Author Study Blog Hop: Ezra Jack Keats



Welcome to the second stop on the Author Study Blog Hop for Ezra Jack Keats! I’ve done a number of author studies over the years with my third graders when I was in the classroom full time. It is one of the most rewarding experiences of my career to see a group of children engage with an author and the text on a personal level. Learning about the author’s background, reading and discussing their books, watching an interview, and even writing to them truly bring reading alive in a meaningful way.
I recall many times when my students received author replies. I’d bring that special envelope into class after checking my mailbox at lunch, sit it on my lap as we were just about begin read aloud after recess, and then show the envelope to them. What a treat to see those eyes light up. The author was REAL! They’re not just this stranger that writes and sells books. That is what I call an authentic learning experience.

What’s In A Name?

Ezra Jack Keats was born March 11, 1916 as Jacob Ezra Katz in New York City. He changed his name to Ezra Jack Keats in 1947 during WWII. Many wonder if Keats was African American because of his book characters. Watch this short video explaining why he changed his name, and his choice for using African American children for book characters.

I enjoy showing videos and interviews of an author whenever possible during an author study. Here is a great video to show to your class on Ezra Jack Keats you may want to bookmark to show later. It is a YouTube video, which I know is blocked in many schools, so I’m including a link to a Safeshare version, which should allow you to watch it with your students in the classroom. Just click here for the Safeshare version.

Peter’s Chair, 1967
Peter’s Chair is one of several books written by Keats with the character, Peter, and Willie the dog. Peter has just become a big brother. He notices all the baby “stuff” that was once his, now being passed along to his little sister. But when he sees his old chair about to be painted, it’s the last straw! He decides to run away. Children will connect to the sensitive side of this subject. Many can relate to the feeling of having a new sibling in the house, and having to share special belongings.
When using this book in the classroom, you may want to start with a discussion about objects that are special to them. Create a list on chart paper, or even have children bring them in as a share. This is a good chance to build background and can be a fun getting to know you activity.
A writing activity to try is a “Then and Now” poem. Have children compare what they used to do as a baby or toddler, but can do independently now. It’s a type of a list poem using the sentences, “I used to _______________. But now I can_______________.”
A third activity is to create a chart of how Peter’s feelings change. Peter is considered a dynamic character. He feels one way in the beginning, but changes as events progress.
Once your students fill in the chart like this one, Formulate sentences together describing his feelings.
Peter used to feel______________ when _____________________, but now he feels __________.
As part of this blog hop, I’ve created a sampler freebie for you to use with Peter’s Chair.
 This is a sample version of my brand new Peter’s Chair book unit.
Here’s a preview of this sampler.
When you download it,  please be so kind and leave a little feedback and follow my store
As a special thank you, the full book unit and all of my other book units will be on sale in my store during the blog hop only. If you’d like to enter to win a copy of my Peter’s Chair Book Unit, enter the Rafflecopter below. I’ll choose a winner on July 20, 2014.
Thank you so much for hopping by my blog today. If you don’t already follow me on Bloglovin, you can click on the little book with the blue heart at the top of this page or click here.
Enjoy the rest of the hop. Your next stop is with Carla at Comprehension Connection. She always shares great teaching tips, so I know you’ll love her post. Have a great weekend!



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  1. My favorite children's book author is way to difficult to narrow down to just one. I love Margie Pallatini, Jon Scieszka, Patricia Polloco, Cynthia Rylant, Eric Carle, Laura Numeroff, and more I just can't think of at the moment.

  2. I agree Deb! This would be a really tough question for me too! Thanks for sharing! Some of my old favs are Virginia Lee Burton and Tomi dePaola. 🙂

  3. I love Roald Dahl and Patricia Polacco. They both have great books!!!
    I love the activity that you have created!!!

  4. Eric Carle, Gary Paulsen, Roald Dahl, Robert Munsch and so many more that I can't pick just one!! What an awesome blog post! Thanks so much for all your information and the sampler. It's awesome!

  5. I love your Ezra Jack Keats sampler…oh, and I love Ezra Jack Keats. My favorite children's author is the one I have in my hand, but I always go back to Patricia Polacco, Eve Bunting, and Cynthia Rylant.

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