On Friday, March 11, nine authors and illustrators gathered at Manhattan children’s bookstore Books of Wonder to celebrate the late author-illustrator Ezra Jack Keats’s 100th birthday. Each author shared a book by Keats with a second-grade class from P.S. 11 in Manhattan. The event was hosted by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation; Deborah Pope, executive director of the foundation, surprised teachers and students in attendance with “birthday” presents: books by Ezra Jack Keats donated by Penguin Random House, including titles signed by the day’s readers.

Deborah Pope presenting P.S. 11 teachers and librarians with their “birthday” books. “The kids and the day were pure joy,” Pope said.

Pat Cummings (center) read The Trip to students.

Illustrator Sean Qualls (r.) looked over the shoulder of a student with her new book.

A student showed off his new picture book, Peter’s Chair, with one of the day’s readers, author-illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky.

Students reading their new books.

During the Read-a-thon, enthusiastic students asked questions about Ezra and his books and shared their own knowledge with Pope and the author readers.

Andrea Davis Pinkney read Keats’s The Snowy Day, which earned the 1963 Caldecott Medal. Pinkney brought along her own Peter doll to show the students.

The rapt audience listens to one of the read-alouds.

Author Nina Crews read Maggie and the Pirate to the students.

Following the Read-a-thon, the guest readers stayed at Books of Wonder to sign their own books. Pictured here are Sophie Blackall (signing this year’s Caldecott winner, Finding Winnie), and David Ezra Stein (signing Interrupting Chicken, a 2011 Caldecott Honor title).