Author Shorts – Andrea Davis Pinkney

Author Andrea Davis Pinkney on her career before writing, and writing process | Author Shorts– Author Andrea Davis Pinkney (A POEM FOR PETER) discusses her job as an editor at a mechanics magazine and where she finds inspiration for her characters.

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A POEM FOR PETER by Andrea Davis Pinkney

The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day


Illustrated by Steve Johnson

A celebration of the extraordinary life of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of The Snowy Day.

The story of The Snowy Day begins more than one hundred years ago, when Ezra Jack Keats was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. The family were struggling Polish immigrants, and despite Keats’s obvious talent, his father worried that Ezra’s dream of being an artist was an unrealistic one. But Ezra was determined. By high school he was winning prizes and scholarships. Later, jobs followed with the WPA and Marvel comics. But it was many years before Keats’s greatest dream was realized and he had the opportunity to write and illustrate his own book.

For more than two decades, Ezra had kept pinned to his wall a series of photographs of an adorable African American child. In Keats’s hands, the boy morphed into Peter, a boy in a red snowsuit, out enjoying the pristine snow; the book became The Snowy Day, winner of the Caldecott Medal, the first mainstream book to feature an African American child. It was also the first of many books featuring Peter and the children of his — and Keats’s — neighborhood.

Andrea Davis Pinkney’s lyrical narrative tells the inspiring story of a boy who pursued a dream, and who, in turn, inspired generations of other dreamers.

A POEM FOR PETER by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Viking Books for Young Readers (November 1, 2016).  ISBN 978-0425287682. 60p.

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