Essay about The Life and Works of Ezra Jack Keats

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After a four week survey of a multitude of children’s book authors and illustrators, and learning to analyze their works and the methods used to make them effective literary pieces for children, it is certainly appropriate to apply these new skills to evaluate a single author’s works. Specifically, this paper focuses on the life and works of Ezra Jack Keats, a writer and illustrator of books for children who single handedly expanded the point of view of the genre to include the experiences of multicultural children with his Caldecott Award winning book “Snowy Day.” The creation of Peter as a character is ground breaking in and of itself, but after reading the text the reader is driven to wonder why “Peter” was created. Was he a vehicle for …show more content…
Keats’ father Benjamin worked as a waiter at a coffee shop in Greenwich Village and was therefore all too familiar with the struggle to make a better life for you and your family. Although he had a great appreciation for Keats’ work, he discouraged him from making it a career for fear that his son would not be able to support himself. On one occasion he went so far ¬¬ to purchase tubes of oil paint and then gave them to Keats under the false pretense that a starving artist had traded them for a bowl of soup. Fortunately for future readers of his works, Jack was not deterred from his passion for art. When Keats graduated from high school he was awarded the senior class medal for excellence in art. In a cruel twist of fate, his father Benjamin died of a heart attack the day before he was set to receive the award. Although his father never saw Jack receive the award, he learned of his support when asked to identify his father’s body. As he checked his father’s wallet after his death he found several preserved article clippings of all of his achievements. His father was proud of Keats and his work and remained a supporter until his last breath.

With three scholarships to art schools already awarded to Keats, he made what many might see as one of the hardest choices of his life. He chose to work during the day to help support his family and take art classes in the evenings when he had the opportunity. It was then…

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