The Legacy of Ezra Jack Keats and a Boy Named Peter

In Andrea Davis Pinkney’s new book, A Poem for Peter, the author beautifully depicts in verse the life of Ezra Jack Keats and the creation of his most famous character, Peter.

Peter, a red hooded “brown-sugar boy,” makes his first appearance in The Snowy Day. Published in 1962, The Snowy Day is the story of a young, curious boy exploring the snowy streets of his city. Appearing at a pivotal time in our nation’s history, Keats created a character that represented the children he saw in his urban neighborhood. In 1963, The Snowy Day received the Caldecott Medal for its illustrations.

Keats went on to write and illustrate many children’s books with diverse characters set in an urban landscape–something that was not a common practice at the time. The following list is just a small portion of the author’s total works, but include those adventures starring Peter and his friends. Celebrate the legacy of Ezra Jack Keats with your young child by checking out these enduring classics.

A Poem for Peter

A celebration of the extraordinary life of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of The Snowy Day.


Two boys must outsmart the neighborhood bullies before they can enjoy their new treasure, a pair of lensless motorcycle goggles.

Hi, Cat!

Archie’s day would have been great if he had not started it by greeting the new cat on the block.

A Letter to Amy

Peter wants to invite Amy to his birthday party but he wants it to be a surprise.

Pet Show!

When he can’t find his cat to enter in the neighborhood pet show, Archie must do some fast thinking to win a prize.

Peter's Chair

When Peter discovers his blue furniture is being painted pink for a new baby sister, he rescues the last unpainted item, a chair, and runs away.

The Snowy Day

The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.