1.03.2018

The Snowy Day

The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats, was published in 1962 and became the first children's book to feature a black protagonist in a positive light.  The beautiful book received the Caldecott Medal in 1963.  This winter, the US Postal Service issued a series of stamps to commemorate the classic book.

Reading this story provides inspiration for several fun activities. On a recent but rare snowy day here in Texas, students and I discussed ideas about how to save snow. We could all relate to Peter's desire to keep a snowball stashed away for later, but of course, keeping snow in a pocket just doesn't work. Instead we decided to draw scenes from our snow day to remember later.

Another great message in the story is that we should enjoy and explore whatever weather we have.  Try to embrace Peter's curiosity as you try new ways to interact with the outdoors. If there is no snow where you are, you can purchase artificial snowballs Fake Snowballs to toss and catch or even host your own friendly snowball fight.

After all that active play, you'll have the perfect opportunity to wind down with a movie. In 2016, Amazon released an animated movie version of The Snowy Day with excellent narration and voice acting as well as new scenes and music.  Students can compare and contrast the two versions of the story.

Students can learn more about author Ezra Jack Keats through Andrea Davis Pinkney's 2016 book, A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day.  A biography in poem, this book pays tribute to the important author and illustrator while providing detailed context about his life as well as the book's era.

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