Wednesday, March 11, 2009


In my humble opinion, Ezra Jack Keats is a god among men—and children’s book illustrators. When I found out that I was pregnant with my first child, the first children’s book I bought for my baby’s library was Snowy Day. It’s pretty much perfection. Even though my boys have mostly outgrown picture books, it's still our go-to comfort book.

Here’s the Writers' Almanac entry:
It's the birthday of the children's author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats, (books by this author) born in Brooklyn in 1916. After high school, he worked as a muralist for the Works Progress Administration, part of FDR's New Deal federal programming. He did illustrations for comic strips, for book jackets, and finally he started writing and illustrating his own books. He won a Caldecott Medal for The Snowy Day (1962), which was considered a breakthrough book because the main character was an inner-city black boy named Peter, but his race was incidental to the plot of the book. Peter was just a kid like other kids, who played in the snowdrifts outside his apartment building, took a bath at the end of the day, and was sad when he discovered that the snowball he put in his pocket had melted.
And, fun trivia about the author—for example, he was the first designer of greeting cards from UNICEF—can be found here.

For as long as I live, I will look for footprints in the snow that go this way and that way.

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