It’s the perfect day (and month) to revisit our coverage of Ezra Jack Keats’ classic The Snowy Day, which celebrated its 50th anniversary a few years ago. The Snowy Day, a 1963 Caldecott winner, was the first mainstream children’s book to feature a non-caricatured African-American protagonist.
In 2012, Ezra Jack Keats Foundation director Deborah Pope told NPR:
"There was a teacher [who] wrote in to Ezra, saying, ‘The kids in my class, for the first time, are using brown crayons to draw themselves.’ These are African-American children. Before this, they drew themselves with pink crayons. But now, they can see themselves."
You can see the rest of that story (and hear the book read, in its entirety, by Reading Rainbow superstar Levar Burton) here.
(OK, I’m tooting my own horn a little here, because I produced this piece, back in my Weekend All Things Considered days, but come on — LEVAR BURTON! Who, by the way, was one of the most pleasant and delightful people I’ve ever dealt with.)