MALIKA LEE WHITNEY is Artistic Director of Pickney Productions an arts and education consortium based in Harlem. Her work as a performing artist is well known for presenting culturally vibrant and relevant programs for audiences of all ages. A short list of performance and workshop venues include the Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage, Symphony Space, Lincoln Center, Kumble Theater, Joseph Papp Public Theater, Caribbean Cultural Center, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Museum for the Chinese in the Americas, Sugar Hill Children’s Museum and the New Victory Theater. As an educational consultant, she facilitates staff development training and arts exposure programs. Pre-K-12 youth, as well as college and university students benefit from innovative learning Initiatives that include community elder mentors, career professionals and creative artists.
Ms. Whitney has served as a producer and host on WBAI Radio for many years presenting arts, public affairs, and music programs including the popular show “Pickney Place,” a storytelling themed broadcast with inter-age appeal. Connecting the space that exists between generations is a commitment she is pledged to.
Hear what New Yorkers say about this classic story….
Growing up in New York in the 1970s, snow was magical. When it came, the city shut down. It became quiet and beautiful. And most of all, No School! For me, reading The Snowy Day as a kid on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, there was an innate connection to Peter in his iconic orange snowsuit, his mom getting him ready for bed, and the impermanence of the snowball he kept in his pocket. All of these images stuck with me my whole life. Keats captured the timelessness of childhood, the way a child makes even an urban landscape into his playground. And mostly the giddy anticipation we all had as kids of hoping that it would snow that night, and what the morning would bring.”
When my daughter was little and we went looking for a book in the library, The Snowy Day was the first book the librarian suggested. It became one of her favorites, and subsequently, with her own children, it became their favorite too. It wasn’t until years later that I figured out why: The great thing about children’s books like The Snowy Day is that the characters are colorless to the kids.”
ROSCOE ORMAN (GORDON ON SESAME STREET)
Through the eyes of Peter, grateful for a wintry day’s vacation from school, we can all see and relive some of our own childhood experiences with nature and the unencumbered imagination of innocence. My own memories of growing up in Bronx neighborhoods of the 1940s and ’50s allows me to easily relate to Peter’s exuberance when suddenly awakening to a winter wonderland. As a fledgling writer and illustrator for children, I’m in awe of Keats’s ability to magically enter the world of a child and allow him to tell his own story, as only a child can. It is no easy feat, and one of the signs of a true master storyteller!”
Celebrity quotes from the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation