats since I was young and dreaming of making children’s books! I really admire him as an illustrator and a person, and I am inspired by his books and mixed-media experimentations. Plus, we are both Polish! Hee. :) Thanks everyone for ALL your encouragement over the years and for letting me share this FUN news! I am playing “hard” to bring some new books to you.

And a big congrats to Meg Medina for winning the New Authors Medal! Patrick, Tulsi and I are looking forward to the ceremony on April 12 in Mississippi!