Book Buzz: A Poem For Peter
A Poem For Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of THE SNOWY DAY
Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney; llustrated by Lou Fancher & Steve Johnson
Ages 7-10, Penguin Random House / Penguin Young Readers
Ezra Jack Keats, the legendary author/illustrator of The Snowy Day didn’t always go by that name. His real name wasJacob Ezra Katz, the son of a Polish immigrant. He had to change his name because of post-WWII discrimination. He felt the racial sting of those hard times as did many ethnic groups in the United States in the 1950s and 60s. But out of this sensitive time came a small and innocent African American character named Peter.
Andrea Davis Pinkney, the distinguished and bestselling author of children’s books, weaves a beautiful poem describing Keat’s experience on American soil that lead to his creation of The Snowy Day and in particular, the ground-breaking character in Peter. The poem takes the reader from when Keats was a small child all the way to his landmark work in children’s literature. A remarkable journey indeed.
The illustrator team of Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson create collage and paint illustrations that echo Keat’s collage style. The simplistic orchestration of text, texture and design are a delight for the eye.
A unique Keats-Mississippi connection is the deGrummond Children’s Literature Collection on the University of Southern Mississippi campus. The collection has an extensive body of Keat’s papers, sketches and original art. Visit the collection online: www.lib.usm.edu/degrummond.
Also, Ms. Pinkney will be a featured speaker at the 50th Annual Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival, April 5-7, 2017 on the USM Campus. Visit the festival’s website for more information: www.usm.edu/childrens-book-festival.
Chuck Galey writes and illustrates picture books. Visit his website to see what he’s up to at www.chuckgaley.com.