Once upon at time books with black children at their center were seldom published.

In the spirit of Black History Month which happens in February, lets celebrate an achievement which we could easily take for granted today.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Erza Jack Keat’s Caldecott winner The Snowy Day, the first full-color picture book to feature an African-American protagonist. The story captures Peter’s wonderment of a boy encountering his first snowfall. There is a universality to the story and for sure will become a favorite. It begs the question: “What captured your wonderment, either as an adult or child?” Wonderment brings to mind, dazzling, astonishment, marvel and awe—all fantastic words to contemplate.
Keats has a regular banquet of story books to choose from: Whistle for Willie, Peter’s Chair, A Letter to Amy, Pet Show, and Louie. Lucky for us— the list goes on and on.

Postscript: Many people are surprised to learn that Keats was not African American. He was born in 1916, Jacob Ezra Katz, the son of poor immigrant Eastern European Jews. The poverty of his childhood and experiences with anti-Semitism are widely acknowledge as significant influences on his world outlook and the subject of his books.


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