Let's Read a Keats Story!
The month of February normally features a wonderful book fair at LANK. We use our multipurpose room to display hundreds of books from award winning authors and invite our families to attend a pajama night which includes the directors reading a few beloved children’s books. In the spirit of that wonderful evening, I’d like to introduce you to my favorite children’s author; Ezra Jack Keats.
Many of you are probably familiar with The Snowy Day which features Peter, the protagonist in Keat’s stories. Peter along with his dog Willie experience the wonder of snowfall by leaving footprints in the snow, sliding down a hill, and taking a snowball home in a pocket. The story is a simple one but told with such clarity and truth that it still resonates in 2021 much the same as it did in 1963. The book received the Caldecott Award that year, and is still considered by many educators like myself to be the perfect story for young children. But so are all of the rest of Keats stories. As a teacher I loved The Pet Show so much I was inspired to take my class on a journey that included our own stuffed animal pet show with awards created and bestowed by my students. After a shared reading of Peter’s Chair, that same class embarked on unit of study about babies, and how people grow and change over time.
In addition to the marvelous storytelling, Keats introduces children that live in urban dwellings but makes certain to include experiences that are familiar to all children. His neighborhood gang is multicultural, but the reader is scarcely aware of that since the relationships, experiences, and trials of typical family life are the real focus of his stories. Yet, in the 1960’s Keats was certainly visionary, and his books remain timeless. One of the other wonderful aspects of his books is that Peter and the other characters (his dog Wille, sister Susie, etc...) appear in other books; which for children creates a special bond, comforting familiarity and fondness for the personalities.
Curl up with one of Ezra Jack Keats books. It will be a treat for your children and generations to come!
Visit here to learn more about the author and his books: https://www.ezra-jack-keats.org/