Kia and I had the privilege of visiting the very bright students at Groveland Elementary this past December. This was one of our first readings at a school in front of 100 or so students for each class.
Needless to say we were a bit intimidated. Our anxiety quickly turned to excitement and laughter as the students shuffled in and started asking questions: “Are you a cowboy?” one girl asked pointing to my wide brimmed hat.
I wish I was, I thought, that’d be much more interesting! Needless to say, we were thoroughly impressed with how engaged and intelligent these kids were.
After reading Little Sock and a short presentation about emotions it was time to draw some caricatures, with the kids help of course! The bravest teachers volunteered willingly to pose and others were chosen against their will by their admiring students.
It was a wonderful re-introduction to the world of children. I myself had been an after-school art teacher in my post-undergrad days so I was familiar with interacting with kids.
For me, the best part of being a children’s book illustrator is entertaining kids with humor and silliness. Visiting Groveland Elementary helped remind me that even after countless dead-end jobs, rejection from past clients, failures, successes and all the confusion, bewilderment, and monotony of adulthood I am, in fact, still a child at heart.
Thank you to all the teachers and students and a very special thank you to Niki Danou who helped facilitate our visit. We look forward to visiting Groveland Elementary again!
Students were asked to create their own sock characters and explain the emotions they are feeling. Here are some of the great character designs that were submitted. Geez, these kids are way more creative than I ever could be!