Wednesday, September 20, 2017

FICTION versus NONFICTION: What Do Young Children Prefer?

One of my favorite writers, Melissa Stewart, has just published a terrific article on her blog, Celebrate Science, about the reading preferences of children in the primary grades. Not surprisingly, many, or in some cases, most, of the children prefer nonfiction, especially boys. She cites two studies that looked at children's book choices:
Correia, Marlene Ponte. “Fiction vs Informational Texts: Which Will Kindergartners Choose?”Young Children, 2011, p. 100-104. And,
Mohr, Kathleen A. J. “Children’s Choices for Recreational Reading: A Three-Part Investigation of Selection Preferences, Rationales, and Processes.” Journal of Literacy Research, 2006, p. 81-104.
It is great to see numbers supporting what a lot of teachers and librarians already know--that young children either prefer nonfiction (they want to find out more about the world we live in) or like it just as well as stories. Yet, there are too many adults who think that kids just want stories. Kids like both, and we need to make sure that they have the option to choose the books they prefer.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

BEDTIME STORY JAM: Westwood Charter School, Los Angeles, CA

At Westwood Charter School ready for my Story Jam Presentation
On Friday evening I was one of ten authors participating in the Bedtime Story Jam at Westwood Charter Elementary School, one of the schools in my neighborhood. It was the culmination of their week-long library Book Fair. (Books supplied my Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair company.) Children came to school in their pajamas and enjoyed milk and cookies before spending two sessions with their chosen authors. In my room, children sat on the rug in the front and parents sat on chairs in the back. I gave a slide presentation, finishing with the reading of my book Hatching Chicks in Room 6. At the end, children had a chance to ask questions and have their books autographed. I found it to be a very enjoyable evening and I thank Jenna Carlston and her hard-working book fair committee for the good organization and promotion of the event. And I particularly thank my host for the evening, Sara Sadrieh, who helped me set up, introduced me and made sure that everything went smoothly. At the end, we all had a chance to relax together in the library patio. Thank you Westwood School!
Sara and Jenna, in their Westwood Story Jam T-shirts

Sunday, September 10, 2017

IMAGINE II, VIP Reception, dA Center for the Arts, Pomona, CA

At the IMAGINE II exhibit, underneath my art from A Day and Night in the Desert
On Saturday evening I attended the gala VIP reception for illustrators and librarians at the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona. As I arrived, the gallery was full of people looking at the illustrations on the wall, browsing books by the illustrators that were displayed on tables, munching appetizers, and getting ready for a presentation by local school children and later a puppet show.
Books by participating illustrators including my Day and Night Habitat series Lisze Bechtold's Buster the dog books
More than thirty Southern California children’s book illustrators are represented in the exhibit, but as I looked around the room, I couldn’t find the art that I had submitted. It turned out that it been tucked away after I delivered it and overlooked when the exhibit was hung. Luckily, the two pieces were found and are now hanging on the wall along with the other pieces of art. The show will be up until September 23. I encourage you to stop by and take a look.
Illustrators Joe Cepeda and Gina Capaldi
I thank Gina Capaldi of the SCBWI for all the hard work of putting the show together and to Margaret Aichele at the dA Center for the Arts for coordinating the exhibit. It was also great to see Judy Nelson of Mrs. Nelson's Books, who provided the books for sale at the event.
Lisze Bechtold and her illustrations
Where to see the exhibit (until September 23):
dA Center for the Arts
252 South Main Street
Pomona, CA 91766
Phone: 909-397-9716

Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 12pm to 4pm (til 9pm on Thursday)
Judy Nelson with her door, autographed by dozens of children's book writers and illustrators

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Fifty Hands and Fifty Feet: Drawing Exercise

When I was in art school, our first homework assignment in life drawing class was to draw fifty hands. Then fifty feet. Besides the face, hands and feet are the most expressive parts of the human body, and learning to draw them well was a first step in successful figure drawing. My roommate and I posed for one another, drawing with our right hands and holding our left hands still for the other to draw. Our first attempts were a struggle, but by the time we reached fifty, we had gotten a lot better! Recently, I was cleaning out my attic and discovered some of my hand and feet drawings that I had saved. Here are a couple of them!