Waking up to a world of snowy white-what could be better? Young peter cant wait to jump in his snowsuit and run out to explore. There are snowmen to build snowballs to pack, mountains to climb and snowbanks to collapse in-to carve a snow angel!
And when the day is done, theres a dark night of dreams and drifting snow, and a new snowy day to awake to. No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day, winner of the Caldecott Medal. p-except for token blacks in the background, Keats later wrote. My book would have him there simply because he should have been there all along.
The character, Peter, debuted in The Snowy Day, which won a Caldecott Medal. Perhaps the strongest statement Keats made about race at the time was making ethnicity (his first books protagonist was a Puerto Rican boy) completely incidental to the story. The books themes are universal In the case of Snowy Day, a boy discovers the joy of angel-making, sledding, and all the other things kids do on a free winter day.
The child of immigrants, Keats grew up in a Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn, in relative poverty. Although his gifts with pencil and paint were obvious from a young age, his father, a waiter, discouraged his artistic ambitions, fearing it would be too hard for his son to make a living. When he brought home tubes of paint for Ezra, he would tell the boy that hard-up artist customers had swapped their paint for soup.
When his father died, however, Keats discovered a stash of newspaper clippings his father had carefully saved the notices of all of Ezras artistic prizes and achievements. Once established as a creator of childrens books, Keats developed a stable of characters including the adventurous Peter, a shy boy named Louie, and a sympathetic girl named Amy who often resurfaced over the authors twenty-odd years of storymaking. Often taking place in urban settings and illustrated in Keatss hallmark gouache and collage style, the stories chronicle the discoveries, pleasures, and fears of being a kid coping with a new sibling, befriending a previously scary blind neighbor, entering a pet show, or finding a pair of goggles.
Keats tackled the topic of single parenthood in Louies Search, where Louie accidentally discovers a husband for his mom. Even when characters behave oddly or badly (as in the case of Louies new dad, who initially accuses the boy of stealing from his junk truck), their innate goodness is always revealed. Each title exemplifies Keatss faith in people.
With his muted, evocative images and his commitment towards diversity, Keats made childrens literature vivid and human in a way it had never been before. Good To Know In the late 1930s, Keats worked as a mural painter on WPA projects. He entered the Army in 1943, where he designed camouflage patterns.
Later, Keats created five greeting cards about peace for UNICEFs first greeting card season ... A million cards were sold that year. His parents were poor Polish immigrants, and he officially changed his name in the 1940s as a response to anti-Semitism.
In 1974, after the publication of Skates!, a roller skating rink was built in Tokyo and named in Keatss honor. The de Grummond Childrens Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi is the sole repository for Ezra Jack Keatss archives. A life-size bronze statue of Peter, Willie, and Peters chair sits in Imagination Playground in Brooklyns Prospect Park.