There are so many reasons for celebrating The Snowy Day! We won’t list them here. Instead, we are showing some of the ways Ezra’s 20th-century classic is being celebrated in the 21st century—in schools, parks, museums, and around the world.
Ezra’s inspiration for Peter, from his acceptance of the Caldecott Medal for The Snowy Day, in 1963:
“Years ago, long before I ever thought of doing children’s books, while looking through a magazine I came upon four candid photos of a little boy about three or four years old. His expressive face, his body attitudes, the very way he wore his clothes, totally captivated me. I clipped the strip of photos and stuck it on my studio wall….
“I can honestly say that Peter came into being because we wanted him; and I hope that, as the Scriptures say, ‘a little child shall lead them,’ and that he will show in his own way the wisdom of a pure heart.”
Andrea Davis Pinkney’s lyrical portrait of Ezra’s life and times explores how his hero, little Peter, came to be. Beautifully illustrated by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson, this unique book is on best-of-2016 lists everywhere.
Amazon Holiday Special
Watching Amazon’s animated special of The Snowy Day is like reading between the pages of Keats’s classic. The familiar neighborhood comes bustling to life as Peter and his family and friends get ready for their holiday celebrations. Of course, not everything goes according to plan.
Snowy Day Month, 2016
Some of our favorite Snowy Day moments—kids and adults discovering, and remembering, their first favorite book.
Peter and Friends
Kindergarteners at East Coventry Elementary School, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, show off their Snowy Day books and dolls to reading teacher Jennifer Hunter. Click on that classroom door! The Keats motif is by second-grade teacher Dawn Himmelstein and assistant Cheryl Fitzsimmons.
We traded tweets with Keats fan @greenwood_reads. Offline, she’s Keynora Greenwood, a reading teacher at Swansfield Elementary, in Columbia, Maryland. Click through to see the dandy decoration on teacher Kristin Lichliter’s classroom door.
Fadens Amisial, an eighth-grader at Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences, in Georgetown, Delaware, wrote eloquently about the impact of Ezra Jack Keats’s The Snowy Day. From his letter: “When I was a little youngling, I remember reading The Snowy Day as if it was yesterday….My mom was the first person to read it to me when she took me to our local library…and after that I fell in love with Christmas, the book, and most importantly snow. I’ve read the book so many times….When my parents would read it to me they would use effects like jingle bells when the snow was falling…. This will forever be my favorite childhood book.”
We were tickled to see this mural, commissioned (with permission from the EJK Foundation) for a new library/innovation center in New Castle County, Delaware. It’s a reproduction of the cover of The Snowy Day—in Legos! The building is scheduled to open in late 2016, but click for a sneak peek of the mural.
Portrait of an Artist
This picture of Peter is the work of 5-year-old Victoria Hanson, who created it in a Mini-Grant program at the Newark (Delaware) Public Library.
Baby’s first snow day. Good job, Max! (Photo: Max’s grandmother Michele Malone, in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania)
What a Birthday!
Rebecca Troyer, a librarian in Ohio, went all out for her daughter’s first birthday party. With permission from the EJK Foundation, she had a local bakery create a Keats-themed cake. Shredded-paper “snow,” a camera-ready cutout of Peter and adorable guests helped make it a snowy day to remember. As she recalls, “The Snowy Day was my absolute favorite book as a little girl living in New Mexico. My mother isn’t sure how we first came across the book, but…it is something we treasure…I enjoy sharing this lovely story with my own daughter (who was actually born on a snowy day, and not in the desert).”
Peter on Parade, 2014
The honorary “Christmas Mother” and her “elves” rode an eye-catching float in the Richmond, Virginia, Christmas Parade. To spread its literacy message, the trolley was decked out in artwork from The Snowy Day.
From left: Meg Medina, 2011 EJK New Writer, and Maya Smart, 2014 Christmas Mother; and the float, back and front
“The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats,” 2011–2014
A major retrospective of Keats’s life and work was organized by The Jewish Museum, in New York City, with support from the EJK Foundation and original material from the Keats Archive. After closing there in 2012, the exhibition traveled to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts; the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco; the Akron Art Museum in Ohio; the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia; and the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
50th Anniversary, 2012
In 2012 The Snowy Day turned 50! We chronicled the year of festivities and media coverage.
The Snowy Day – 50th Anniversary Edition
Viking published a special anniversary edition of The Snowy Day, with eight pages of bonus material on its creation and the public response.
Weather or not...
Even on a fine, snowless February afternoon, Ezra’s illustrations set the mood for fresh air and reading at The Snowy Day StoryWalk in Phalen Park, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
One sunny Saturday, the Brooklyn Public Library held an outdoor festival, “Snowy Day in May,” featuring readings, performances, face painting, games—and cotton snow.
Every summer the EJK Family Concert in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park offers a Keats book or two read by a great storyteller. In this anniversary year, Sesame Street’s Gordon, Roscoe Orman, fit the bill.
The second-graders at Cooper Mountain Elementary, in Beaverton, Oregon, didn’t just read The Snowy Day, they composed a musical score for it! Led by music teacher Jennifer Mohr, the students performed, on instruments ranging from woodblocks to wind chimes, variations on The Snowy Day.
The foundation Books for Kids celebrated The Snowy Day with 2- to 4-year-olds at the Cooper Park Child Care Center in Brooklyn, resulting in extra-large, beautifully rendered books.
Peter sings! Adventure Theatre, the oldest Washington, D.C.-area children’s theatre, mounted a world premiere musical of The Snowy Day. The sold-out show earned rave reviews.
The Snowy Day was front and center for World Read-Aloud Day, on March 7. In New York City, Miss USA Alyssa Campanella, and children’s author Katherine Paterson (with an appearance by Clifford the Big Red Dog) gave readings to a rapt audience, hosted by the literacy organization LitWorld. On the West Coast, LeVar Burton read The Snowy Day the Keats classic for Google+. Both events were live-streamed around the world. And later, how many parents read The Snowy Day as a bedtime story because their childhood favorite was also their children’s?
In the News/Media
The Snowy Day made headlines across the country as media outlets reported on the book’s impact and influence. See why it’s as relevant as ever.
From our In-Box
“I cannot express to you the profound impact that books like The Snowy Day (and it was one of only a few) had on me. In my childhood I was Peter….My own passion for great stories prompted me to buy all that I could find on Mr. Keats and share it with my own daughters, Grace and Peri, who love his work.”
—Kai Jackson, news anchor at WBFF in Baltimore and documentary filmmaker
“As a child, The Snowy Day was my very favorite storybook. It was the first gift I gave my 2-year-old niece. It’s her favorite book as well. Yesterday, her baby brother was born. His name is Ezra James. Thank you for your legacy of kindness.”
—Kathy Enright, Cardiff by the Sea, California
World of Wonder
Peter has friends all over the world, as these photographs from 2012 show. (From left) Peter posed in Morocco with smiling friends; he gained new fans in remote Makuleke Village, South Africa; and a schoolgirl in Ghana read about snow.
Book Smart, 2010
On Read for the Record day, October 7, 2010, over two million adults and kids around the world read The Snowy Day to promote early literacy. Here are highlights of the memorable event: