For this weeks Perfect Picture Book Friday, I am choosing one of my favorite picture books of all time:
Title and Publisher: The Snowy Day written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats. Originally published in 1962. Currently published by Viking Juvenile; 50 Anv edition August 18, 2011 (A division of Scholastic)
Age Range: Suitable for ages 5 and up.
Opening and brief synopsis: One winter morning Peter work up and looked out of the window. Snow had fallen during the night. It covered everything as far as he could see. This book is about a little boy named Peter who has a fun day out in the snow. It’s simplistic storytelling and beautiful illustrations create a wonderful snowy world for Peter to explore.
Why I like this book: Ezra Keats’ storytelling is simple and clear. He captures the readers attention with just the right words. His illustrations are wonderful. They are fun and sweet.
This book is historical also. The 1960’s in the United States were pivotal in the Civil Rights movement. The Snowy Day was the first children’s book to feature an African American as a protagonist lead character. Being a victim of discrimination himself, Keats purposely chose the little boy he saw in Life magazine as his lead character. Peter went on to star in a number of Keats’ books. From the beginning, it was Keats goal to always feature minority children as his main characters.
“None of the manuscripts I’d been illustrating featured any black kids—except for token blacks in the background. My book would have him there simply because he should have been there all along,” Keats wrote in an unpublished autobiography (Quote printed in Brian Alderson, Ezra Jack Keats: Artist and Picture-Book Maker (Gretna, La: Pelican Publishing Company, 1994), p. 51.)
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