K-1 Narrative Writing: 14 Ezra Jack Keats Books to Inspire Early Writers

Encouraging K-1 students to write narrative stories can be difficult as we all know. They have had plenty  of experiences, but they are not always able to think of one when it is time to reflect and write about their lives. 

Ezra Jack Keats books are the perfect way to inspire your early writers!

Ezra Jack Keats - narrative books to support K-1 writers

Keats' books still resonate today. They incorporate realistic aspects of life and feature a diverse set of characters that all students can relate to, and find inspiration from.

Ezra Jack Keats biography

One thing my students enjoy is watching how often his characters appear throughout each of the different stories. They can watch them grow as well as have new and varied experiences during their childhood.

Ezra Jack Keats' website has some wonderful resources - including a page with a closeup of each character, a bio about them and which stories they appear in. It is a fun website to explore with your class as you begin your author study.

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The Snowy Day

I always start with The Snowy Day since it is very relatable to my students who play in the snow all winter long. This is the first time we meet Peter and they love seeing how he spends his day exploring in the snow and trying to save a snowball. It definitely provides my students with ideas for snow stories.

Whistle for Willie

This is the sequel to The Snowy Day. It is all about Peter roaming the neighborhood as he tries to learn how to whistle for his dog. Another simple concept that inspires your students to write about their own pets and the things they do with them each day.

Peter's Chair

Peter's Chair is a great narrative inspiration for any student who has a little sibling. Peter has a new baby sister, Susie, and he is still adjusting to how he feels about not being the baby in the house any longer. 

A Letter to Amy

This is another story featuring Peter and his decision to invite a girl, Amy, to his birthday. This always helps my students remember birthday parties they have been to which make for a great narrative.


This story has Peter and introduces his best friend, Archie - who your class will love seeing again in later books! The boys find some goggles and race to keep them away from the not so nice boys in the neighborhood. 

This book provides a lot of opportunities for discussions on friendship and moments they have had with children they have known. 

Hi, Cat!

Archie is the main character in this story. He meets a cat on his way to visit Peter and the neighborhood kids. This provides some narrative ideas for pet stories as it features Willie too!

Apt. 3

Apt. 3 stars two brothers, Sam and Ben, and is a bit more solemn and ominous than some of Keats' other books. It is always a great conversation starter for my students on the different lives people lead.

Pet Show!

This Keats' last book about Peter and his friends - but you see all of them, and their pets, in this story. You also get a quick peek at Roberto who stars in the next book, Dreams. Your students will love seeing all the characters appear in one book!


Roberto stars in this story, as he surveys the neighborhood from his apartment. He sees all the pets we've met in his "dream."


Susie and Roberto's puppet show inspires this shy main character, Louie, to finally break free from his shell. My class loves seeing Susie all grown up in this book!

The Trip

Louie has moved away from Susie, Roberto and all his friends in this book. He creates a way to visit them all again. My artistic students always love this story the most and get a lot of great ideas from it!

Maggie and the Pirate

Maggie is the main character in this story and it is the only book we see her in. She is on a quest to save her lost cricket. This is a great opportunity for your students to talk about "adventures" they have been on, and see how they can turn those into their own stories.

Louie's Search

Louie is back, but he is lonely still and dreaming of a father. He gets caught up in a situation in this story and it is a great way to talk about honesty and accidents with your class. Another excellent story that will help them to recall the time when they may have made a mistake.

Regards to the Man in the Moon

This last book features Louie and his new stepdad. It is always a class favorite because you really see Louie grow up throughout these books. His imagination takes his friends far in this story.

These books are well worn in my room now from so many years of students rereading them. Yet they always help to inspire my early writers. Keats' stories are simple and easy enough for all students to relate too and find inspiration from. 

I hope these books help your class find inspiration for their own narrative stories!

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