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Picture Book Musings and the Akron Art Museum

Librarians know that picture books contain some amazing art and The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is no exception. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quote “Great art is the contempt of a great man for small art” ( could be talking about Keat’s The Snowy Day, the book which featured the first African American protagonist in a full color picture book.

Librarians who attended the OELMA East/NE professional development offering at the Akron Art Museum last week were treated to a tour of over 80 original works by Keats, including Peter’s Chair and Whistle for Willie. Courtesy of the de Grummond Children’s Literary Collection of The University of Southern Mississippi, museum rooms were filled with Keats art work, personal letters and a glassed display of contrasting picture books prior to 1962. Keats advocacy of civil rights, depiction of gritty city street scenes and his extraordinary art all had a major influence on American culture. After the tour, the museum offered an extension activity students would enjoy – how to create simple collage paper using the following: shaving cream, water color spatters, and paper. The Snowy Day and the Art of Ezra Jack Keats at the Akron Art Museum is the first to pay tribute to this author/illustrator and will be available through June 30, 2013.

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