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Books That Shaped America - The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats


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Alex Hodges discussed The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, the first full-color picture book with an African-American as the main character. He introduced the history and the current relevance of The Snowy Day to American University Library's Larissa Gerstel Critical Literacy Collection. He also talked about the Ezra Keats Foundation programs to promote diversity and inclusion in children’s literature.

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Books That Shaped America - The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats

  1. 1. Alex Hodges, @alexlibrarian American University Library AU School of Education
  2. 2. Ezra Jack Keats  Children’s author  Illustrator  Artist  Humanitarian Circa 1980, with cat, Samantha marks-the-100th-birthday-of-ezra-jack-keats-grandfather-of- diversity-in-childrens-illustrated-literature-300233165.html
  3. 3.  Born 1916, Brooklyn  Parents were Polish Jews  Birth name is Jacob (Jack) Ezra Katz; changed name in 1947 to shield against anti-Semitism  Studied at Art Students League of New York  Mural painter for New Deal Works Progress Administration  WWII designed camouflage patterns for US Air Force  Commerical artist: Published in Reader’s Digest, The New York Times Book Review, Collier’s, Playboy  1950, 1954 exhibitions at Associated American Artists Gallery About Ezra Jack Keats
  4. 4. Keats/The Snowy Day Timeline  1962: Viking publishes The Snowy Day  1963: Keats wins Caldecott Award  1983: Keats dies at 67  1986: Keats archive established  2012: 50th anniversary of The Snowy Day  2016: 10oth birthday year
  5. 5. Keats and Peter “Then began an experience that turned my life around,” he wrote, “working on a book with a black kid as hero. 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. Years before I had cut from a magazine a strip of photos of a little black boy. I often put them on my studio walls before I’d begun to illustrate children’s books. I just loved looking at him. This was the child who would be the hero of my book.” – Ezra Jack Keats Life Magazine, 1940
  6. 6. Peter’s Appearances
  7. 7. Art & Illustration Techniques  Gouache  Watercolor  Collage
  8. 8.  Overview of Keats’ work  The Jewish Museum, 2011 exhibition video Visual Media: Stories about Keats
  9. 9. Unequal Representation
  10. 10. Children’s Books By and About People of Color
  11. 11. AU Curriculum: Critical Literacy
  12. 12. #1000blackgirlbooks
  13. 13. Larissa Gerstel Critical Literacy Collection literacy-endowment.cfm
  14. 14. “If we all could really see (‘see’ as perceive, understand, discover) each other exactly as the other is, this would be a different world.” -Ezra Jack Keats The Jewish Museum, exhibition, 2011 Parting Words
  15. 15. Selected References Brooks, W., & McNair, J. C. (2009). "But This Story of Mine Is Not Unique": A Review of Research on African American Children's Literature. Review of Educational Research, 79(1), 125–162. Retrieved from Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. Cooperative Children’s Book Center. University of Wisconsin-Madison. books-and-counting Vasquez, V. M. (2010). Getting beyond "I like the book": Creating space for critical literacy in K-6 classrooms (2nd ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.