Another reason that I hold Keats' work in such high esteem is because whatever the story, whatever the situation Peter or the other characters may be faced with, they always persevere. Peter is resourceful, thoughtful, and determined, and exudes a great sense of confidence in the safety of his community. While there may be obstacles, nothing is insurmountable and usually, at the end of the day, Peter returns home to loving embrace of his family.
Despite knowing the stories of black kid heroes don't all end with a beautiful warm image of a kid returning home to comfort and safety, the vision of hope Keats' threads through all of his stories is one of the greatest contributions he made to our social enterprise.
One final reason I'm drawn to Keats is that his whiteness did not prevent him from documenting the lives and stories of the black and brown youth growing up around him. Once he got into the trade and realized there were very few books starring characters of color, he set about to change that and he did, as is visible in the prolific works he produced throughout his life. The success of the books and the general population's familiarity with Peter's adventures starring a black kid hero are evidence enough that when writers and illustrators address a social disparity in their work, the community rises on the strength brought forth in those efforts.
To read more from the biography of the incredible Ezra Jack Keats, please visit here. To meet more of Keats' lovable heroic characters, please visit here.