Connect with Books
School Library Monthly/Volume XXVIII, Number 6/March 2012
Book Making and Makers of Books
by Carolyn S. Brodie
Carolyn S. Brodie, Ph.D., is a Professor at Kent State University, School of Library and Information Science, Kent, OH. Email: email@example.com
In 1985, I was the first school librarian in the brand new Luna Elementary in the Garland (Texas) Independent School District. I have a distinct memory of placing the very first catalog card in an empty catalog drawer and can even remember that it was the title card for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. That was a great year of firsts for me as school librarian. I had moved from a high school librarian job in my hometown of England, Arkansas, to this elementary school in Texas, and I also planned to work on a doctoral degree at Texas Woman's University. I still needed to work full-time and was fortunate to be hired for a position at Luna Elementary.
There was much to learn in the elementary library and ample time to work with children because the elementary school librarians helped cover teacher planning periods. We had a rotating schedule with art and physical education. I would see some classes two or three times a week, depending on the rotation. The art teacher and I had time to collaborate with many art projects. One of our favorite joint projects was making books with children and trying different types of art techniques used in selected children's books. We were afforded lots of time to create and to learn, and lots of time to learn from the authors and illustrators who had created those books.
A favorite professional book I bought that year (I spent lots of money on teaching and library resources! No free ideas on the Internet back in ’85!) was How to Make Books with Children by Joy Evans and Jo Ellen Moore (Evan-Moor, 1985). I still have that book. It includes patterns for shape books, wheel books, pop-up books, accordion books, pull-tables, books with flaps, and instructions on simple book binding. We would work with the teacher on the story ideas, and then the art teacher and I would help construct the books. Just as in real picture books—sometimes the story came first and sometimes the art came first. We collected other ideas and resources for bookmaking. Another book we used was Joan Irvine's How to Make Pop-Ups (Morrow, 1987). Most of the time we also selected artists that the children liked, and we tried all sorts of art techniques and mediums from collage to tempera to acrylics and watercolors.
Twenty-five years later there are numerous resources to help students make books of their own and numerous websites of children's book writers and illustrators who share their techniques. There are wonderful writing models, inspirational stories, collection biographies of children's authors and illustrators, websites with writing ideas, bookbinding ideas, and videos of picture book artists sharing their techniques in their own studios. This month's column is just a sampling of some of the wonderful resources available when making books with children or learning about the books that have been made for them by the numerous talented children's authors and illustrators.
INSPIRE! CREATE! LEARN!
Creating and Understanding Art
Reynolds, Peter H. The Dot. Candlewick, 2003.
Vashti believes she cannot draw, but her art teacher’s encouragement leads her to change her mind.
- Check out Reynolds’s page of creative writing ideas and tips (http://www.peterhreynolds.com/ideas.html).
- Use the Weston Woods study guide when sharing the book or DVD (http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/westonwoods/study_guides/dot.pdf).
Weisner, David. Art & Max. Clarion Books. Clarion, 2010.
Max wants to be an artist like Arthur, but his first attempt at using a paintbrush sends the two friends on a whirlwind trip through various media, with unexpected consequences.
- Watch a video of Weisner describing the creative process of making Art & Max (http://www.hmhbooks.com/wiesner/art-max.html). At the top of the page, click on the "interactive" link and find a coloring book featuring Art & Max.
Children's Book Illustrators and Authors as Children
Carle, Eric. The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse. Philomel, 2011.
Rather than use the same old colors, a child paints animals and objects in a variety of different hues. Included is biographical information about the German painter, Franz Marc, who created unconventional animal paintings in the early 1900s.
- Listen to the NPR interview with Carle and his discussion of The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse (http://www.npr.org/2011/10/08/141057271/the-blue-horse-that-inspired-a-childrens-book). Scroll down to see a link on the left side to find pictures from the book.
DePaola, Tomie. The Art Lesson. Putnam, 1989.
Having learned to be creative in drawing pictures at home, young Tommy is dismayed when he goes to school and finds the art lesson there much more regimented.
- Learn about Tomie's writing and illustrating process on his homepage (http://www.tomie.com/being_an_artist/creative_process.html).
- Use this book as the foundation for an art lesson for painting on everything as this lesson plan describes (http://web.archive.org/web/20041103233328/http:/www.eduplace.com/tview/pages/a/The_Art_Lesson_Tomie_De_Paola.html).
Lester, Helen. Author: A True Story. Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
Lester describes her life from age three to adulthood and discusses how she writes.
- This activity page has questions about the book, how authors write, and activities with vocabulary (http://www.stageforlearning.com/MacMillan/Theme%202/ReviewSheet/2.5%20Review%20Sheet.pdf).
Children's Book Illustrators on Making Children's Books
Bryan, Ashley. Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life's Song. Photographed by Bill McGuinness. Atheneum, 2009.
- Don’t miss the video with Bryan sharing information about this book (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b359TH4-61g). There is also a podcast that provides background information for teachers and librarians about Bryan at the Cooperative Children’s Book Center site (http://www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc/books/detailBook.asp?idBooks=2723).
Christelow, Eileen. What Do Authors Do? Clarion, 1995.
Christelow, Eileen. What Do Illustrators Do? Clarion, 1999.
- Authors and Illustrators each share the steps in creating books for children on Christelow's website (http://www.christelow.com/classroom/authors-illus.html). This is a chance for children to look critically at what authors and illustrators do!
Stevens, Janet. From Pictures to Words: A Book about Making Books. Holiday House, 1999.
- After reading about Stevens's creative process, visit her website to learn more about her and the books she has published (http://www.janetstevens.com).
- The title for this book is From Pictures to Words; students might discuss how the process works in the other direction—from words to pictures.
Children's Book Illustrators and Authors on Making Children’s Books (websites)
Extensive links to children’s author and illustrator pages. http://www.childrenslit.com/
Denise Fleming. http://www.denisefleming.com/pages/papermaking.html/
This Caldecott Honor Award winner's homepage includes a YouTube interview and a demonstration of how the art was created for her picture book Count! It also includes directions for the artistic technique used in her books known as pulp painting.
Will Hillenbrand. http://www.willhillenbrand.com/artprocess.html/
Hillenbrand's "Art Process" website page features seven of his books. Short videos allow students to "explore the process Will goes through to complete an illustration." To see the videos, the computer needs QuickTime Plugin or Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Jerry Pinkney. http://www.jerrypinkneystudio.com/
Visit Pinkney's studio at his homepage.
David Macaulay. http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/features/waywework/
This links to a video that shares how Macaulay creates his award winning titles.
Pat Mora. http://www.patmora.com/ Visit this writer's page for inspiration, teaching ideas, and creative activities. Those interested in writing children's books for publication should check out her "20 Ideas" page (http://www.patmora.com/tips.htm).
Robert Sabuda. http://www.robertsabuda.com/
Sabuda was called the "The Reigning Prince of Pop-up Books" by the Wall Street Journal (October 11, 2011). There is a link to the newspaper article on his website, a treasure of ideas and patterns for students to make their own pop-ups, a "how-to" pop-up book bibliography, an informative interview with Robert Sabuda, and much more. His site includes an extensive pop-up bibliography (http://robertsabuda.com/popupbib.html).
Websites on Making Books
Make a How-to Book (Scholastic). http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plan/how-books/
Make an Artist Book. http://www.artjunction.org/book.php/
This site includes instructions on making a book from a large grocery bag.
Making Books (Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord). http://www.makingbooks.com/freeprojects.shtml/
Eight different ideas for making books are shared with children including an accordion book, a hot dog book, and a scroll. The links on the left side of the page have more ideas "For Teachers" and "For Families." Susan can be seen demonstrating how to make these types of books and some others on this YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/skgaylord).
Professional Books and Resources
Diehn, Gwen. Making Books that Fly, Fold, Wrap, Hide, Pop Up, Twist and Turn. Lark Books, 1998.
Series of creative bookmaking projects are interspersed with historical information in this book.
Englebaugh, Debi. Art through Children's Literature: Creative Art Lessons for Caldecott Books. Libraries Unlimited, 1994.
Lesson plans are included that guide students in creating art from fifty-seven Caldecott books published from 1938-1994.
Haab, Sherri. Making Mini Books. Klutz Press, 2002.
This is a fun book from Klutz Press with lots of ideas for making small books and materials to get started.
Irvine, Joan. How to Make Pop-Ups. Morrow Junior Books, 1987.
This book has the basics of pop-up construction in card format with information on how to assemble them in book form at the end. Other books by Irvine include How to Make Super Pop-ups and How to Make Holiday Pop-ups. Her website has other information (http://joanirvine.com). For those seriously interested in pop-up books, The Moveable Book Society's page is a good choice (http://www.movablebooksociety.org).
Moore, Jo Ellen, and Joy Evans. Making Big Books with Children. Vol. I. Illus. by Kathleen Morgan. Evan-Moor, 1989.
Evan-Moor's How to Make Books with Children series is a good source and includes Beginning Writers, Literature and Writing Connections, Read a Book-Make a Book, and Science and Math.
Morris, Ann. The Bookmaking Kit. Illus. by Peter Linenthal. Chronicle Books, 2001.
The book has directions for lots of books, from the simple (Easy Fastener Book) to the more complicated (Button Closure Clothbound Book). Materials are provided for five of the projects.
Swain, Gwenyth. Bookworks: Making Books by Hand. Carolrhoda Books, 1995.
This is a book for kids with a good historical introduction and clear directions for making several forms of books, as well as paper making, marbling, and printmaking techniques.
Valenta, Barbara. Pop-O-Mania: How to Create Your Own Pop-Ups. Dial, 1997.
This is a pop-up book that teaches how to make pop-ups! There is also Elements of Pop-up: A Pop-up Book for Aspiring Engineers by James Diaz and David A. Carter (Little Simon, 1999).
Collective Biographies of Children's Authors and Artists
Carle, Eric, et al. Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children about Their Art. Philomel, 2007.
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art created this book from the life and artistic works of twenty-three picture book illustrators who exhibited their work in the Amherst, Massachusetts, museum.
Cummings, Pat, ed. Talking with Artists. Simon and Schuster, 1992.
Cummings, Pat, ed. Talking with Artists: Vol. 2. Simon and Schuster, 1995.
Cummings, Pat, ed. Talking with Artists: Vol. 3. Simon and Schuster, 1999.
Picture book artists share their art experiences in childhood, answer children's questions about their work, and share encouragement for future artists.
Kovaks, Deborah. Meet the Authors and Illustrators: Volume 1. Scholastic, 1999.
Kovaks, Deborah. Meet the Authors and Illustrators: Volume 2. Scholastic, 1999.
Marcus, Leonard S. A Caldecott Celebration: Seven Artists and Their Paths to the Caldecott Medal. Walker, 2008.
Seven stories of a Caldecott Award from each decade are included in this collectable volume for all picture book award aficionados young, old, in-between. Other collections by Leonard Marcus include: Funny Business: Conversations with Writers of Comedy (Candlewick Press, 2009); Pass It Down: Five Picture Book Families Make their Mark (Walker, 2006); and Side by Side: Five Favorite Picture Book Teams Go to Work (Walker, 2006).
Preller, James. The Big Book of Picture-Book Illustrators and Authors. Scholastic, 2001.
Richard C. Owens Publishers, Inc. http://www.rcowen.com/MTABkList.htm/
This includes thirty-two biographies of children's book illustrators and authors.