Becoming Ezra Jack Keats by Virginia McGee Butler
Becoming Ezra Jack Keats offers the first complete biography of acclaimed children’s author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916–1983) intended for adult readers. Drawing extensively from his unpublished autobiography and letters, Becoming Ezra Jack Keats covers the breadth of Keats’s life, taking readers through his early years as the child of immigrant parents, his introduction to illustration and writing, and the full arc of his remarkable career.
Beyond a standard biography, this volume presents a time capsule of the political, social, and economic issues evolving during the span of Keats’s lifetime. It also addresses his trailblazing commitment to representation and diversity, most notably in his work The Snowy Day, which won the Caldecott Medal as the first full-color picture book to feature a Black child as the protagonist. Keats far surpassed his father’s prediction that he would be a starving artist. Instead, as shown in Becoming Ezra Jack Keats, he is now regarded as one of the most influential figures in children’s literature, having published twenty-two books translated into sixteen languages, all featuring the diversity he saw in the children outside the window of his Brooklyn studio.
Year first published: 2023