Baltimore Bookmaking Competition - FAQ

Here are answers to a few commonly asked questions regarding the competition.

  1. Who is eligible to enter?
    Students, grades 3 through 12, from every school in the Baltimore City School system. Visual arts teachers, English teachers and librarians working with students in those grades may supervise bookmaking at their school.
  2. Is the Competition part of the curriculum or an extracurricular activity?Bookmaking activities are part of supervised classroom instruction, with an emphasis on picture book and author studies. The whole class is expected to participate.
  3. What are the deadlines?Books from participating schools (one per school) to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum are submitted no later than January 24, 2016. The judging takes place in mid-February, and the winners are notified soon after.
  4. What do the students write about?Virtually every subject from autobiography to fantasy has been addressed in these books. Self-expression is the keystone of the Competition, so students are encouraged to find a theme that is important to them.
  5. Are there any restrictions on the books?• While most students write and illustrate their own books, collaborations are permitted. No more than two students are allowed to work on a book.• There are no restrictions on the art mediums used, but the size of the books is limited to no more than 15 by 18 inches.• All books must be handmade and securely bound; any pre-bound book or notebook will be disqualified.
    • Up to two students may work on a book. In the event that a book wins with two collaborators, each collaborator will receive $250.
  6. How is the Bookmaking Competition organized? What are the prizes?The competition is divided into three levels: grades 3 through 5, grades 6 through 8, and grades 9 through 12. A number of classes in a school can participate. After the books are completed, one book is selected as the school-wide winner, which the principal submits to the Reginald Lewis Museum. (The rest can be displayed and celebrated within the school.) From the books submitted, the jury selects one city-wide winner at each level. All the winners receive an Ezra Jack Keats medal and $500. The teachers or librarians who advised the city-wide winners are recognized with a medal and a certificate of their own. Winners will be honored at an award ceremony at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum on May 14, 2016.
  7. Who are the judges and what criteria do they use?The panel of judges comprises six to eight carefully selected librarians, teachers and artists. They look for originality, quality of writing and illustration, and skillful presentation. Winning books have ranged from hand-lettered, hand-drawn storybooks to polished, computer-generated volumes.
  8. Are the books available for the public to see?All the winning books are on display at various branches of the Enoch Pratt Library throughout the month of May. After the award ceremony, the current catalogue can be seen on this website.
2015 New York EJK Bookmaking Competition Winners

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