Express Yourself!

Newburgh Library Children's Program Celebrates the Work of Ezra Jack Keats

The work of popular children's author Ezra Jack Keats will be the focus of special story times and a poster project at the Newburgh Free Library beginning on Fri., Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. In books like the 1962 classic "The Snowy Day," Keats crossed social boundaries by breaking the color barrier in mainstream children’s literature.

School-age children are invited to participate in a special program at the Newburgh Free Library called “Newburgh: My Home,” funded by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. The two-part program includes a Story Time featuring the works of  Keats, author and illustrator of children’s picture book classics “The Snowy Day,” “Peter’s Chair” and “Whistle for Willie.” Also included is a workshop where children will make a poster using Keats’ collage technique to illustrate their neighborhood or a favorite community place.

The Story Times for this program are open to all ages, no registration is necessary, and will be held on Fri., Feb. 1 from 6 p.m.-7:15 p.m. at the library’s town branch located in the Newburgh Mall; and Sat., Feb. 2 from 2 p.m.-3:15 p.m. at the main library, 124 Grand St. After reading the stories, Kochik will lead a discussion of the collage techniques used by Keats to illustrate his books. Eligible school-age children will find out how to register for the poster workshop scheduled for Sat., Feb. 9 from 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. at the main library

“I have long wanted to do a creative project featuring the works of Ezra Jack Keats,” said Lisa Kochik, children’s librarian and head of youth services at the Newburgh Free Library. “As a child, I loved his books for their distinctive portrayal of a neighborhood and life in a city. For years I’ve been aware of the Mini-Grants offered by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and I have always thought ‘someday I want to do that’ but only for a worthy program idea!” That time finally came last year when Miss Lisa, as she’s know to the children at the Library, applied to the Foundation and was selected for a mini-grant project she called “Newburgh: My Home.”

Your Child Can be a Writer Too!

“In recent years there have been so many challenges for the young people of Newburgh. Much of the publicity and news that adults hear about life in Newburgh is really negative. Thinking about a child growing up here, this is their everyday life and children should be able to show others--adults in particular--how they view their community. Kids will always find beauty, wonder and joy in everyday life, and if they could share what they see in their community, maybe adults would start to view those places differently too,” said Kochik.

The children’s original posters will be on display in the lobby of the main library, beginning Mar. 11, which is Ezra Jack Keats’ birthday, through Mar. 22. Prints of the posters will be available to Newburgh Schools and other community sites for display. If you would like to receive a poster, or want more information about this project, contact Lisa Kochik, 845-563-3616.