Born today in 1916, Ezra Jack Keats was an American author and illustrator. The Keats Foundation website says he was ' a pioneer in American children’s literature. He based the lives of his multiracial characters on his childhood but added loving parents, friends and pets.
He wanted no child to be an outsider. “If we could see each other exactly as the other is,” he wrote, “this would be a different world.” ' How true.
Written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats, The Snowy Day' is one of my favourite picture books.
A little boy called Peter wakes to find snow has fallen. He puts on his snowsuit and heads off to explore and have fun. And have fun he does! He makes patterns, he slides, he builds a snowman- he does all the things which a child should do in the snow. Peter also puts snowballs in his pocket to save for later- with predictable consequences.
This is a story which is beautiful in its simplicity. It captures the wonder and joy of exploring a snowy day perfectly and the illustrations are delightful.
Peter reappears in six other stories, but 'The Snowy Day' remains my favourite. You can find out more about Ezra Jack Keats on the Keats Federation website which has some excellent resources for teachers.