Category: Race and Ethnicity
Title: The Snowy Day
Author: Ezra Jack Keats
Illustrator: Ezra Jack Keats
Publisher: Viking Press
ISBN Number: 978-0-670-86733-2
Number of Pages: 48
Reading Level: K-2
Genre: Children’s picture book
Summary: A young boy wakes up and realizes it has snowed outside. He puts on his snowsuit and goes outside to explore. After playing in the snow, he puts a snowball in his pocket for later. After going inside and taking a nice warm bath he realizes his snowball has melted but wakes up to more snow falling.
The theme of the story is adventure. The story shows how the young boy, Peter, made the most of his day. There is also a point when Peter shares his adventures with his mother, showing the positive relationship between mother and son.
Strengths: The protagonist in the story is black, but just by reading the text one would not know that. This is portrayed in the illustrations which was a breakthrough in literature at the time that the book was published. The author, Ezra Jack Keats, has written over 85 books. In his books, the protagonists are portrayed as children of color. They are usually in an urban setting, which makes sense because he grew up in New York City so this is a setting he is familiar with. The Snowy Day has won the Caldecott Medal from the American Library Association, The New York Public Library’s Books of the Century, and The Library of Congress’s Books that Shaped America awards. Just this October Snowy Day Forever stamps were issued by the U.S. Postal Service.
Weaknesses: The weakness that one could point out in this book is that it does not go far enough. It does not have much interaction of race or controversy arising in the book. However, one could also view this as a strength. The author, who was white, was not necessarily trying to make a statement with the book but just wanted to make sure literature portrayed black children as well as whites.
http://www.ezra-jack-keats.org/ : This website is called the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. It gives his biography, lists his books and awards received, and has links to a lot of information on each book he has written and illustrated.
https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plans/teaching-content/snowy-day-lesson-plan/ : this is a link to a fun lesson plan involving the book that discusses weather and the seasons.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v7sZbywcFA : This is a youtube read aloud of the book.