"Happy Reading": Ezra Jack Keats' The Snowy Day; Signed by Him
The Snowy Day.
Keats, Ezra Jack.$3,200.00
Item Number: 102795
New York: The Viking Press, 1962.
Early printing of The Snowy Day, which is considered “one of the most important American books of the 20th century” (Diefendorf, ed. The New York Public Library’s Books of the Century). Oblong quarto, original pictorial cloth as issued. Signed by the author on the half-title page, “Happy reading Ezra Jack Keats Dec. 8, 1967.” Near fine in a near fine dust jacket.
After serving in World War II, Ezra Jack Keats returned to New York and started a career in illustration, working first in the comic industry, and then working for such publications as Reader’s Digest, The New York Times Book Review, and Collier’s. In the 1950s Keats started illustrating dust jackets, and when one book cover caught the eye of an editor of youth literature, Keats was soon commissioned to illustrate children’s books. Keats started solely as an illustrator for the work of other authors. But he soon observed that few children's books showcased an African-American or other minority child as the main character. Published in 1962, The Snowy Day was the first book Keats both authored and illustrated, and was a milestone for featuring the first African-American protagonist in a full-color picture book. “None of the manuscripts I’d been illustrating featured any black kids—except for token blacks in the background. My book would have him there simply because he should have been there all along." It went on to win the 1963 Caldecott Medal, and has remained a deeply loved and profoundly influential book. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its Teachers Top 100 Books for Children. In 2012 it was ranked number five among the Top 100 Picture Books in a survey published by School Library Journal.