This Week In Literature: March 11 – 17, 2018
Ezra Jack Keats, the author-illustrator of The Snowy Day, was born on March 11, 1916 in East New York, Brooklyn. Keats’ family was very poor and his father discouraged him from pursuing a career in art, so young Keats turned to his school for validation about his skills and the local public library to learn about art. When Keats graduated from high school, the Great Depression raged and he was unable to attend art school; instead he worked as a mural painter, comic book illustrator and other odd jobs. After being drafted into military service in World War II, Keats designed camouflage patterns for the Army Air Force.
In 1949 Keats was finally able to study art and in 1954 his first book, Jubilant for Sure, was published. It was not until 1960, however, that he wrote and illustrated The Snowy Day. Now a classic, it tells the story of a young African-American boy named Peter experiencing the joys of a snowy day. The Snowy Day broke the color barrier in mainstream children’s publishing. The vivid and timeless illustrations and text have been loved by generations of readers, earning it a place on the New York Public Library’s list of 150 most influential books of the 20th century and a place in the hearts of millions of children and parents.
During his life, Keats wrote and illustrated 22 books, and illustrated many more. A wide selection of Keats’ work is available at Fauquier County Public Library. Search the catalog or stop by the reference desk for assistance.
∼ Lisa Pavlock
Public Information Coordinator, Fauquier County Public Library