Ezra Jack Keats was born on this day in 1916.
Ezra Jack Keats wrote and illustrated more than 85 children's books. His beautifully written and illustrated story, The Snowy Day, won a Caldecott medal in 1963. Peter, an African American child who is the hero of The Snowy Day, is the main character of seven other books by Keats.
Although Ezra Jack Keats had no formal training in art, his illustrations won many awards. As you read his books to your class, point out that his illustrations are a combination of painting and collage. In celebration of his birthday, invite your students to be authors and illustrators. Have them write their own stories that include some characters from Keats' books. The stories can be done individually or in groups. Ask students to bring in scraps of materials to create their collages.
Have students practice using collage techniques with the Collage Machine at the National Gallery of Art. Step through the pictures available in the tool to show the options for adding images to collages that go beyond color blocks. Look at the ways to manipulate the images (reducing or enlarging their size, flipping and layering images and so on) in order to demonstrate options students can explore in original collages.
The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation provides this resource, perfect for an author study on Keats. Students of all ages will enjoy reading his biography with photographs and hyperlinks. The page on tips and resources offers suggestions on using Keats' books to enhance literacy.
This online exhibit is provided by the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi. Visitors will find proofs for 37 books written and/or illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats, his personal papers, fan mail, and more! There is a link to Keats Across the Curriculum which includes activities and Internet resources for many of his books.
The Snowy Day is possibly one of Keats' best-known and beloved stories. This Teaching Heart webpage is filled with suggestions for teaching this children's literature classic.
Introduce a snowy day center with a three-step project.