Like many children, Andrea recognized herself in Ezra Jack Keats’s iconic hero, Peter. She remembers, “I saw my brown-skinned self celebrated through Peter’s sense of wonder and discovery. I think I slept with my copy of The Snowy Day. That’s how much the book meant to me.”
Andrea grew up to write many award-winning books, ranging from children’s picture books to young adult novels to historical nonfiction. Her picture books include Rhythm Ride; Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down; Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride, Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters; and biographies of musical legends Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. Her most frequent collaborator is her husband, acclaimed illustrator Brian Pinkney.
Andrea’s sense of history may have played a part in her decision to write about Ezra’s life and times, but as a book editor at Scholastic, she also knows what contemporary young readers want: “Ezra Jack Keats is still bringing it home,100 years after he was born. And kids today are still rejoicing.”