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.
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.