Eric Velasquez: My story about "The Snowy Day"

Award-winning author and illustrator Eric Velasquez talks about his introduction to "The Snowy Day" as an adult and the insights he gained from his mom when he asked her more about the book. You can see the full interview with Eric in our Meet the Author section.


A friend was going to be giving a speech on Ezra Jack Keats, and we were talking about The Snowy Day, and I realized that I wasn't as familiar with the book as everyone else. So I went in and borrowed it from the library that, along with the other of the works of Ezra Jack Keats. And it was around Thanksgiving, and I had my mom over for dinner, and the book was on my coffee table. And I was curious because it was a Viking book, and most of my books as from my collection, were from the Viking bookstore. Back then, publishers actually had their own bookstores. So I asked her, I said, “Are you familiar with this book?” And she's like, she looks at it. She goes, “Oh, yeah, yeah.” I was like, “Can I ask you why wasn't this part of our collection?” And she says, “Oh, cause, see the boy, he doesn’t look real.”

I said, “What do you mean?” She says, No, see all your books, all the books, you have the people, they look real.” And that's when I realized, oh my goodness, I'm a realist, not by choice. It's like she definitely knew what she was doing in terms of when she was picking out the books. So there are two books in particular, The Lollipop Party and The Sky Dog by Brenton Turkel. And yeah, there's a little brown boy in both those books, whether it was the intention of the illustrator or not, but I totally identified with that boy, and I would stare at those pictures over and over again. Once again, very validating and just amazing. And then just looking back in hindsight that you think that you are your own creation, yet you’re just not. Someone that has a big hand sometimes in creating you.