Friday, February 9, 2018
Fact Friday: A Poem for Peter: the story of Ezra Jack Keats and the creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney
A Poem for Peter: the story of Ezra Jack Keats and the creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Illustrated by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson. 60 p. Penguin Young Readers Group, November, 2016. 9780425287682. (Own.)
Did you love the book, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats when you were younger? Our Fact Friday feature is a biography in verse called, A Poem for Peter: the story of Ezra Jack Keats and The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Keats was born in Brooklyn, New York to parents who were immigrants from Poland. They were hard-working but poor and Ezra's dreams of going to art school were not within reach. Through the poems, readers learn how Keats' experience with anti-semitism led him to change his name; about working for the WPA, the Works Project Administration; and serving in World War II. Readers learn about how a series of photos of an African American toddler in a 1940 Life magazine article gave him joy so he clipped the photos. Twenty years later, those photos of that little boy served as a model for Peter in what was a groundbreaking book in children's literature. The Snowy Day was published in 1962 and won the 1963 Caldecott Medal.
The poems are accessible and lovely. Two collage illustrators perfectly blend their own styles with Keats resulting in gorgeous spreads. If you are looking for a unique biography, A Poem for Peter is a wonderful choice.