I am a bit obsessed with Ezra Jack Keats. He is, by far, my favorite children’s author. I did a presentation on author-illustrator Ezra Jacks Keats for a children’s literature class when I received my Masters in Elementary Education and I fell in love with Mr. Keats as soon as I started researching!
Mr. Keats (his given name was Jacob Ezra Katz and he went by “Jack”) was a great Jewish man (his parents were Holocaust survivors and he served in the Army as well). He was the first author to put a child of color on the cover of an in-color children’s book. He realized that young black children did not have a hero in print that they could look up to. He wrote The Snowy Day and it received the Caldecott Medal, the most prestigious children’s book award, for the year of 1963. Then Mr. Keats wrote several other books about the same character, Peter, all of which have a unique distinction because of his choice of illustrations; he used paints, textiles, magazines, newspapers, fabric, etc. to illustrate his works of art. Oh, I just love him! He passed in 1983; in his lifetime he wrote and illustrated 24 children’s books and illustrated 85 more books with different authors. I am slowly collecting all of them (so if you see a sale, let me know!)
I want this book to remain special in my son’s mind, so I made a fun project for his Snowy Day Sensory Bin. He is about 4 inches tall and oh so cute! I can’t wait to give him to John, but will have to wait another week!
I found an adorable Peter Doll at By Heart Books. I didn’t want to spend $30, so I thought I would try my hand at making one! Hot glue guns can do anything, you know! I printed off this picture, then I assembled my supplies:
- Hot glue gun
- Red felt
- Small circle brown felt
- Small piece of black yarn
- Black Sharpie marker
- 3-6 cotton balls
Then I cut out two red snowsuits for Peter, using the cut-out picture as a template. I stuffed a couple of cotton balls between the two, and carefully “hot-glue-gunned” him together!
Next, I made a cute Peter face with the brown circle, black yarn, and marker. I glued this to my red, stuffed snowsuit.
I can’t wait to put him in a Snow Sensory bin for my son! Here is the picture of Peter for a cutting template.