Happy Candelas and I spent a lot of time out in the yard on Tuesday (well, we spend a lot of time outside everyday that it’s not raining). As he was wandering around, picking up acorns and leaves and trying to eat the berries off our neighbors’ monkey grass, I kept getting a sense of deja vu. Why does this seems so familiar to me, I kept thinking.
And then it struck me. Happy Candelas just became interested in books last month (as you can imagine, the previous 8 months of disinterest were torture for his mother). For awhile, we read Please, Baby, Please over and over again. But now, Happy is into variety. And so one of the books currently in the rotation is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Published in 1962, Keats received the Caldecott medal for the book in 1963. Everything about The Snowy Day was cutting edge for the time. The artwork was multi-media– both collage and watercolor, and it featured Peter as the main character, an African American boy in an urban setting. Keats became known for introducting multi-culturalism into mainstream children’s literature. As it turns out, the reason the scene yesterday looked so familiar to me was because of this book. In his little red hoodie, Happy Candelas was channeling little Peter wandering through his neighborhood, making discoveries all his own.