Benjamin Katz and Augusta Podgaig immigrated to the United States from
Poland. Benjamin Katz and Augusta Podgaig's wedding was arranged by a matchmaker.
After the wedding, they settled in Brooklyn, New York in a two family house.
Their third child, Jacob Ezra Katz (Also known as Ezra Jack Keats), was
born in Brooklyn on March 11, 1916. He lived in New York all his life except
for the army service in World War II, and a year of travel and study abroad,
mostly in Paris. He has been painting and drawing since he was a child
and was a muralist before he began to illustrate books for children.
In 1916 Mr. Keats was given a Caldecott medal for the book, The Snowy Day. He continued to write and illustrate books including; Whistle for Willie, John Henry, God is in the Mountain, and Jenny's Hat. Ezra Jack Keats is known for his many children's book which he wrote and illustrated. Some of them are The Snowy Day (1970 Caldecott medal), Goggles (1970 Caldecott honor book), and Hi Cat (1970 Boston globe honor book awarded for outstanding illustrations). Mr. Keats lived and worked in his New York studio with his assistant, his cat Samantha.
Mr. Keats died of a heart attack on May 6, 1983.