Biography

Ezra Jack Keats

Ezra Jack Keats, born Jacob Ezra Katz (March 11, 1916 – May 6, 1983), was a pioneer in American children’s literature. Keats is best known for introducing multiculturalism into mainstream American children's literature. He was one of the first children’s book authors to use an urban setting for his stories and he developed the use of collage as a medium for illustration. He won the 1963 Caldecott Medal for illustrating The Snowy Day, which he also wrote. It is considered one of the most important American books of the 20th century.

He based the lives of his multiracial characters on his childhood but added loving parents, friends and pets. He wanted no child to be an outsider. “If we could see each other exactly as the other is,” he wrote, “this would be a different world.”

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