As an adult, I find myself drawn to children’s literature for different reasons than when I was younger. It’s no longer about happy endings, or how quickly one can get from the front cover to back page. Now, I look at how the book was put together, admiring its imagery with ‘awws’ of affection, as I do with these layered collage illustrations from The Snowy Day by Brooklyn-born writer Ezra Jack Keats. Published in 1962, it was one of the first children’s picture books in mainstream American culture to feature an African-American character, breaking boundaries for children’s books. The book celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
In the spirit of both the wintry season and new beginnings, I invite you to take in the following images for inspiration as you pursue your own avenues of outside-the-norm ideas in the New Year. May yours be bright, flecked with forward-thinking, and filled with merriment — much like these playfully pieced-together pictures by Keats.
What books from your childhood do you admire for their artwork?