Smithsonian Sparks

"The Snowy Day" stamps send scenes from a childhood favorite

February 8, 2023
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Four stamps showing scenes of a little boy in a red snow suit playing from "The Snowy Day"

2017 "The Snowy Day" stamps. Copyright USPS; all rights reserved.

Wishing for a snow day? "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats follows the adventures of Peter, a little boy in the city. It was the first full-color picture book to have an African American protagonist.

Using paper collage, fabric, stamps and India ink, Keats crafted the unique look of the story’s wintry landscape. The book sold millions of copies, and Keats received the 1963 Caldecott Medal for his illustrations.

In 2017, the U.S. Postal Service released this set of stamps, now in the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. The four scenes show Peter making a snowball, sliding down a hill, making a snow angel and leaving footprints in the snow. (“Forever” is crossed out on the image as a security measure to prevent misuse of the stamp image. It is not crossed out on the actual stamp.)

A copy of "The Snowy Day" from 1962—when the book was first published—is included the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives branch at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

"The Snowy Day" book by Ezra Jack Keats