There's a children's book author and illustrator who lives in our town. His illustrations are amazing and the story lines creative and new. He recently released a new book and arranged to have a book tour kick-off party at the local library, with activities geared especially toward kids. It was the perfect activity for what turned out to be a rainy Sunday afternoon.
At the library, we first did a scavenger hunt based on a character from the book, then made bookplates and completed book-themed puzzles. It was amusing and heartening to note the number of kids who would stop in the stacks, looking for the next item on the scavenger hunt list, but then get distracted by some other book they had found -- several scavenger hunt lists were not completed. Then everyone gathered for a special reading by the author and a question and answer session.
As the author read his book and pointed out secrets in the illustrations, the kids were rapt. They were in awe - and especially when he brought out a couple of his original paintings for the book. He also brought out a drawing that he did in second grade; it gave even me hope. You never would have known from that decades old drawing that the artist would really become an artist! The author talked about his process. He answered questions with warmth and patience, and encouraged every child there to try some thing new and practice what they love. It was a really lovely time.
Just as I often come away from readings by my favorite authors energized and inspired, so did my kids come away from this event. Sunshine wanted her crayons as soon as we arrived home, and I could almost see the cogs moving around in Woody's head. It reminded me that I should find these opportunities more often for them. Keep an eye out at your local library and local book stores. You never quite know who will show up for a reading and a book signing, and what level of inspiration -- will ensue.
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