In 1961, Ezra Jack Keats wrote and illustrated his first children’s book. It was called "The Snowy Day" and it told the story of Peter, a young, African-American boy in Brooklyn, enjoying the season's first snowfall. The book was immediately popular. Prior to its publication, no other mainstream children’s book had featured a black hero in a non-caricatured way.
Dr. Deborah Pope was a friend of the late Ezra Jack Keats and is the executive director of the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. She vividly remembers the public's reaction to "The Snowy Day," and how Keats was sometimes hurt by it.