“Years ago, long before I ever thought of doing children’s books, while looking through a magazine I came upon four candid photos of a little boy about three or four years old. His expressive face, his body attitudes, the very way he wore his clothes, totally captivated me. I clipped the strip of photos and stuck it on my studio wall….
“I can honestly say that Peter came into being because we wanted him; and I hope that, as the Scriptures say, ‘a little child shall lead them,’ and that he will show in his own way the wisdom of a pure heart.”
—From Ezra’s Caldecott Award acceptance speech, 1963
Full text of the speech
We started the anniversary year, 2012, at the Jewish Museum’s amazing exhibition, “The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats,” which moved on to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts, and other museums. We celebrated a “Snowy Day in May,” at the Brooklyn Public Library.
We recommended Viking’s special anniversary edition…and talking with journalists about Ezra’s continued relevance. We asked celebrities and other notable fans to share their thoughts and memories…and asked educators to share their Keats classroom ideas. And that’s just for starters!
How are you celebrating The Snowy Day?
Even without snow on the ground on a fine February afternoon, Ezra’s illustrations set the mood for The Snowy Day StoryWalk in Phalen Park. St. Paul, Minnesota’s popular StoryWalk program posts the pages of selected books along walking routes in city parks to give kids a love of fresh air and books.
The Brooklyn Public Library held an outdoor festival, “Snowy Day in May,” featuring readings, performances, face painting, games—and cotton snow.
The second-graders at Cooper Mountain Elementary, in Beaverton, Oregon, didn’t just read The Snowy Day, they composed and performed a musical score for Peter’s story! Led by music teacher Jennifer Mohr, the students played an array of instruments ranging from woodblocks to wind chimes in a performance of variations on The Snowy Day.
Every summer the EJK Family Concert in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park offers a Keats book or two read by a great storyteller. In this anniversary year, Sesame Street’s Roscoe Orman fit the bill.
Peter pink window 2“Well Worth a Tribute”
Professor Ben Railton blogs about The Snowy Day and Ezra’s life and times. ► Read more
Children of the Book
It didn’t snow everywhere on March 7, but The Snowy Day was front and center for World Read-Aloud Day. Miss USA, Alyssa Campanella (pictured with Clifford the Big Red Dog), and children’s author Katherine Paterson gave readings of the Keats classic to a rapt audience of New York City schoolkids—among the 20 classes hosted by the literacy organization LitWorld. On the West Coast, LeVar Burton read The Snowy Day for Google+. Both events were live-streamed around the world. And later that evening, how many parents read aloud their childhood favorite because The Snowy Day was their children’s favorite, too?
The foundation Books for Kids celebrated The Snowy Day with two- to four-year-olds at the Cooper Park Child Care Center in Brooklyn, resulting in extra-large books of beautiful renderings of Ezra’s tale.
Peter sings! Adventure Theatre, the oldest Washington, D.C.-area children’s theatre, mounted a world premiere musical of The Snowy Day in January and February. The sold-out show earned rave reviews.
From our In-Box
“I cannot express to you the profound impact that books like The Snowy Day (and it was one of only a few) had on me. In my childhood I was Peter in The Snowy Day. My own passion for storytelling and for reading great stories prompted me to buy all that I could find on Mr. Keats and share it with my own daughters, Grace and Peri, who love his work.”
—Kai Jackson, news anchor at WJZ in Baltimore and documentary filmmaker
“I am 43 years old, and as a child, The Snowy Day was my very favorite storybook. It was the first gift I gave my niece, who is two years old. It’s her favorite book as well. Yesterday, her baby brother was born. His name is Ezra James. Thank you for your legacy of kindness.”
—Kathy Enright, Cardiff by the Sea, California
In the News
The Snowy Day made headlines across the country as media outlets reported on the book’s impact and influence. Read a sampling of what they had to say.
World of Wonder
Peter has friends all over the world, as shown here, in 2012. Left, Peter poses in Morocco with smiling friends. Center, children in remote Makuleke Village, South Africa, are new fans of The Snowy Day. Right,
On Read for the Record day, October 7, 2010, over two million adults and kids around the world read The Snowy Day to promote early literacy. Here are highlights of the memorable event: