Things have been crazy busy: I’m working on illustrations for a Mem Fox book called A Cat Called Kite (Beach Lane Books), I’m working on text revises for a book I’m writing and illustrating called Big Choo (Scholastic), Trisha Speed Shaskan (my awesome and fabulous wife) and I sold a book to Harper Collins called Punk Skunks, we have been teaching classes together at local libraries on how to create comic characters, and we have both been doing school visits: sometimes together!
This post is going to focus on all the fantastic school visits I’ve done since February.
EARLE BROWN ELEMENTARY
In early February, I went to Earle Brown Elementary. They asked me to create a presentation for nine classes of Kindergarteners (three 30 minute presentations) about illustrating. This sparked panic and inspiration. I had to really think about how I approach illustration, how that approach relates globally, and how I can teach this to Kindergarteners in 30 minutes. I decided to focus on the combination of words and pictures, and how they relate to each other in picture books. The words telling part of the story and the pictures telling another part. I gave examples of the text in my own work and then showed the pictures that went with the text. By having kids answer the questions of who, what, where, and when we were able figure out what parts of the story were being told by just the pictures.
I continue to use this presentation at different schools.
Presenting at Earle Brown Elementary. Reading the beginning of THE THREE TRICERATOPS TUFF without showing the picture.
Creating an illustration for “a dog sitting on a log.” Who? The dog. What? Sitting on a log. Where? The forest. When? Fall during the day.
SPRING HILL ELEMENTARY
While visiting my parents in Weeki Wachee, Florida, Trisha and I did a school visit at Spring Hill Elementary. My mom volunteers at the school as a Reading Buddy. We received a warm welcome from Media Specialist, Sue Timberlake, and the kids were super excited!
A BIG Spring Hill Elementary Welcome!
Trisha presenting to the 4th and 5th graders!
Getting the K and 1st graders up and moving!
Me, the Vice‐principal, Sue Timberlake (Media Specialist), Trisha Speed Shaskan.
PARKVIEW CENTER SCHOOL
Media Specialist extraordinaire, Laura Given, invited me to her school to do a couple of Kindergarten presentations. You can follow Laura on Twitter at @LibLaura5
A DOG IS A DOG coloring sheets decorated the media center at Parkview Center!
Everyone shout, “HOORAY!”
The kids were all wearing Triceratops headbands!
Trisha and I presented together at Highlands Elementary and later we did a Book Fair at Barnes & Noble. It was so great to meet enthusiastic Media Specialist, Lisa Dooley and all the fabulous students and teachers.
Illustrating a fish saying, “ish.”
Who? The fish. What? Saying, “ish” to all the pollution. Where? in the ocean. When? 1999 (illustrated by the 1998 calendar that was thrown in the water)
Singing “Down By the Bay” with the new rhyme!
Trisha, Lisa Dooley, and me at B&N.
A piece of art for Highlands’ Wall of Fame!
ST. CHARLES BORROMEO SCHOOL
Trisha and I presented to different grades at St. Charles. This was my first time presenting for 7th and 8th graders. I decided to do a Q and A. My favorite question, “Do you like quesadillas?” I also had a blast presenting to Pre‐K through 2nd grade, while Trisha was presenting to 3rd through 6th grade.
Terry MacDonald and me!
Q and A with the 7th and 8th graders!
I was asked to do seven presentations for Cornelia Elementary by my friend and fellow children’s book author Megan Maynor. Megan heads up her kid’s school author presentations and has had wonderful speakers like John Coy, David LaRochelle, and Lauren Stringer. Megan teams up with the super fun and supportive Media Specialist, Sherron Gaughan. Two weeks after, I was invited back for a Family Night Presentation at Cornelia. I even design a T‐shirt for the occasion! Thanks for all the great photos, Megan Maynor!
Me and Sherron Gaughan.
Megan Maynor and me.
Presenting at Cornelia!
Have you ever seen a goose kissing a moose?
Illustrating a “Lizard eating a Blizzard.”
Who? The lizard. What? Eating a Blizzard. Where? DQ. When? At night.
Who? A dog. What? Playing with a log. Where? In the forest. When? Springtime during the day.
I needed some help with the alpaca. Luckily there was an alpaca expert in the audience.
Who? An alpaca. What? eating a cracka. Where? Some place with a rainbow. When? 1999 (illustrated by the discman playing a prince CD.
Signing books at the Family Night!
T‐shirts for Cornelia SPRING INTO READING Read‐a‐thon!