Reading Beyond SCT’s ‘The Snowy Day’

Opening this weekend at Seattle Children’s Theatre is The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats.

The Snowy Day

Keats receieved the 1963 Caldecott Medal for his illustrations in the book. It’s about a boy named Peter exploring his neighborhood after a snow. Keats was inspired to write about Peter when he came upon photos in Life magazine featuring a young boy. Wanting to have more minority children as central characters in his stories, Peter was born on the page. The book was welcomed by educators and critics and embraced by the public for its racial representation in literature and the simple grace of the writing and illustration. 

Inspiration for The Snowy Day
Inspiration for The Snowy Day

These days, there’s an ever growing movement to show more diversity in children’s stories due to the fact that a vast majority of them still have white protagonists. The movement’s unofficial home is We Need Diverse Books

Let’s look at a few more books that highlight race and ethnicity.

Thunderboy Jr.
Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie

Seattle’s own Sherman Alexie, a National Book Award-winner, wrote Thunder Boy Junior because he couldn’t find picture books about Native children set in the present. It celebrates the bond between a father and son.

This Is the Rope
This is a Rope: A Story from the Great Migration by Jacqueline Woodson

National Book Award-winner Jacqueline Woodson’s story talks about the connections that bind African-Americans through the generations.

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote
Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote by Duncan Tonatiuh

It is the story of a migrant rabbit family. Tonatiuh, a Mexican-American, won the Pura Belpre Award for it—a recognition presented to Latinx writers and illustrators whose work best portrays the Latino cultural experience in a work of literature for children or youth.

A Piece of Home
A Piece of Home by Jeri Watts

The story of a Korean boy who moves to West Virginia, it’s about finding connections in an unfamiliar world. 

Snow in Jerusalem
Snow in Jerusalem by Deborah da Costa

The story about a child from the Jewish Quarter and a child from the Muslim Quarter learn to share.

Want more titles? Try lists from The Guardian, Scholastic, and We Are Teachers