Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Read Aloud Wednesday: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

When I worked in the bookstore Wednesday was always our story time day. At one time I had three story times in one day. There was always a theme and an activity. My favorite part was picking the books to read.

I thought I would use Wednesday as a day to suggest books that make great read alouds.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is a perfect story time book. It introduces us to a little boy in a city who spends the day in the snow. This book was originally written in 1962 and it won the 1963 Caldecott for its wonderful illustrations. Ezra Jack Keats is one of the first authors at that time to tell a story using a child of African American descent. The wonderful thing about it is that is really just a book about a boy playing in the snow. There is no agenda just a story but the fact the boy is African American speaks volumes for that time. It is a must have title.

1 comment:

  1. My favorite Keats book is definitely The Snowy Day, though Whistle for Willie comes a close second. What I particularly love about The Snowy Day is how the pace and activity of the book focus the reader on the present, just as a child’s perspective is anchored not so much in the past and future (as the perspective of most adults is…) but in the present. I also think Keats masterfully captures Peter’s worry that the snow will be gone the next day—Peter dreams that it all melts—and his joy when he wakes up to find that more snow has fallen!

    In Whistle for Willie, I love the scene where Peter has been spinning around and around, to make himself dizzy, and how Keats portrays the lights on the traffic signals as displaced from the signals, brilliantly capturing how crazy things look when you're dizzy.

    Okay, one more: I also love Hi Cat!, and particularly the scene where Archie has been eating a mint-green ice-cream cone and has some of the ice-cream on his face. Then Peter’s dog Willie comes and licks his face clean! (I have wonderful childhood memories of this very illustration…).

    It was also interesting for me to learn that Keats's focus on ethnically diverse characters in his books was the result of his own experience of antisemitism (he was Jewish) after WWII. He had deep sympathy for the racial and ethnic prejudices suffered by African-Americans and Latinos in the U.S. He was truly a multicultural leader!