December 1, 2011

The Snowy Day Exhibit

The Goucher College Library's newest exhibit showcases The Snowy Day, a Caldecott Award-winning children's book by Ezra Jack Keats. The Snowy Day tells the story of a little boy named Peter as he explores his neighborhood after the first winter snowfall. Originally published in 1962, this book is most widely known for introducing multiculturalism into popular American children's literature in an age when racial diversity was very rarely depicted.
                Born in the then-Jewish quarter of Brooklyn in 1916, Keats aspired to become an artist, but economic strains on his family prevented him from doing so. Instead, he worked as a mural painter for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and then a comic book illustrator for the Captain Marvel comic strip. In 1947, after designing camouflage patterns for the Army during World War II, Keats was able to study painting in Paris. By 1950, he had returned to New York, and his illustrations began to appear in publications such as the New York Times Book Review and Reader's Digest. After illustrating numerous children's books for various authors, Keats co-authored his own children's book, My Dog is Lost, in 1960.
                It was Keats' personal struggle in the face of anti-Semitism that inspired his interest in groups suffering similar hardships and his multicultural approach to children's books. The Library celebrates 50 years of The Snowy Day with this vibrant exhibit featuring Keats' book along with information about his personal and creative life and the reception of The Snowy Day within the literary community.