In October, as part of its “Forever” series, the United States Postal Service will debut four new stamps that pay homage to the pivotal 1962 children’s book “The Snowy Day,” reports the New York Times.
The book, penned by author Ezra Jack Keats 55 years ago, holds significance because it was the first one to feature a Black child as the central character in an American picture book, the news outlet writes.
The story about a youngster named Peter’s experience with playing in the snow broke racial barriers in children’s literature and spoke volumes to the importance of representation. A year after the book was published in 1962, Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his poignant “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, reports the source. That same year “The Snowy Day” received the Caldecott Medal; a prestigious award given to the year’s most eminent American picture book for children.
The New York Times reports that although the book was a major step towards bringing diversity to children’s literature, Black children are still not equally represented.
According to NPR, a report released in 2016 by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin showed that people of color accounted for a mere 22 percent of children’s books characters. Stacey Barney, a senior editor at Penguin Putnam Young Readers, told the outlet that books about people of color are not only important for Black children to have but they are crucial for kids from other cultures to read to learn about experiences outside their own.
The stamps are slated to be released on October 4.