Ezra Jack Keats Author Study & 3 Books with Activities

Ezra Jack Keats Author Study & 3 Books with Activities

Ezra Jack Keats Author Study

Born in 1916 in Brooklyn, New York, Ezra Jack Keats was a trailblazer in children’s literature. He authored twenty-two children’s books and illustrated many more. Growing up in Brooklyn, he saw children of many races and backgrounds around him all the time.  Keats was the son of struggling immigrant parents, and he knew the difficulties of feeling like an outsider. He wanted all children to feel valued and included. Keats’ books feature diverse characters doing very ordinary things – just being kids. Keats established a foundation to support arts and literacy programs and to take care of his books after his death in 1983. The foundation maintains a rich website full of resources for students, parents and teachers alike.

ezra jack keats author study.

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Books & Activities for Ezra Jack Keats Author Study

The Snowy Day

This iconic picture book, published in 1962, is a Caldecott Award winner. The rich illustrations depict Peter, a young African American boy, enjoying a beautiful snowy day.  This book is perfect for preschoolers but is still magical for second and third graders, especially in researching Ezra Jack Keats as an artist.

Activities for A Snowy Day

Art • use torn construction paper to create collages of winter
or other scenes
• use shaving cream as snow in making a winter scene
• utilize white tempera paint to print patterns across blue paper.
• white and pastel chalk on light or dark blue construction
paper makes a beautiful winter art piece.
Sequencing • what did Peter do first, second and third?
Life Skills • what clothing did Peter wear for his frolic in the snow?
• how would Peter dress differently for a springtime
Exercise • enjoy the snow by making snow angels, snowballs,
snowmen and more!

 Peter’s Chair

Peter’s mom and dad are using HIS furniture for the new baby!  And they’re painting it PINK! First his old cradle, then his crib! As he walks around the house seeing them fuss and coo over the new baby, Peter makes a decision. His parents are NOT going to take his blue chair, no way.  Even though he’s too big for it, he does NOT want this chair to end up pink like all his other furniture. So he takes his blue chair and his dog, Willie, and runs away.

Activities for Peter’s Chair

Art • use magazines and/or catalogs to make collages of favorite toys
• use wallpaper scraps and other paper/supplies to design a dream room
Sequencing • what did Peter do first, second and third?
Cause and Effect • why did Peter’s parents paint his furniture?
• what happened as a result of them doing this?
• what caused Peter to run away?
• what did his mom do to change the situation positively?

A Letter to Amy

The PERFECT book for Valentine’s Day! Peter is having a birthday party, and he’s asked Amy to come. Because she’s a girl, Peter decides to send her a special invitation. He has invited many other friends, too, but they’re all boys. When he rushes out in a thunderstorm to mail her special invitation he runs into Amy and knocks her down. Will they still be friends?

Activities for A Letter to Amy

Art • copy the illustrator’s technique of depicting a thunderstorm
• use torn paper and tempera paint to illustrate a picture of weather
• read this book during February and couple it with making valentine cards
Sequencing • what did Peter do first, second and third?
Cause and Effect • why did Peter make an invitation for Amy?
• what caused Peter to knock Amy down in the rain?
• what will be the effect of Peter knocking Amy down accidentally?
Writing • practice writing a letter, invitation, and envelope
• write by hand as well as using the computer
Life skills • practice knowing phone number and address
• write address on envelope correctly
• talk about stamps

Printable Author Study Activities

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