Keats received the 1963 Caldecott Medal for his iconic artwork, and The Snowy Day was the first picture book with an African American protagonist to win a major children’s book award. Keats was ahead of his time in recognizing that children should be able to see themselves in the books they love. He wrote and or illustrated more than 85 books but this was his masterpiece and received the most awards. He created the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, which champions diversity in children’s literature, and endowed it with his royalties. His original artwork and his papers are housed at the de Grummond Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi.The de Grummond Book Group meets monthly to discuss a chosen book but today we watched a new documentary from the EJK Foundation, Tell Me Another Story, about diversity in children’s literature (click here to view). If we’d been together instead of on Zoom, we would have been fighting over the Kleenex because it was very moving. And if Ellen Ruffin hadn’t thought of watching it together as a group, I might not have got around to watching it. Afterward, we talked about the film and other books we have read recently that were memorable. Now I have several new authors to read! So many books, so little . . . you know.
I think all fans of literature will find this documentary very interesting! I've been in those publishing editorial and sales meetings where people said pessimistically that books with diverse characters wouldn't sell. That was a real chicken and the egg argument so I am glad to see so many recent successes.
|Ezra himself-what a kind face!|
Snowy Day images copyright to Penguin USA and Ezra Jack Keats photo to the EJK Foundation