The story of the acclaimed picture book <i>The Snowy Day</i> begins more than 100 years ago, when Ezra Jack Keats was born in Brooklyn. Keats's family consisted of struggling Polish immigrants and, despite his obvious talent, his father worried that Ezra's dream of being an artist was an unrealistic one. But Ezra was determined. By high school, he was winning prizes and scholarships. Later, he found jobs with the WPA and Marvel Comics. But it was many years before Keats's greatest dream was realized, and he was able to write and illustrate his own book.<br /><br />For more than two decades, Ezra had kept pinned to his wall a series of photographs of an adorable African American child. In his hands, the boy gradually morphed into Peter, a child in a red snowsuit, out enjoying the winter cold. The book became <i>The Snowy Day</i>, the first winner of the Caldecott Medal to feature an African American child as its protagonist. It was also the first of many books featuring Peter and the children of his (and Keats's) neighborhood.