Ezra Jack Keats, the son of Jewish Polish immigrants, was born in 1916 and brought up in Brooklyn, New York. He was originally named Jacob Ezra Jack Katz, but legally changed his name after WWII. It is speculated that it was a result of anti-semitism at that time. Keats did not have much, if any, formal art training. He painted murals for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects in the 1930s and went on to become a comic book illustrator. During World War II, Keats designed camouflage patterns in the US Air Corps. After the war, Keats became a successful artist and illustrator. In 1954, Keats illustrated his first children's book, Jubilant for Sure, by Elisabeth Hubbard Lansing. Keats was innovative in his use of minority children as central characters. The Snowy Day established his reputation as both an author and an illustrator was Keats received the prestigious Caldecott Medal for 1963. The Snowy Day and its main character, Peter, were especially important to Keats. During his many years of creating illustrations for other authors, he had never seen an African American child as the hero. He determined that when he wrote his own books, a black child would be the hero Keats wrote a total of seven books featuring Peter growing from a small boy in The Snowy Day to adolescence in Pet Show. Ezra Jack Keats wrote and/or illustrated more than 85 children's books.
The Snowy Day
The tale of a little boy who lives in the city and his delight in the first snow of the winter. Caldecott Medal Winner
A Letter to Amy
Peter wants to invite Amy to his birthday party but he wants it to be a surprise.
Homesick for his old neighborhood, Louie finds a way to return—by making a shoe box model of where he used to live, and pretending he is inside it. But soon, Louie will discover that he doesn’t need to use his imagination to find friends; in fact, they may be as close as his new front door.
Two boys must outsmart the neighborhood...
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