A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of the Snowy Day 
By Andrea Davis Pinkey
Illustrated by  Lou Fancher & Steve Johnson

A Poem for Peter is such a beautiful book!  It is a tribute to Ezra Jack Keats and his children’s picture book, The Snowy Day, the 1963 Caldecott Medal winner for collage art. Written in free verse and illustrated in collage like The Snowy Day, A Poem for Peter is a juvenile picture biography about Ezra Jack Keats and how he came to write and illustrate The Snowy Day.

Ezra Jack Keats’s parents immigrated to America from the country of Poland, where they were treated very badly because they were Jewish. They were in hopes of a better life in the United States, but life was very hard for the poor Keats family of five in Brooklyn, New York, where Ezra was born. As a boy, Ezra had a passion and talent for art and dabbled with art whenever and with whatever materials he was given or could find. He was thankfully supported by his teachers and parents who noticed his gift, although his father was very fearful that Ezra could not make a living as an artist. Nevertheless, Ezra was so very talented that his art became noticed by many and he won many prizes. As a boy, Ezra used his art skills to earn money to help his family.

Read this engaging book to learn about Ezra Jack Keats’s journey as an artist. As a Jewish white man, how did he come to publish one of the very first mainstream books in the United States featuring an African American child? Who was the inspiration for Peter, the little boy in the bright red snowsuit enjoying the snow? What was Ezra Jack Keats’s real name and why did he change it? What other books did he write and illustrate portraying African American city children? How were these other children related to Peter?

Enjoy this colorful biography of the great author and illustrator, Ezra Jack Keats, whose books continue to be read, enjoyed, and praised today as they have throughout decades.



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